In Conversation With Sophie Sellu
Back in May this year we met up
with the Founder of Grain & Knot
Sophie Sellu, to find out more about
her hand-crafted wooden
kitchenware. Now we can finally
share with you all the wonderful
things we learnt about the
blossoming business and the
inspirational woman behind it all.
Step inside the most
instagrammable studio of all time
with us and find out more...
Tell us a little about yourself and your business Grain & Knot?
My name is Sophie, I am 29 and I live in Crystal Palace. I am currently moving my
workshop into my garden. I have been making spoons for the past 4/5 years and have
been selling them as a business and teaching workshops for 3 years. I make and sell
unique handmade kitchenware out of reclaimed timber, and timber sourced from
ethically grown forests.
Have you always wanted to work in the creative industry?
Not always, I worked in Retail for 5 years after I left uni but within this I was a visual
merchandiser so I did have some creative control within each store that I would work in.
How did you come across woodcarving?
I have been woodworking since I was about 13, I used to love woodworking at school and
really took to it.
Why have you chosen to work with wood over other materials?
I guess I have always been drawn towards timber from my love of nature, its beautifully
tactile and it's something that ages well. Additionally, to work with wood you don't need
loads of tools just a couple of knives and you can create something beautiful. Timber is
also so varied with so many different beautiful trees to choose from.
We think its great that the wood you use is reclaimed and locally sourced. Where do you get the timber from?
I source most of my timber from in and around London, from various renovation
projects, skips, and from timber reclamation yards. I have a few friends that are
carpenters and tree surgeons, so I am able to use lots of resources around me!
We love your simple and elegant designs. What is your process from sketch
to the finished piece?
I really like to keep things simple, from sketching on paper, I transfer a simplified
version to wood. I cut the shape out on my band saw then use a hook knife and a carving
knife to shape. I like to keep knife marks showing production, so I don't do any sanding.
I soak the items in Organic Flax seed oil to help keep them well moisturised.
Can you walk us through a day in your life?
I check my emails, and try and respond to some of the requests I get via Instagram. If I
have a workshop, I will sharpen all my knives and make sure that I am prepped to teach
a class. If I am not teaching I tend to have a coffee in the garden before either sketching
out some designs or sourcing timber. I try and carve 3 days a week, as it is very labour
intensive on my hands, but I somehow always seem to make something each day. I make
sure I take lots of pictures and try to post 1 picture a day on Instagram.
How do you make your clothes work for you and your busy lifestyle?
I tend to wear a lot of overalls, dungarees and overshirts.
I make sure that they are loose and comfortable so I tend to wear oversized. Lots of my
clothes get ruined by working so I try to keep my workwear wardrobe separate. I
sometimes end up heading to the pub after a long day at the studio so I may have a few
wood chips in my hair but my friends are used to it.
What are your wardrobe staples?
White Shirt, black jeans, patterned socks and black trainers.
Do you have any advice for anyone hoping to try something new?
Make it your own, bring your personality to it and try not to take too much inspiration
from others. Talk to as many people as possible and tell them your plans. I found that by
talking about it more I was able to get a better understanding of what I wanted to do.
Try not to spend all your money on your venture and don't spend all your time working
on it. Taking breaks and making sure I have a break from working is really hard but it's
really important to have personal time.
If I wasn't running Grain and Knot I would be...a Visual Merchandiser or an
My ideal breakfast is... Avo and poached egg on toast with calvo nero and hot sauce!
The best thing about my job is... choosing who to work with, and being able to
My favourite holiday destination is...Muscat, Oman.
Words to live by... just try your best.
A day isn't complete until I've... had coffee and looked on Instagram.
My favourite London hangout is... Broadway Market! I miss it since I have moved
south but Maltby Street Market is a close second.
Shop the full collection here
Photography by Jutta Klee @juttaklee
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