An Interview with… Love HeartWood
I first met the lovely Liz from Love HeartWood when researching wooden favours for a eco conscious couple that were due to marry in early 2020. I fell in love with the traditional wooden spinning tops, reminding me of fun family times when we’d play with one my grandma had in her prized toy collection.
It’s always a pleasure to meet like minded wedding businesses that have a strong sustainability ethos. Fast forward a few months and when planning our spring sustainable supplier photoshoot, I knew I wanted to include Love HeartWood’s rustic wedding collection.
I got talking to Liz about the product design process and found it so interesting I asked her if I could interview her, about her love for wood turning, the business and her products.
Tell us a bit about you and what you do?
I’m Liz, a product designer & woodturner. I live in Burghfield Common, West Berkshire with my husband, our 3 sons aged 10, 8 and 4 years and Rosie the gecko. The workshop at the bottom of the garden is where I make wooden thank you gifts, favours and small wedding extras on my lathe. My work’s characterised by its simple forms, celebration of natural materials and an emphasis on tactility.
What makes your business sustainable and why is it important to you?
Everything I make is underpinned by my passion for nature. I believe that we need to live in harmony with nature and that running a business can actually have a positive, not a negative impact on the planet.
It’s easy to spend money on favours and gifts that won’t last much longer than the wedding day itself. By giving simple favours made from quality materials your guests will want to take them home and enjoy using them. All Love HeartWood’s products are sustainable, plant based, low waste and plastic free. To reduce waste and make items as good value as possible many of them are dual purpose. For example, many of them can be used as a place name and a favour.
Every product sold plants a tree thanks to my partnership with the charity TreeSisters. Also, behind the scenes my electricity comes from renewable sources. The packaging and stationery is from recycled sources and I’m constantly working to reduce my carbon footprint.
Tell us more about the process of making one of your products?
Making a spinning top starts with a cylinder of reclaimed beech wood. First, it’s attached securely to the lathe so it spins at about 30,000 rpm. Then, while it’s spinning I use a selection of specialist hand tools called gouges to cut and shape the wood. The texture is created with a tool called a decorating elf, how cute is that? After that, once it’s sanded and decorated, it’s cut free from the lathe. Finally, the personalisation’s added. Check out the video here.
Can couples have items personalised?
Totally! That’s what’s so great about handmade. I add personalisations using my wood burning pen.It has a nib made of wire that heats up so writing with it permanently burns the letters into the wood.(see photo)
There are also lots of custom choices available such as the type of wood, the paint colours, the tag and twine colour and personalisation. Having these options results in totally unique gifts and favours that guests will truly want to treasure.
What is the lead time? When should couples be booking/buying in the planning process?
Favours and thank you gifts are best left until you have made all the big decisions like the venue, the theme/style and the guest list. Then you’ll know how many of each you need and who you want to be thanking. However, if it’s a large order of 50+ items it’s best to get in touch 2-3 months before the wedding date. Even if the details aren’t completely sorted it’s best to start the conversation so I can get an idea of the type and numbers of items required. If you need fewer than 50 items they can be purchased directly through the website without contacting me. Depending on the size of the order that usually takes between 1 and 2 weeks.
What is the most unusual request you’ve had to date?
I suppose the most unusual request was to make a wedding guest bowl. It was a surprise gift from the bride’s mother. The bride’s name is Holly so I used holly wood. The guests all signed the bowl at the Reception and I engraved over their names afterwards and sent it to Holly and her new husband once it was completed. I thought it was a really unusual guest book idea and a lovely memento for them. The below photo shows a completed wedding guest bowl made of Ash wood.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I absolutely love talking about weddings because each one is so unique. Hearing about people’s plans for their special day’s such a privilege. The designer in me loves being able to tailor favours and gifts for couples that will enhance and complement their day and make a really memorable keepsake for their family and guests.
What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
That’s a hard one but the best wedding presents I received were handmade peg doll cake toppers (below). My friend Sarah, who I’ve known since Uni, made them. We still have them on display in our dining room. Handmade gifts are just so surprising and special aren’t they?
How can people find out more about what you do?
To see what favours, gifts and accessories I offer visit loveheartwood.co.uk and check out the Rustic Wedding Collection. To find out what events I’m doing check the eco wedding updates section on my news page.