Talk us through your career path since graduating.
During my two years at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation studying Historic Craft Practice – Furniture, I dedicated most of my time starting my company and preparing to work for myself after graduation. To give myself the best chance of doing so successfully, I spent my second year at the College designing and making a collection of furniture - this collection was inspired by Japanese craft discipline and aesthetic philosophies. Aside from my physical work, I also focused on establishing a strong online presence and a good understanding of accounting, marketing and customer experience.
After a successful exhibition of my collection at West Dean Arts and Craft Festival 2019, and graduating, I flew to Japan to take part in a one month intensive Japanese carpentry course in Kyoto at Suikouysha Craft School. Following my time there with a master carpenter I travelled throughout Japan for two months meeting and working with as many traditional crafts people as possible. My passion lays not only in wood working but in heritage and traditional crafts. I dedicated this trip to learning from these people but also documented them and their stories (I kept a detailed photographic blog throughout the trip: https://www.htmorris.com/photographicblog). I stayed with many amazing people - including living with holistic chair maker, Tak Yoshino and his family for three weeks.
Following my time in Japan I travelled to Sydney, Australia where I was Artist-in-Residence at an environmental charity - the Bower Re-use & Repair Center, where my good friend and fellow student at West Dean College was Workshops Manager. I spent two months at the Bower helping teach basic woodworking and repair classes, as well as making a special piece of furniture (a cabinet) which represented my experience at West Dean College, my experience in Japan, as well as the waste reduction and environmental ethos of the Bower. Multiple articles were published on this and it now resides in one of Australia’s fine art and furniture galleries near Canberra, Bungendore Gallery.
After returning to the UK I have begun to work on the orders I acquired before leaving for Japan, as well as starting to set up a new workshop where I hope to teach short courses in the near future.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a larger commission for a Japanese master sushi chef who teaches knife sharpening, and imports Japanese chefs’ knives for his shop in central London.
What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
Some of my major achievements are constructing my first workshop at home, my first exhibition as a limited company, graduating from West Dean College with distinction, the success of my trip in Asia, and having my Australian cabinet in Bungendore Gallery.
Do you have any tips for recent graduates?
Graduating from West Dean College, or finishing any course does not mark the end of learning or the end of education in your field, especially in practical subjects. Don’t chase the things that seem to be the path to riches; chase the things that interest you and you are passionate about and keep working… the riches will come later.
How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now?
I knew I was interested in a certain field of craft but hadn’t found that one thing that made me excited enough to pursue it as a career. My time at the College helped me to focus on the path I am now on and for that I couldn’t be more thankful.
The people I met at West Dean College changed my life for ever, it was a very special time.
What's your favourite memory from your time at the College?
Of course there are many special memories; the first thing that comes to mind for me is simply being surrounded by so many like-minded people. To be able to share this passion with so many people from all over the world in the amazing setting of West Dean College is something I will never forget.
Hear more from Harry in an article about his work published in the Australian Wood Review magazine. Read article