Richard Evans is a regular member at Blackhorse Workshop, he set up as a furniture designer-maker under the name RichCraft Furniture in January 2018 after discovering the workshop.

What is your background, design or otherwise?
I completed my Degree at Plymouth University where I had a chance to explore different design disciplines and making practices. I specialised as a furniture designer-maker and graduated in 2013. Since University, I have had a varied career working in Sports Development and then the not-for-profit sector, more recently in Art Sales at and as a Studio Manager in a Photography Studio. Working alongside artists, photographers and set-builders led me to want to return to making and I discovered Blackhorse in late 2017. I initially started making things to brush off the rust and have subsequently started to develop my own design identity and series of products.

How did you get started in furniture design?
My education sparked my interest in design and making, as I preferred doing something practical with my hands. When I went to university, I  had a chance to explore different areas of design which led me to experimenting with ceramics and interior design but I found it wasn’t really for me. I went into the metal workshop and quite liked how you could manipulate and join industrial materials with the right tools. Subsequently, I’ve centred my work around the processes involved in metal work.

What are your favourite materials to use?
At the moment it’s got to be metal. I find welding quite addictive in a way, as I quite enjoy the methodical side of things, thinking where to place a weld or where best to hide it etc. It’s a broad church and there is a lot to learn about different types of welds or different materials and finishes you can do. Saying this, I do enjoy working with wood and have combined the two materials in my recent series of work.

Who or what influences your design?
My work is quite process lead, so I’m rarely found buried in a sketchbook. I tend to work from nothing more than a sketch off the back of an envelope, make a model then develop the design. I enjoy finding out how components join together whether they’re too big or too small. I always keep in the back of my mind the production techniques so that I can produce work in the most economical way. Additionally, applying the principles of simplicity and functionality to my work helps me to create furniture and lighting products which are fun, playful and social. Working for a contemporary Art Gallery taught me the benefits of using colour. Which is why I use some bold distinguishable colours in my work alongside a composite of different materials. Together this has helped me create a series of pieces with a contemporary feel and a Scandinavian aesthetic.

What is your favourite thing about Blackhorse Workshop?
The facilities on offer have to be one of the favourite things for me.  It’s great that there are wood and metal workshops all in one place, without this I don’t think I would have been able to set up my own business. More recently, it’s been great getting to know other makers, learning new things and generally being around a bunch of creative people makes it a nice place to be. On the whole I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.