EdwardWalton_FF (3)A BESPOKE furniture manufacturer is bringing the Far East to the North East after being inspired by Japanese craftsmen.

Edward Walton successfully completed a two-year course in furniture making at the Building Crafts College in Stratford, and then spent nine weeks studying in Japan working closely with respected Shokunin craftsman Masaki Kondo.

Edward, 30, said: I have always had an interest in Japanese architecture, ancient and modern, particularly since the Kobe earthquake where everything had to be rebuilt.

The craftsmen over there spend so much time and detail on their work, and that is something that really made an impression on me.

Edward Walton Fine Furniture was set up earlier this year, and is already building up a strong reputation within a specialist market.

He added: Some people want a piece of furniture that no-one else has, that is unique to them.

A piece with a story to it. They want to know how it has been made, where the wood has come from, the techniques used to get specific effects.

Every piece I design and build is unique. We are creating family heirlooms.

You can go to a High Street chain and get a piece of furniture that will last about five or ten years. But what a master craftsman creates should outlive you. Something that can be passed through the generations.

I suppose it is the antiques of the future. Pieces that will have stories to tell from their making through to different generations of families and homes they have lived in.

Some people come in with a sketch of some early ideas, some come in and say they want a table or bookcase or chair and thats as much as they know.

I tend to go out to their homes to get a feel for their tastes and ideas and also invite them to the workshop so they can get to understand the process.

It is all about building up a relationship, giving the customer their input and also letting them see how the furniture is made, how we choose which wood we use, where it has come from.

Every piece has a story behind it and the more the owner knows what has gone into their piece the more interesting that piece becomes.

Once a customer places their order, Edward makes sure they are kept updated on how their piece is progressing from the earliest stages.

I use a timbermill in North Yorkshire close to where I went to school and the guy there has a real passion for wood and where it is sourced, added Edward, a former Yarm School student.

He knows his trees and he wants to see any that are felled put to the best use.

If Im looking for some beautiful English walnut or something in particular then I have a chat with him.

I like to keep clients updated by posting videos and blogs of the various stages of the work and show them the finished article in the workshop.

If the client wants the piece upholstered, we can provide that too, with materials and designs of their choice.

It is great to see a piece finally complete, the most satisfying aspect is taking it to a clients home and seeing it assembled in its home surroundings.

Edward actually got into the furniture trade by accident having initially had ambitions to make a name for himself in music.

He said: Ive been playing violin since the age of six, my brother and sister are also musical and played the violin and flute and all three of us played the piano.

Music came from my mums side of the family.

I actually studied for a degree at the Royal College of Music but after three out of four years I decided it wasnt for me.

I spent a year working at the Imperial College bar while I decided on my future.

I loved music but the thought of doing it as a job started to kill it for me.

I ended up going to the Building Crafts College in Stratford, East London and Ive never looked back.

I now have my own studio in Hartlepool with some exciting new work already commissioned for the New Year.

For more information about the firm, call 07817 071677 or visit http://edwardwaltonfinefurniture.com

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