Sweet wooden animals and geometric puzzles by Dublin-based Saturday Workshop have been popping up in cool design stores all over the country lately. We meet the father-and-daughter woodworking duo to find out how they make things work…
Sandymount-based father-and-daughter duo Saturday Workshop – aka Edward and Iseult O’Clery – have carved out a place in our hearts with their beautifully hewn animal toys, shown as part of the DCCoI’s Ó exhibition at Tent London. “I used to live in Stockholm and was very influenced by Scandinavian style,” begins Iseult. “I love old-fashioned, simple toys that are wooden and made to last generations – sadly not the case for lots of modern products. We design our toys with this in mind.” If you’re wondering, it’s a “Saturday” workshop out of necessity, as Iseult is a full-time architect.
Edward, a retired chartered engineer, who made wood models as a boy, is now realising a long-held woodworking passion. “I started making balsa-wood model boats when I was very young,” he recalls. “This interest developed into making a canoe, then a sailing boat, and finally a power boat. I designed a few building structures as a consulting engineer. However, I have found that actually making things in wood a much more satisfactory pastime.
“We mainly work with Irish beech now,” he says. “We tried many wood types, but beech is best for toys or puzzles.” Iseult adds, “The beech we use is taken from fallen trees from estates around Ireland so it’s fully traceable and sustainable, and some of it has a striking flamed pattern. It feels lovely to work with and is very aromatic; often the first thing people do when they see the wood is smell it!”