Maker of the month - Tom Aylwin, furniture maker

Tom Aylwin

Tom Aylwin - Credit: Archant

Unusually for an artist, Tom Aylwin originally wanted to be a geologist. He credits his 20 year woodwork career to a teacher, Alan Mason, who he says “first saw the spark.”

Downland chest

Downland chest - Credit: Archant

Following a geology degree, during which Tom was designing furniture in his spare time, he now says that both geology and “the feel of landscapes” remain his greatest inspirations.

Tom says that what he loves most about his work is “being answerable only to what is in your heart”. But he admits that this can have its drawbacks: “The worst thing can be being the only one trying to discover what’s in your heart. Oh, and cashflow.”

To others wanting to follow a similar path, he says “find your style and let it grow. It’s the only thing that will set you apart from other makers.”

Having grown up in the Cotswolds, Tom started his business in Sussex nearly 10 years ago. “Sussex landscapes frequently feature in my work. The shapes seen in downland with its smooth, dry valleys and the glimpses of chalk and flint layers beneath are constantly inspiring.”

His work space is “in a lovely old brewery building” near Brighton, which he shares with about 10 other makers. “It is extremely well equipped to deal with all aspects of furniture making, and the workshop prides itself on having a very friendly and cooperative atmosphere. We share ideas, help each other with those ‘awkward-lift’ moments and often collaborate on larger projects.”

Tom will be exhibiting his work with the Sussex Guild at Parham House in June of next year, and at Michelham Priory next August, (dates yet to be released).

Tom is a member of The Bespoke Consortium, a South of England based group of artisans carrying out bespoke commissions for homes and interiors. For more information on Tom’s and other members’ work call 01243 555578 or visit The Bespoke Consortium website, at Alternatively, contact Tom directly on 07854 774881.