Sophie Sellu’s wood carvings straddle the line between utility and sculpture. Based in London, the Manchester School of Art graduate took a summer course in wilderness survival skills, and came away with a passion for wielding axes and whittling spoons. In her parents’ garage, she continued working with wood and interest in her shapely creations led to the founding of Grain & Knot, her one-woman business.
An uncle who renovated period houses supplied her a while back with enough scrap timber to supply her for years. She was also helped by a loan, classes, and a business mentor from Prince Charles’s youth charity, The Prince’s Trust. Sophie gave herself six months to make a go of it; that was several years ago, and she now has such an avid following @grainandknot that every month or so, when she restocks her online shop, everything tends to sell out overnight.
Each item is cut on a bandsaw, then hand-carved and finished. Sophie often finds herself in the position of having to ask buyers to be patient: “I can only carve for a few hours each day; it’s very tough on my body and I need to make sure I rest.”
All of Sophie’s wood carvings are finished with food-safe organic flax seed oil. Over time, she advises retreating them with a food-safe wood wax or oil, such as walnut, flax, and coconut (but not olive oil: “it can go rancid”).
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