Ben Cramp is a man who had a career in industrial design, and ditched it—twice. The lure of the shop was too strong to keep him behind a desk, and while he still designs, now it's for himself, for objects that he will make in his own shop, with his own hands.
Another lure that proved powerful to Cramp was that of reclaimed wood. There are no sheet goods in his collection of nearly two dozen objects, nor even any recently-felled lumber (save for one local beech tree that was knocked down by a storm); all of the wood he uses used to be something else. And the appeal is easy to see—take, for instance, his French Oak Key Holder:
The Oak used in this Key holder originally served as flooring and walls of French Railway Wagons hauling goods for the SNCF (Société nationale des chemins de fer français). These wagons are up to 80years old and are nearly all now decommissioned and replaced with less romantic steel versions. When we first get our hands on the Oak boards they are coated with decades of soot from the old steam trains that hauled them. Hiding under that soot lays an incredible timber full of characterful burls, knots and cracks. Time has allowed the soot to seep into the cracks and holes beautifully highlighting them in jet black. It's a real privilege to work with timber with such an amazing story and a real joy to give it new meaning and a new life.
Speaking of a new life, Cramp's career arc and story is one that's well worth hearing:
Check out the rest of Cramp's work here.
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Sitting here at my design consultancy desk feeling very jealous. Good luck to you Ben.
You and me both.
Agree with the guys below, my <a href="www.ame-group.co.uk/about/"> industrial design consultancy</a> desk is not looking so shiny right now. Good luck to your future endeavours.
Humbled by the response to the article and film. Thanks so much for all the positive comments. Means a lot to me.