Toys with Heart

I have been so excited to meet lots of great people and businesses since setting up The Frugal Family – when I came across Liz on Twitter with her beautiful hand crafted childrens toys I knew she would be a perfect fit for our Bumps and Babies theme – but I will let her tell you all about these lovely, ethical products and their creation…

Hi, my name’s Liz. I run a one woman wood turning business called Love HeartWood.

I’m thrilled to be featured by The Frugal Family as I’m a follower of theirs. As a mum of 3 boys we also live frugally, like Claire for me that’s not about spending nothing; it’s about making conscious consumer choices that fit with my values.

I’m 40+ years old and wood turning is my second career. With age comes self-knowledge and I couldn’t ignore my creative urges any longer. In my 30’s I took redundancy from my safe teaching job to study product design at Central St.Martin’s in London. I had an amazing time being at one of the top and most creative art & design colleges in the country and it was there that I fell in love with turning. When I graduated in 2007 I vowed I would get my own lathe. Life getting in the way meant that wasn’t possible until the summer of 2013 when I finally took delivery of my very own lathe the day before my wedding. My husband-to-be joked that we’d be setting it up on our honeymoon. He wasn’t laughing for long as that’s pretty much what happened.

I love the process of turning. Watching the wood transform before your eyes is magical. Anyone who’s ever watched a wood turning video on YouTube can testify to that. Wood is an amazingly beautiful material that is so versatile and durable. Because it was alive and grew over time responding to its environment each piece is unique. Because it is a natural material it also has health benefits too. Studies have shown that it can improve concentration and reduce stress levels. Something we could all do with.

My degree studies left me feeling that although mass-manufacture has made items affordable they have less value too, in fact they are disposable. I wanted to offer people an alternative to mass-produced factory made products. Love HeartWood grew from my passion for making and my desire to share an appreciation of hand made. I combine my life experience, design training and craft skills to make special gifts to be cherished. From my own experience, I know that when I give someone a gift I want it to stand out. It needs to show someone how I feel about them. A gift from Love HeartWood isn’t run of the mill. It’s crafted and presented with care and attention to detail. I personalise pieces with a wood burning pen so they’re tailored to the recipient. Not only that, it’s a gift that you will feel good about giving.

Mass manufacture has caused huge environmental problems and we live with the guilt of our society’s wastefulness every day. To combat this Love HeartWood is ethical and eco-friendly every step of the way. All my wood is from recycled or local sustainable UK sources. I don’t use imported timber which may have come from illegal logging. I don’t use rare exotic hardwoods. Instead I prefer to champion native woods which would otherwise end up in the chipper or the wood burner. I also decided to only use finishes that are natural, healthy and contain no VOC’s. All wood stains are natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic and water based plus vegan friendly and safe for bees and children.

I choose my suppliers very carefully for their ethical and green credentials. For example, sustainable cork cord from Portugal, not leather, is used for the Acorn Collection necklaces.
To pack and ship items either the wood shavings created during turning are used or recycled tissue paper. The shavings can go in your compost bin or it makes great guinea pig bedding. The shipping boxes and paper tape are made from 75% recycled fibres and 100% recyclable.

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking like this and I believe Love HeartWood is part of a growing trend of conscious consumerism. Like the slow fashion campaign where consumers are starting to question ‘who made my clothes?’ we need to look at all the items we purchase. A good place to start is with special item purchases because it matters that these are genuinely special.
If this wasn’t enough for you and you want to know more check out my website and blog at www.loveheartwood.co.uk.

I’m currently working on a new kid’s collection that I’m very excited about. It will be launching in the autumn. To hear how that’s coming along keep in touch on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I enjoy sharing my inspiration and work in progress. I’d love to hear what you think about my work and I’m always looking for that next great gift idea so please get in touch.
Facebook & Instagram: loveheartwood
Twitter: LizHeartWood

Please share...