'The Great Outdoors': Forge Creative

Posted: Sep 18 2014


We love these mini trees made from off cuts by furniture makers, Forge Creative, which we are displaying as part of our showcase for LDF14, 'The Great Outdoors'. We meet Oli and Josh, the duo behind the design, to find out more.


Tell us a bit about yourselves and your backgrounds

Forge Creative was founded at the beginning of last year (2013) by two friends, Furniture Maker Josh Kennard and Graphic Designer Oli Milne. Both driven to be their own boss, and with a passion for creativity, they decided to combine their skills to achieve their ambitions. 

Our combination of skill-sets is useful as Josh has a lot of practical and technical know-how and skill when it comes to putting a product together and my graphic design skills come in handy for marketing material and packaging. Despite each other's unique skills there is a lot of crossover and we both contribute to aspects such as product design.

Josh continues to work for another furniture making company half of the week and I currently work full time as a graphic designer, so our Forge work has to be fitted into evenings, weekends, and Josh's two week days. Our hope and motivation is that the business will reach a level that will enable us to work solely for Forge.

What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
The trees came into being from a happy accident - the first tree shape was just a by-product of something else that was being turned at the time but now they are a firm favourite and have evolved into numerous shapes, sizes and wood types. One of the joys of making the trees is that each one is individual and, by using off-cuts and waste wood, not only is every tree different but they're pretty green too, reducing wood waste that would otherwise be burnt.

The main 'philosophy' we have surrounding everything we make is this idea of ‘Heirloom Quality’. We want to make cherished items that will live on in the same way as old antique items you find today.


Where do you find inspiration?

We're inspired by the outdoors. We get our creative inspiration from nature's design, from which we draw both ideas and materials. We want to celebrate natural materials and their imperfect characteristics, leaving their colours and textures as a main feature.

Where are your products made?
Our Trees our made in a small cabin in Josh's garden. It's set up with a woodturning lathe and a bandsaw and is great for making trees and doing other small jobs, but for larger work we have to pay to use a larger more equipped workshop. Setting up a proper workshop of our own is something that is high on our list of things to do, when we can afford it.


Where's your favourite 'Great Outdoors'?

Josh explains his favourite outdoor space could be a place called the hidden valley in Scotland, "It seemed so remote but still surprisingly lush everywhere, I could happily lose myself there for a while." We visited this, as well as many other stunning places, while doing 'the three peaks' earlier this year. 

I'm finding it hard to pick one favourite place. We are based in Sussex so have spent a lot of time exploring its great outdoors and discovered many favourite places. I also agree with Josh though, the mountainous areas that we saw in Scotland are certainly within my favourite outdoor places. I know we're both really hoping to go back soon and explore more of them. 


Forge Creative's mini trees are now available to buy instore and online.