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The first thing I thought when I some of these vessels was that they are ceramics. The organic sculptural quality of the forms and the textured surface patterns display the qualities of clay. The vessels in fact are made from wood, hand-turned in a process that retains and reveals the unique characteristics of each piece used. The vessels are the creation of Darren Appiagyei a self-taught wood-turner and founder of In The Grain.

Based in London Darren discovered wood-turning while studying 3D Design at Camberwell College of Arts. A degree course that puts making at the centre of design and encourages the exploration of social, physical, and emotional connections to objects. One of his course units required that students develop a particular skill and on seeing that a lathe was not really being used he decided to learn how to use it, teaching himself by watching YouTube videos. 

Darren’s pieces are inspired by his Ghanian heritage referencing the rawness of the wood carving traditions. He combines this influence with a passion for discovering different woods and what their properties reveal. He sources his wood pieces from Woodlands Farm in southeast London, a charitable trust with a commitment to biodiversity, and is a place he visits regularly. On these expeditions, Darren seeks out pieces of wood with interesting grains, beautiful textures. And those covered with burr, tree growths that cause the grain to grow in a knobbly deformed manner. By cutting of the protruding growth, which can cause a tree to rot, the pieces can be carved into vessels such as bowls and vases.

With every vessel he makes Darren finishes them in a way that enhances the beauty of the wood, letting nature’s blemishes, the cracks, textures, knots add character. This is evident in his Banksia collection made from the Banksia Nut, a wildflower native to Australia.

Hailed as the face of a new generation of woodturners Darren is a Cockpit Arts Turner’s Award Recipient which saw him receive mentoring and support from The Worshipful Company of Turners. Working on developing his craft Darren is keen to inspire others interested in woodturning.

– Tapiwa Matsinde

Additional details:

For further information about Darren Appiagyei visit: www.inthegrain.co.uk

[Image credits: The images shown belong to from main, renjoefilm; jamietrouncelondon; . If downloaded and used elsewhere please credit accordingly.]

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