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Alice Blogg: My West Country

Alice Blogg: My West Country

Alice Blogg, West Dorset furniture maker and designer, hair pulled up in a top knot, mittened hands wrapped around a mug of ginger and lemon tea to take the edge off the chilly morning. Her workshop, balanced on the edge of undulating farmland on the rural outskirts of Bridport, is a hive of activity in the middle of winter. She has been here three years but her journey to this point has been much longer. Born in Dorchester, wood working is in her blood as the daughter of a carpenter and granddaughter of a boat builder but she took the university, travel and London design job route initially. Unsurprisingly she wasn’t happy and left her career to work unpaid for a small joinery, sweeping the floors, watching, learning, waiting and teaching herself to make furniture in the evenings. It was only a matter of time, perseverance, talent, a burst appendix and her first commission seven years ago that persuaded her to set up on her own. Alice has not stopped since and loves making her bowls and rolling pins as much as her bigger pieces like her curved hardwood lampshades and bespoke heirloom chairs and desks. She has expanded her workshop space and taken on two woodworkers to support her growing business. Most recently she has collaborated with Heals and stylish online retail site The Garnered with further exciting projects planned for the months ahead. Here we catch up with her in front of the logburner as the year begins.

Have you made and stuck to any new years resolutions?!

I don’t do New Years resolutions! I like to try and keep a constant in January with the gloomy weather. I don’t diet, but prefer to indulge in lots of fresh produce to keep happy and on top.

What is your favourite thing about winter in the south west?

Stormy sea walks and the sun shining on the sea, the peace and quiet in the town and welcome rest from the busy summer. Time to contemplate. 

What’s a typical weekend at home in Dorset like?

My partner always wakes up early to bake a fresh sourdough loaf on Saturdays. We always take the mornings slowly with fresh produce from the garden for breakfast. I try not to work, but most weekends there is a visit to the workshop. At the moment my partner and I are renovating our house which consumes most of our free time, and fills us with enjoyment as it progresses. 

Will you share with us a local hidden gem that you love to frequent?

Modbury farm shop for the delicious fresh jersey milk.

Where do you love to eat in the south west?

I don’t eat out that much as I love to cook. If I do go out I tend to go to my friend’s houses!!! But Dorshi in Bridport is great. There is an amazing reasonable wood fired pizza place in Westborne, called Da Marios. When I was younger my mother and I always went to Portland Lighthouse for a crab sandwich, we still do. 

Who are your favourite local makers/producers?

My favourite cheese maker is Wootton Organic Dairy, especially the Old Burford mould ripened Jersey cow’s cheese. I never tire of this. I love Liberty Field’s apple balsamic vinegar too. 

Where is the best place for a winter campfire beach party?

Eype beach. Five minutes outside of Bridport.

What is your favourite West Country view?

I can’t pick one. There are so many. When the air is clear and you can see all the way over to Portland and the other way over the sea to Start Point.

If you could only make one product what would it be?

Chairs. They forever intrigue me, a hard thing to make. 

What are your plans and hopes for 2017?

I am always the optimist. There have been hard times for many in 2016, and I hope these political creases can be ironed out. I want to keep moving on and pushing forward at the same time as enjoying the present. And discover more far far away and on my doorstep. Just to keep the creative streak alive and continue to make.


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