When a tree falls in the UK, there's a good chance that Jonty Hampson and Sascha Gravenstein are in their dusty East London workshop sculpting it. Jonty, a carpenter and cabinet maker, and Sascha, a fine artist with a focus on landscape and sculpture, are two friends who decided in 2012 to combine their talents. Their Hackney-based company, Hampson Woods, specializes in bespoke interiors and small-batch production serving boards and other wooden designs.
"The boards started with a fine length of timber that we'd sourced locally (a fallen tree salvaged from Russell Square) for an interior commission—we wanted to make serving boards and our shapes seemed to grow in character the more we worked them," says Jonty. The resulting designs vary from wide cuts to slender bread boards, each with their own funny handle slightly leaning to one side or dipping down in the middle.
Jonty and Sascha use only timber with a known provenance: a tree from Cumbria, one from Perthshire, another from Oxford. "We expect this information with a good cut of meat, so why not for a product that lasts a lifetime?" Each Hampson Woods board comes with its own tag identifying the origin of the wood, "a rare treat to know where your product originally had its roots," the designers say.
Above: The Elm Board is made from British elm in a rich, deep color with a "subtle chunkiness"; £35 each. Note: Hampson Woods ships to the UK, as well as to the US, France, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Above: The 4 Peg Hanging Rack is made from English oak with London plane pegs (see the London plane boards below). The four sculpted pegs are each slightly different with a hole allowing for standard clothes hangers; £125.
Above: Made from a London plane tree and finished with olive oil, the London Plane Boards vary in price. Shown here from left to right: the Size 1 board (£35), Size 2 board (£45), and Size 4 board (£55).
Above: "A slight angle gave a different character to a board and a thicker neck added solidity; they worked well as a family, and so our range of London Plane Serving Boards were born," says Jonty.
Above: Also made from the London plane tree, the Geometric 2 board; £30.
Above: The Porridge Spoon is a design inspired by a trip to the Isle of Skye. Made to be used for stirring, scraping, and flipping, the spoons are £14.50 each.
Above: A look at the natural wood grain and variation, all from the same London plane tree.
For more wooden boards, have a look at our post, 10 Easy Pieces: Display-Worthy Wooden Cutting Boards, and for another workshop near the Hampson Woods studio, see Fabrics & Linens: House of Hackney in London.