Workshopshed: Leona Marsh is someone who gets things done. She’s used her business experience and passion for the creative to found Marsh Mill Interiors. Here she designs and makes furniture for homes and businesses.
Workshopshed: Leona, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. How did you get into furniture making?
Leona Marsh: I’ve always had a passion for interiors and painting, so many years ago I decided to combine the two and I started upcycling old and broken furniture that people were throwing away. I wanted to take something old and broken and fix it up to make it usable again. I did this as a hobby but wanted to see if I could make it work as a business. So I researched interiors, furniture and trends for a couple of years and started sketching away and making notes every time I was inspired. From this, I realised that the next biggest trend was going back to basics and being more rustic, earthy and industrial. So I turned my attention to this trend to see if I could possibly make it work and create my own pieces.
Workshopshed: What skills did you need to learn?
Leona: Although I have always been handy round the house doing painting and DIY, I realised I didn’t have any specific woodworking skills – so I went away to learn these. I did a few different woodworking courses at the local agricultural college, Myerscough College, and learnt some basic skills in woodworking and how to create the finishes on wood.
Workshopshed: What influences your designs?
Leona: My biggest design influences are the environment in which we live. I look for functionality, reusability, sustainability, longevity (in both design and the pieces themselves). I always take note of the places I visit, such as bars, restaurant, hotels, shops, offices, salons etc and take inspiration from these. As well as looking at bridges, towers and nature.
Workshopshed: How important is the choice of materials?
Leona: I use reclaimed timber for the main finish of my products. This is important to me as my whole philosophy is to take something which would usually be thrown away or burnt, and transform it into a thing of beauty using my 10 step treatment process. The finished look of the wood can only be achieved by aged wood. The patina of the finish is not something which can easily be replicated with new wood.
Workshopshed: Where do you make your furniture?
Leona: All the furniture is made in the workshop located on the Docklands of Preston, in the heart of Lancashire.
Workshopshed: And finally, what is your favourite tool?
Leona: Haha, my favourite tool….let me see…..probably has to be my sliding compound mitre saw…..cause I ain’t sawing 150 planks by hand :) I’d have no arm left!!!