A Shropshire woman is celebrating her first year in business as a bespoke furniture designer and maker.
Jane Handford, who established Shrewsbury based Jane Handford Design in 2016, holds a first class BA (Hons) degree in furniture design and make from Wolverhampton University and an NVQ level three in carpentry and joinery. She spent ten years teaching GCSE product design and B/TEC construction at secondary school level and was eventually appointed head of department.
Prior to that, she was the first ever in-house product designer to join Richard Burbidge, a leading UK manufacturer and supplier of staircase balustrade, decking and decorative mouldings. She secured the position after winning a competition set by the company to design a new shelving unit and ended up working on innovative product designs. She has also spent time as blacksmith and welder.
Although there are no specific people Jane aspires to, her interest in the profession was ignited by renowned furniture designer Tom Dixon. She is interested in the Baroque, minimalist, Art Deco and Bauhaus movements and as a child of the 1970s, loves that period as well. These influences have resulted in a distinct Jane Handford Design signature style of simple, elegantly-lined furniture.
Jane’s father was an engineer so an introduction to the concepts of design and manufacturing at a young age were inevitable. She believes this is a key factor in the service Jane Handford Design provides and in what is a predominantly male-dominated sector.
She said: “My experience and knowledge enables me to be the single point of contact throughout all stages of the process, transferring my clients’ requirements and ideas from the initial consultation into design, production and final installation. I also enjoy creating furniture from a mixed material format, using new and recycled wood, such as oak, plywood or MDF, combined with forged metal or sheet steel and rapid prototyping methods.”