The Furniture of Mike Whittall
Photography by Craig Stephen
Two years ago, Mike Whittall made a dramatic change to his life. He left his accountancy-based career of twenty-five years – which had included working for Customs and Excise, Grant Thornton and Deloitte in the south and London – and moved to Scotland. He started in Aberdeenshire
working for Deloitte and after some time freelancing and
working, settled in Netherdale, near Aberchirder.
His new home, which he shares with wife, Jane Craigie – who runs a marketing business – is also the site of his new business venture. He will run ‘Ochre & Wood’, furniture-making and restoration in a steading workshop, which he is converting as we write. Mike gained an appreciation for woodworking from the age of five – from his grandfather and his father who were enthusiasts. Now Mike is in a position to realise his dream to be a professional woodworker. Although he is largely self-taught, he did attend a recent nine month course at the Chippendale International School of Furniture at Haddington – tutored by
Anselm Fraser. Until now he has been travelling back and forth using the
school’s well equipped workshops and has produced some outstanding sample pieces.
His aim is to use our local Scottish woodland heritage for the raw material.
Despite centuries of felling for fuel and building, our countryside is still home to some 1.4 million hectares of forestry – three quarters of which is coniferous and the remainder broadleaved trees. He is a firm believer in sourcing his timber locally where possible. Apart from the obvious ‘wood mileage’ benefits – his resulting pieces will have provenance. Mike’s philosophy is that ‘every tree has a story’…
To read the full story, be sure to pick up a copy of the August 2016 issue!