Land, Sea and Light completed

Created during my years spent living and working as a furniture maker on the coast of the St Davids Peninsula, Pembrokeshire, land, sea and light explores the essence of that wild Welsh landscape. It takes the form of a collection of wall-mounted cabinets whose white relief doors hang like landscape paintings, floating away from the wall on […]

land, sea and light

Land, sea and light iwill be a collection of 17 white reliefs, hung as the doors of oak and beech cabinets, inspired by the cliffs and beaches of the St Davids Peninsula, Pembrokeshire. The concept evolved from a commission in 2013 for an oak sideboard inspired by the rock formations of Porthmelgan bay.

morning glory dining table

My client wanted a modern, glass topped table to go in an otherwise traditional room.  So I looked at the motifs carved and inlaid into some of the other furniture. The form of the legs came from that and was developed by looking at the petals and stamen of the bindweed/morning glory that was in […]

balance music frame

A rock climber wanted a wall unit to hold a stereo, TV and a few books.  I got interested in the way climbers balance and hang… so the piece became all about balance I even managed to include a rock face at the heart of the piece  

stripes dining suite

This seriously stripy suite was made for a compact London appartment. The lovely client kept pushing me to have more fun,  I did.  

cliff top to vacuum press in a day

A few year ago I wrote a blog post asking whether it was possible to retain the energy of a sketch in a piece of furniture.  Today may have been a step towards that. This morning I was on the far side of our little mountain, Carn Llidi, looking down into a cove with the […]

Banksy or Van Gogh – who to copy?

Right now I’m struggling with the finish of a series of landscape cabinets and would love some fresh ideas.  The doors are laminated reliefs inspired by the coastal landscape. As a ‘medium’ it’s got huge potential to explore the things that excite me about this place, but I can’t get the right finish.  Anyone got any […]

the lighhouse cabinet

When a client arrived to discuss a cabinet for his new Georgian appartment in Clifton, Bristol, he was carefully carrying a large cardboard box. When I asked what the cabinet was for he openned the box and removed one of a beautiful collection of old lighthouse lightbulbs – the lighthouse cabinet was born.   The […]

hang a landscape on your wall

I want to make a collection of cabinets that hang on the wall like beautiful landscape paintings, whose interiors take you inside the landscape, and that everyone can see because it will go on a tour of public galleries around Britain. Well, thanks to the Arts Council of Wales, that dream is getting significantly closer […]

“I want my furniture to look like that.”

When I was first training as a furniture maker I saw a print on a friend’s wall.  It was a painting of a dark headland on the horizon of a grey-green sea.  I want my furniture to look like that – I thought.  Which seemed strange, because there was nothing furniture-like about the image..

the landscape painter’s chest

A dovetailed chest in oak and recylced mahogany for the Pembrokeshire landscape painter, John Knapp-Fisher.  This piece was commissioned by John to sit in his room under a painting that is hugely significant to me.Some years ago, when I was first training as a furniture maker I saw this print on a friend’s wall; a […]

Starring role for dining table

Last night Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman (Sherlock and Watson) starred alongside the Leaf dining table in the BBC TV series, Sherlock. 

breaking wave

With the wild waves ripping into the Pembrokeshire coastline this winter, here’s a wave-inspired dining table.  It contrasts the conventional straight legs to the left with the cascading  wave breaking down the legs to the right.The legs are made from hand painted laminated tulip wood, and the top is made from a solid blue dyed wood […]

water table

   a coffee table in glass and  elm inspired by a still pool between boulders at low tide on Caerfai beach, St Davids, Pembrokeshire I’ve shaped the surface to accentuate the fluid figuring and echo the shapes of stones, pebbles and ripples in the sand. And the elm has such a range of natural of […]

300 years in the making

Last Saturday saw a significant celebration – the unveiling of the first piece completed at the Pembrokeshire workshop. It had only taken 300 years to make.

Porthmelgan sideboard

A sideboard in native brown, pale and tiger oak, inspired by the rock strata at Porthmelgan, Pembrokeshire. It was is inspired by the layered rock formations at the little bay that sits under the rocky outcrop of Carn Llidi just a couple of miles from my workshop. The first time I walked down into the […]

JCBs and day-flying bats

 It’s been a week of arrivals and unexpected help.  Birds from Africa, bats from hibernation, carpenters from Tasmania, and machine tools from Milton Keynes.

On the move in 2013

2013 sees the planned move to live and work in the landscape that has become my muse.

Nature in Art exhibition

delighted to have my work in the British Contemporary Crafts exhibition at the Nature in Art Gallery near Gloucester, UK,  13 Nov – 16 Dec.

rock pool collection pictures

Here is the collection of sculptural lights and tables inspired by the tiny marine world inside a hole in a large boulder at Caer Bwdy Bay near St Davids in Pembrokeshire.

Land, sea and light video

Here’s a video about  Land, Sea and Light  – this is the beginning of a project to create a collection of fine furniture inspired by a stretch of the most beautiful coastline on the St Davids peninsula in Pembrokeshire.

first birdsong table completed

bespoke occasional table by Grant Sonnex - furniture designer and maker

These are occasional tables with inscribed birdsong. Listening to a particularly soulful blackbird in Spring I started writing down his song in my sketch book, not using musical notation, but just responding to the phrases with stroke of the pen. When I had done the same for a song thrush, chiff chaff, chaffinch… it was […]

using burr veneer video

bespoke coffee table by Grant Sonnex - furniture designer and maker

How do you create a veneered table top? Here’s one of a series of “making of” videos now on the site.  A coffee table designed to sit between two comfy cream sofas in front of the fire in the drawing room of a Georgian manor house. 

Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen

I heard today that I have been accepted for associate membership of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen.  It means that my work will be appearing in their rather splendid summer show in Painswick (30/7 – 21/8.. well worth a visit) and that I should get the chance to meet other high quality designer/makers from a […]

leaf dining table

Leaf - ripple sycamore dining table

A contemporary dining table echoing the tropical leaves through the dining room window. This architectural dining table was made for the ultra-modern house of a precision engineer.The client had clear ideas about the shape of the top and leg units that he wanted.  So I used the layout and figuring of the veneer to relate […]

may day bench

May Day - oak garden bench

a garden bench inspired by the surge of springtime growth. Made from untreated air-dried Englsih Oak that will weather to a distinguished silver grey in our idiosyncratic climate.  Each bench is unique in its shape with the back determined by careful choice of figuring in the wood and tailored to the specific garden and client. […]

grace chair

The Grace chair was specifically designed to complement the Grace computer desk – echoing its shapes, giving good lower back support, and lighting up a dark corner of the room with its vibrant green velvet.  

dartmoor stream

Dartmoor stream cabinet

A cabinet in English Cherry and Walnut inspired by a Dartmoor stream In more sense than one I wanted to go with the flow on this cabinet. That entrance between the doors came from a gentle curve in the sapwood on the outside of the tree trunk, and from that flowed the whole of the […]

Yup’ik chair

a contemporary windsor chair inspired by the kayaks of the Alaskan Yup’ik people. I was once lucky enough to spend time with the Yup’ik people who live on the Alaskan coast north of Bristol Bay.  They base the construction of their kayaks on their body dimensions… so the width will be the distance from finger […]

Kachemak Bay

kachemak bay - spalted beech console table

A console table inspired by an Alaskan beach. On a damp low-clouded day in 2008 I was waiting in Homer, Alaska for a flight to go bear-watching, but we couldn’t fly because of the weather and I spent my time drawing and painting among the driftwood on the beach, looking out across Kachemak Bay.  2 […]

wild river

Wild River - sycamore coffee table

A coffee table in English sycamore inspired by wild Alaskan rivers. This low table is made from a rippling and wild-grained piece of English Sycamore which reminded me of the untamed, braided rivers of Alaska.When I had come back from a trip to Alaska I tried to paint these wonderful rivers as seen from the […]

grace desk

Grace Computer Desk by Grant Sonnex

The “Grace” desk was designed to house an iMac computer to be used for work and entertainment in a main living area. The client was a dancer who specifically wanted a table with no sharp corners. And conversations about the way that dance combines gracefulness and strength, yin and yang, provided the inspiration for the […]