Meet the Artisan: Wood crafter and maker of furniture and homeware, Dan Howey

Meet the Artisan: Wood crafter and maker of furniture and homeware, Dan Howey

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Dan Howey, based in Hove is a master of woodcraft. He celebrates materials and handcraft through the use of sustainable materials and a combination of traditional and contemporary wood crafting techniques. We are delighted to welcome Dan and his collection of handmade homeware and furniture to the Resident Artisan community. 

Dan Howey’s journey into woodcraft

Dan spent his childhood in nature, growing up in Surrey close to the South Downs and also spending lots of time in the rugged landscapes of Snowdonia, the Lake District, and the Peak District. This early exposure to the outdoors laid the groundwork for his appreciation of the natural world—a theme that has later inspired the artistic direction of his woodcraft. 

Originally pursuing a path in media, with a focus on film and photography, Dan started to realise that his artistic interests were more drawn towards the tangible aspects of sculpture and architecture. He realised that his fascination lay with objects and structures that possessed a certain intrigue or historical resonance.

Whilst pursuing a career in the hospitality and coffee industry, Dan realised that he yearned for more of a hand-on role and craftsmanship was something that he was keen to explore further. Encouraged by friends who noticed his penchant for tinkering and experimentation, especially in the darkroom, Dan was recommended a 3D design craft course at Brighton University.

This course marked a turning point for Dan. Upon touring the workshops on the open day he knew he had found his calling. The course offered teaching across woodwork, metalwork, ceramics and plastics. He enjoyed exploring the other mediums like ceramics and polymers, but Dan's affinity for wood and metal stood out. By the end of the three-year bachelor's program Dan had solidified wood as his medium of choice and began to specialise.


Dan Howey’s woodcrafting process 

Dan's woodcrafting process begins with drafting—sketching and creating technical drawings all by hand. This traditional method allows him to physically interact with his designs, cutting out shapes, experimenting with layouts, and even sticking drafts on walls to fully visualize and refine his work in prototype form, before the woodwork process begins.

Dan’s material choice  is influenced by both the nature of the project and the availability of resources. For furniture, he gravitates towards clean, neutral timbers such as ash, beech, or sycamore, appreciating their lightness and ability to breathe life into potentially heavy-looking objects. Sometimes he will select oak or walnut pieces where more richness may suit the specific character of a piece. 

Dan's commitment to sustainability is evident in his preference for timber grown and harvested within the UK, adhering to sensible woodland management practices, or opting for reclaimed wood when possible. Dan often sources raw boards and hardwood pieces from English Woodlands Timber, or explores the Wood Store in Brighton for reclaimed pieces. 

The smaller, more intricate items, like spoons and utensils, are crafted from greenwood—freshly cut wood that lends itself well to hand carving. Dan's connections to local woodland management activities often provide him with the materials needed for these smaller projects.

When it comes to the actual crafting, Dan's methods vary according to the piece. While he utilizes machines for preparing larger sections of wood, he has a strong preference for hand tools, finding that they allow for greater precision and personal touch in the final details. The creation of spoons, for example, is a purely manual process, relying on an axe and two knives to shape the wood into a functional piece.

The timeline for each piece varies, with larger items like tables requiring up to a week of dedicated work, including shaping legs and cutting joints by hand. Smaller items, such as spoons, can take half a day from log to finished product, not including drying time. 

Although the process of creating each piece can be lengthy, for Dan creating wood pieces is his happy place. He likes to work outside where he can, if he goes to visit his parents in Snowdonia he is often found in the garden chipping away for most of the day. It’s a labour of love for Dan as he gets absorbed in the mindful activity of creation. 

When he’s at home, Dan works from his shared workshop, a collective workspace that is home to a diverse group of artisans and creators. The perfect melting pot that creates a supporting culture of collaboration and problem-solving. 


Dan Howey’s most popular and signature pieces

Among Dan Howey's repertoire, two items stand out as being particularly popular signature pieces:

The Cherry Rock Board: This piece is inspired by the rugged landscapes of Snowdonia. The board features a motif that Dan has refined over the years, embodying the asymmetry, hard edges, and unpredictable forms found in the slate offcuts of the mountains. 

Cherry Rock Board

Cherry Rock Board, £51

Handcrafted Spoons: The all-time bestseller in Dan's collection is undoubtedly the spoon—a simple, familiar object that Dan loves to create. Dan finds joy in the process of transforming a piece of wood into a beautifully sculpted spoon, a very functional item. The oversized cherry serving spoon is Dan's personal favourite. Its exaggerated size makes it an ideal tool for stirring big pots on cold days. 

Oversized Cherry Serving Spoon

Large Cherry Cooking Spoon, £64

Dan Howey’s biggest challenges and milestones in the woodcraft journey so far

Dan Howey's journey from a career in hospitality to becoming a full-time woodcraft artisan is marked by significant challenges and milestones that have shaped his path. Among the pivotal moments he recalls, making the life-changing decision to pursue a degree in design craft at age 25 stand out, with graduation day being one of the highlights. 

The most substantial challenge and milestone for Dan so far has been the decision to leave full-time employment to dedicate himself entirely to his craft. Dan reflects on this decision with gratitude, acknowledging the joy and fulfillment it brings to live and work on his own terms.

Adding to his achievements, Dan's work received a spotlight in Country Living magazine, a feature in the "Objects of Desire" section that showcased his pieces among other artisan makers. Dan was also honored with the Anna Maria Desogus Memorial Award during his studies, for a conceptual project exploring the stories attached to objects. The project, which received a warm reception, is something Dan hopes to revive and expand, potentially moving from an online format to a physical exhibition space. 


Where to buy Dan Howey’s Collection 

A selection of Dan Howey’s most popular pieces are available to buy on Resident Artisan, shop now.