Peter Coulter of Reclectica is an ex dentist, ex signwriter, now furniture maker and spoon carver. Peter has long had a fascination for green woodworking, but it wasn’t until a tree fell across his driveway that he took up spoon carving. He and wife Nicola are a full time designer-maker couple, running Coulter & Coulter, a homewares brand based in Hawkes Bay. Reclectica is Peter’s own furniture and woodworking project.
What do you make?
Spoons, furniture, and the occasional bit of signwriting, all with a strong emphasis on using found and recycled materials.
How did you get into your craft?
I have always had a practical and artistic side which needs an outlet, so when Nicola started Coulter & Coulter it was inevitable that I would follow. Our ranges compliment each other and we make a great team.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
Not as such, I have a degree in dentistry and a certificate in signwork but enthusiasm, an inquisitive nature and a can-do attitude count for much more.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Timber and metal. I use predominantly hand tools and found materials which often dictates the process.
What inspires you?
People – artists, poets, songwriters, cooks and landscape gardeners. Also the world around me – the colours and shapes and patterns.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Plain, simple, useful. I also have a strong belief that the future lies with the small makers, the artisans and those like Felt that support and promote them.
Five words that describe your mind:
“I can see time” whispered Mogget. (yes I know that is six)
Your favourite feedback from a customer:
“Can I show you a photo of your table in my home?”
Describe your workspace:
Modest. I work out of a single car garage, and the space outside. So, a window at one end, a door at the other, tools on the wall and a bench down the middle.
I have a strong belief that the future lies with the small makers, the artisans and those like Felt that support and promote them.
Recommend an album:
Dummy by Portishead – play it loud!
What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin. I love words and at its heart the book deals with the magic inherent in language.
What are you reading now?
I usually have several books around me so – Plain Simple Useful: The Essence of Conran Style by Terence Conran, Spaces by Frankie Magazine and an ebook, Cre8tive Success by David Litwin.
Who is your hero/heroine?
I have several and each has taught me something different, so in no particular order… Nigel Slater, Dan Pearson, Helena Bonham-Carter, Terence Conran, Alphonse Mucha, Edward Catich, Andy Goldsworthy, Junior Kimbrough and Daniel Craig’s James Bond.
A favourite quote:
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” – William Morris.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, two cats Buffy and Ranna.
What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Follow your own path – be inspired but don’t copy, listen to advice but always make up your own mind, share freely what you know – and sign up to Instagram.
What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
Probably an inch and a half Alongee pattern carving gouge by Ashley Isles. They are a small family company in England, their tools take a beautifully sharp edge and are a joy to use.
What’s in store for 2016?
Mostly trying to keep up with Nicola’s ideas! We have had a year off from craft fairs so time to get back out there, one maybe two pop-up shops, and I am learning to turn wooden bowls and plates on my foot powered pole lathe.
Peter has very generously offered one of his beautiful, functional spoons as a prize for one lucky Felt reader. Pictured above, this is a smaller-bowled general purpose cooking spoon (approx 29cm by 5cm), hand carved from locally foraged green poplar and finished with a food safe linseed oil and beeswax balm. A strong but light hardwood, poplar is an excellent timber for spoons. To be in to win, simply leave a comment telling us what you like about Peter’s story and his creations. The draw will be made on Friday 25 March and is open to New Zealand residents only.