Did you do any formal training in furniture making?
No, but I grew up in an environment where there were always people making furniture around me. My grandfather was an accomplished amateur cabinetmaker, as were a couple of his sons. My mother is still making fine furniture to this day. So when I decided to take it up there were always people to go to for advice.
Does your fine art background influence your work?
It taught me a totally different way of looking at my surroundings, and an appreciation of shape, line, form, space and how they relate to one another. Mostly it gave me the confidence to believe in my own creative ability and a realisation that the key to understanding any material is to allow it to speak to you.
© Stephen O’Briain
What was the first piece of furniture you made?
A tall oak wall cabinet with a curved front door, that I made in 1993. I had to make my own plane to shape the door and was still using that same tool up until a year ago, when I took the iron blade and converted it for use in a Japanese pull-style plane.
What do you set out to achieve with your work?
I would like to think my work treads that line between functional object and sculptural form, where every line, shape and space has been considered with the aim of creating one clear statement. It’s very rewarding taking an idea and developing it into a finished piece.