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Our Story

It began with a kitchen table

The kitchen table is the focal point of our home here on the Suffolk coast. It’s where we first gather each morning, bleary eyed. Where we share laughter, stories, make plans. Where we help our son, Bruno, with his homework.

It’s important to us that we know where and how this kitchen dining table – this piece of solid wood furniture at the heart of our home – was made.

We know where the sycamore tree that became our dining table was felled, in the course of ‘thinning’, a sustainable woodland management process that harvests mature trees, allowing increased light into the woodland and enabling younger trees to grow and thrive. We can trace the sycamore’s journey to Suffolk. We know how the wood was dried and made good for working.

And we know the master furniture maker, Ben, who made the kitchen table in his workshop just up the road – with his decades of expertise, knowledge, wisdom.

We know this table will last.

One day Bruno will use it in a home of his own.

We started Hyrst to share this process, to offer a sustainable alternative to fast furniture. To create beautiful, traceable furniture and homeware, made close to home. With every detail considered, obsessed over.

 

Working with the local community

Hyrst is a social enterprise, a not-for-profit company in which any surplus income is put back into the business. We work closely with local furniture makers like Ben and we also work in partnership with HMP Warren Hill, a category C men’s prison near the Hyrst studio.

We take new designs for homeware and kitchenware to Warren Hill, and pay the market rate for the items made in the woodshop at the prison. The income we pay to Warren Hill is used to fund training qualifications that will upskill residents in preparation for their release. The work gives prisoners an opportunity to use their time constructively.

Some of the furniture we produce is made jointly by Ben and by the residents at Warren Hill, bringing those two elements of the local community together in a single product, notably the Newcraft Desk.

Similarly, whenever possible, we try and source our materials from the local community. All of Hyrst’s homeware products – from chopping boards to coat pegs to Christmas tableware – are made from solid wood that has been grown, felled and milled in Suffolk.

Our ash is supplied by a local wildlife trust, the timber cleared from a site that has been coppiced since 1252. Seriously, 1252! Some of the ash coppice stools (the stems that are cut at ground level) in the woodland are thought to be over 1,000 years old. Meanwhile, much of the oak, elm and sycamore that we use in our homeware range is derived from a country estate only eight or so miles north of the Hyrst studio on the Suffolk coast.

And that’s it, the full story. Creating furniture and homeware that are good for people and good for the planet.

Please do get in touch if you want to know more about Hyrst and how we work, or sign up for the Hyrst newsletter and we’ll keep you posted on what we’re up to, along with any other creative stuff that piques our interest.

p.s. the name, Hyrst. It’s an Old English word for copse, the woods.

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