There are three things that make Mike (Dad) happy. Football, his shed and a fresh delivery of wood…oh and I guess you can say his better half (Mum)! Since his retirement three years ago, he’s been working out of his Cornish Shed, turning a once old grubby garage into his very own man cave. Specialising in reclaimed wood, Mike has been slowly building up a strong carpenter portfolio, making Cornish Furniture which has stretched back since I was a child.
It didn’t all start in Cornwall though. Growing up in Edge Hill, Liverpool, he worked his way up a housing management job where he met my mother, Debbie. Through the magic of life and the giant stalk, out popped two babies, Rosie, my sister and me, the other brightest of them all. After these little miracles were born, my parents had to make a choice, raise two little shits in the big city of Liverpool, or bring us both down to St.Ives, Cornwall and hope the fresh sea air will sort us out. Thankfully, they chose the latter.
After moving down to St.Ives, Mike continued his management job for a further 22 years before finally retiring at the ripe old age of 60 (ish). During those years, his passion for crafting, especially when working with wood, grew drastically. Pieces of furniture for the house started to appear and before you knew it, you had a fully furnished house made completely out of driftwood he’s found along the beaches of St.Ives. It wasn’t until we moved into our new family home that his hobby went to another level.
Converting an old garage into a creative hub to craft his Cornish Furniture, Mike started putting his skills to use. Whilst the house was in good condition, it still needed a bit of TLC with the furnishings. Being the days before Exeter built the new IKEA, getting the furniture you wanted wasn’t an easy task. Doing what he does best, Mike got to work with his Cornish furniture, producing pieces ranging from fully fitted cupboards and wardrobes to handcrafted wall ornaments and mirrors.
It wasn’t until he retired that this hobby turned into his main work. I’m not sure this was because of boredom or because mum kicked him out the house, but during one Christmas he set out to make reindeer and Christmas trees of all sized out of reclaimed wood. After securing a little pop-up shop below the Surf Shack St.ives, he began to sell his creations under the name ‘Surf Shack Salvages’.
After a couple of successful weeks of Christmas, and the sheer amount of enquiries for other pieces of Cornish furniture, he decided to move onto creating the more bulkier items like cupboards with wine glass holders, mirrors with candles holders and even a giant reindeer wall ornament (no idea where his reindeer obsession came from). If you’re ever popping by the Surf Shack Cafe in St.Ives, make sure you head to the back of the room to see some of his creations.
Creating Harkonwood Works.
Selling things in a small town like St.Ives can prove difficult for any professional. Although Cornwall is quite a poor county compared to other areas of the UK, we always seem to get by, especially when it comes to craft fairs and farmers markets! This is a great hub for buying local produce and surprisingly a great way to sell your arts and crafts, boosting the local businesses and promoting all things good about Cornwall, as well as giving a big FU to the corporate companies. Love it!
This caught the eye of my sister, Rosie, who has been using St.Ives and Cornwall as a huge inspiration for her work. Seeing her dad constantly creating things as a child had given Rosie the perfect foundations to create her own wooden craft mini business. In a slightly different style, Harkon’s (creative name) offers photos of your choice or scenery of Cornwall on wooden blocks made from restored wood. You can find her Facebook and Business page at Harkon’s.
Seeing the local buzz around markets and fairs, Mike saw an opportunity to open up his own mini business, combining Harkon’s and Wood Works to Harkonwood Works. Although the name isn’t the most creative, the Cornish furniture and unique blocks certainly are.
What Harkonwood Works offer.
Specialising in mostly reclaimed pallet and drift wood, Harkonwood Works use the inspiration of the Cornish cliffs, beaches and people to create bespoke and unique Cornish furniture. Using woods like pallet and drift allows for that rustic, authentic look that fits in so well with many Cornish homes. A selection of the furniture and blocks can be found on his website, which showcases some of his latest creations, as well as offering unique and bespoke pieces. In fact, he’s just started to build my bed in our new place!
Although he claims not to be a master craftsmen, his work effort and ability to create pretty much anything from scratch leaves you thinking he’s not far from being one!
To catch updates of his work or to see him in the markets, visit his Facebook Account or pop into the guildhall every Thursday for the St.Ives Farmers Market.