Stories are very important to us at Timothy Oulton. It’s not that we give each piece its own twee story – more that the process of bringing it into being has to have some meaning. The way we approach things, the way Tim approaches the creative process, is a bit of a quest. So we were delighted to invite a keen crowd to our Heal’s gallery in London for a Design Masterclass – a behind the scenes look at how our most iconic designs have grown from a simple spark of imagination into something tangible and real.
We welcomed around 70 guests to the gallery in the famous Heal’s Building on Tottenham Court Road, a beautiful venue with two centuries of history. It was a cosy respite from the crisp London air, with fine wine and cheese at the ready, rich leather chairs to sink into, and a dance of sparkle from crystal chandeliers and suspended shards of ancient rock crystal. Storyteller for the evening was Gallery Manager Sam Bowden. The crowd gathered.
Tim is often asked where his inspiration comes from, and the answer is “anywhere”. As Tim says, “You explore, discover and often end up finding inspiration down pretty unexpected avenues.” It was these unexpected avenues that storyteller Sam took the audience down, from an old rider’s saddle inspiring our signature Saddle Chair to Tim’s obsession with vintage luggage leading to the celebrated Globetrekker collection, and how his fascination for pure, natural materials paved the way for the timeless yet incredibly innovative Rock Crystal collection.
One of the ingredients of a great story is drama, and the evening’s best moment was when one of our guests was showered with red rose petals upon answering the question: What do you think Tomahawk leather is inspired by? The answer: rose petals. It was the soft velvety touch of the leather that gave it away.
Following the talk, our prize draw winner was delighted to win a hamper of gifts including a leather Thomas Sleeve, a scented candle and a bottle of champagne – the latter two setting the scene for a perfect night in. Guests continued to enjoy the gallery and chat over cheese and wine – served by our rather dapper waiters in bowler hats and vintage bow ties.
The Design Masterclass had come to an end, but perhaps the question remained: How do you come up with the perfect design? But as Tim will tell you, “There’s a magic extra ingredient that you can’t properly explain or articulate, but you know what you have to do to get there, and it’s as clear as day when you see it.”