How one Herefordshire woman is bringing together the work of local craftspeople to make a unique range of beautiful and practical artisan fire pits, tools and accessories.
When Louise Wright burnt her fingers on her hot wood burner she would have no idea it would lead her to collaborating with some of Herefordshire’s most talented craftspeople.
It was for designing ‘The Woodee’ a stylish and practical tool to safely open a hot wood burner door, that Louise and husband Andrew won a Table Talent competition with Country Living Magazine. Louise launched the artisan tool at their pop up market at the Spring Fair in 2015.
Over the past two years Louise and Andrew have developed ‘The Woodee Range’ in collaboration with traditional craftspeople from across Herefordshire. “We work with a champion blacksmith, award winning tanner, master basket maker, traditional joiner, agricultural engineer, upholsterer, bee keeper and glassblower” Louise said. “Some of our pieces such as the bellows have the work of six different craftspeople. Everything we make has to be primarily practical, then beautiful and of course built to last.”
Mum of four, Louise, works from her kitchen table at her home in Dorstone in the beautiful Golden Valley. Her husband and business partner Andrew, and her dad, Seamus Hayes, are both traditional roofers; Louise believes this is where she gets her passion for rural crafts and local materials.
“We use local oak, ash and willow and the hide of a local Hereford Bull.” Louise gets a deep sense of satisfaction being a thoroughly Herefordshire business. The delivery company, web developer, engravers and printers they use are all local businesses too.
An advocate of collaboration, Louise believes it makes each of their products totally unique. The craftspeople she works with generally work alone in their own disciplines. “I love weaving together the strands of different crafts into my products. No one else does that the way we do.” She said proudly “each one is like a small rural masterpiece”.
Woodee Fire Pits
In spring 2016 Louise designed the Woodee Fire Pit. Handmade from thick British steel, the Woodee is cleverly engineered to combine the best elements of a Fire Pit and a barbecue. Standing at knee height, it has a stunning oak leaf pattern cut out around it which allows heat to radiate around your legs.
The Fire Pits are made in a rural Herefordshire workshop by Louise’s uncle, agricultural engineer Steve Methven.
Her cousin Paul Parry and aunt Brigid Smith are responsible for hand-making each one. It’s a real family affair.
Each Fire Pit comes with a heavy duty stainless steel griddle which Louise says is ‘designed to cook anything on’. She also supplies a hand forged slice with each cooking set which has her trademark Hereford Oak handle and bull skin strap.
Each Fire Pit is handmade to order. Prices start at £295. There are three sizes – the standard 600mm (diameter) a large 900mm and a mini 400mm. There is also a stunning Stainless Steel Fire Pit which is also 600mm diameter.
To order a Woodee Fire Pit or from the Woodee Range visit www.thewoodee.com.