The Tobias George brand came about from a love of design and making. I’ve always held visual aesthetics and design close to my heart, so when starting the brand I wanted that to be a key factor, not only in the making side of things, but also in the display and set up of the workshop.
Typically I went to school and studied both GCSEs and A levels, doing particularly well in the practical subjects where I was able to be creative, however, university wasn’t an option for me. I began making things purely for a love of making things and then got carried away! 4 years later and It’s now almost a full time job, with regular commissions being sent out all over the UK. I’m often asked how I learnt various skills in wood work, and the truth is that I learned by doing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time with my father and grandfather, both when I was younger, and even now, and they’ve both taught me valuable skills and lessons in the craft, even though its often me teaching them these days!
My biggest build yet is my beautiful workshop. The rejected barn on a friends farm yard was left for many years as a spare storage barn on the yard until they were kind enough to give it to me in the summer of 2015. Over the next few months I put time and effort into restoring it to a suitable (and very beautiful) working workshop. After spending time searching (and scrounging) through farm yards and reclamation yards, I found all the materials I needed for the build. I also got incredibly lucky finding 2 sheets of double glazed glass on the side of the road, the exact size that I needed to be able to have a glass front to the barn. The whole restoration cost less than £100, so it’s proof that you can build a beautiful space on a budget. For regular photos of the barn be sure to head to the Facebook and Instagram accounts.
When Tobias George first started I made everything out of recycled and reclaimed materials. As the years have gone by I have kept the same outlook and continued to use reclaimed and recycled materials, but also found there has been a higher demand for using newer materials to ensure a long lasting product that will stand the test of time. All hand carved pieces are made using responsibly sourced wood, from a tree surgeon I work with for regular income (and regular materials!), anything else is bought from trusted and quality timber merchants, ensuring it has been cut and treated in the proper ways.
Longterm followers will be happy to hear that I am continuing to sell reclaimed and vintage items, that can be found mostly on my Facebook page. I love rooting through barns, antique shops and flea markets to find hidden gems that might often be discarded or thrown away. The idea of restoring or repurposing something to give it a new lease of life to serve for another lifetime is incredibly exciting to me.
When it comes to pricing products I have always struggled with getting the right balance. On the one hand I understand the importance, as a maker, of honouring the craft and the work that has been put into making a product, but on the other hand I want people to feel that their money has been well spent on an item that they can treasure and use for years, without breaking the bank. Some business men and women will disagree with me, but I value customer relationships and opinions and have always felt that charging a little less for something that I know is going to a happy customer is way more important than seeing a bit of extra profit come my way.