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The Pioneer of Deer River Craftsman

Founder of Deer River Craftsman in North Wales, Mark Peacock has been a furniture maker for over 20 years. His list of skills notes Joinery and Cabinetry and branches into new materials and artisan trades like Blacksmithing, Leather & Upholstery.  

Mark has been an avid fan of our workwear for over 2 years and with his extensive display of creative ability, our latest Pioneer venture had to include visiting Mark in his workshop.

"My Yukon shirt. I wear this every day in the workshop from October through to May. It can take everything I throw at it, from sawdust to glue to everything. So this is a daily item for me."

You’ve been selected as a Pioneer for &SONS - What’s your definition of the word Pioneer?  

Someone who understands & sees the big picture and doesn't allow themself to be overwhelmed by the details & hard work required, then plots out a course, problem-solving along the way.

Tell us your story. How did you begin your career and what led you here? 

After leaving the Air Force & University in the late 90s, I went into corporate Project Management, before running my own business offering Project Management & Consultancy. While I learned a great deal & enjoyed the work, I wanted to get back to working with my hands, which was a big part of my childhood with my family. Making furniture & building was something I did for myself initially, but it gradually turned into something that others became interested in. I decided there was a great opportunity for me to create my business, so after building my workshop in 2017, I started my furniture business in 2018. I have been very lucky to work with many great clients who care about the story & quality of their pieces in the last few years...I still have a big picture in my head to grow the business to include my own range of furniture, plus offer courses on furniture design & making, but I will always offer custom work, as that keeps the interaction with clients that I love working with! 

In your work, what values do you cherish the most?   

Hard work, creativity & customer service - at the forefront though, is quality & details. A big part of my design process for custom furniture is working with the client on options & style, using interesting & quality materials. I also like to work with suppliers that share my goals around working sustainably, minimising waste & re-using where possible.

What 3 words best describe you? 

I asked my wife this as I found it difficult - her reply was Creative, Hard-worker & Passionate (about Customer Service & Quality)

Tell us a bit more about your creative process.  

It varies according to the piece & who the piece is for. With custom client work, I start with sketches or inspiration pictures (the brief can be really defined or quite open), then I work through material options with the client, before moving to accurate 3D models in my design software.  

Often the materials, particularly timber, will tell how they should be orientated & what details they require.  With concept design pieces, I often have an idea in my head, sketch it, then look at the timber or materials I have in stock, then go from there - it's more organic with no brief to work towards.

How does it begin? 

Custom work of course always starts with a client idea, but I often have a video call or site visit to work through initial details before moving on to the big ideas. I enjoy the interior design conversation with the client, with concept design pieces, I let the left-over materials in my workshop guide me towards a piece.

What do you do for inspiration? 

I regularly go walking in the North Wales landscape, this gives me the headspace & time to relax, which gives me the inspiration to think through a piece or a concept. In terms of design/style, I follow some great Designers/Makers across the world...there is always an influence from others.

Who inspires you?  

I follow a lot of great designers & makers who appear to share my values & goals including Jory Brigham (Jory Brigham Design), Nick Pedulla (Pedulla Studios), Alex Pole (Forge Kitchenware) & Geoff Feder (Feder Knives) 

What brands inspire you? 

Apart from &Sons, of course, I'm inspired by the brands I work with that value quality & sustainability like Fiddes Wood finishes - a British company with several generations of heritage. I also love smaller brand businesses that care about their supply chain & quality like Forge Kitchenware. I love my vintage hand tools, Stanley Planes in particular, but love working with Veritas & Lie Nielsen tools as well!

What is your wardrobe essential? The piece you couldn’t live without. 

My &Sons Yukon shirt - it's worn daily between September to May in the workshop, and it holds up to everything I throw it! Huge quality!

What is your favourite piece from the &SONS Collection? 

Despite the Yukon being my daily go-to, my favourite &Sons piece is my Sunday shirt, it's so comfortable in the workshop, and really robust, but I feel totally happy visiting a client or supplier in it as it's very smart, but still has a relaxed vibe! 

What is your favourite album, artist or Spotify playlist? 

I am a big fan of Joe Bonnamassa, a Blues Guitarist & Artist - my favourite album of his is You & Me.

Any recommendation on the best podcast to listen to?   

I listen to a load of great podcasts, but I think the best one to recommend here is The Full Blast Podcast by Geoff Feder - he interviews a wide range of great designers & makers across the world, really inspiring people with great stories! 

You can follow Mark’s work at @deer_river_craftsman

Navy Lincoln Waistcoat / Vest


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