Matthew Burt FSDC

Furniture & Boxes

About Matthew
Matthew’s work is steeped in, and stems from, the material he loves. His childhood was spent in the shadows of towering elms and amid the coppices of the underwood, in his pocket a penknife, twine and imagination. From climbing amid them to untold mischief beneath, Matthew’s affection for trees grew into a lifelong love affair. As a furniture maker Matthew seeks to memorialise wood's sensuality, its generosity, versatility, and beauty. As a furniture designer he accepts the baton of the past, whilst aiming to dip it into our own times and culture by appropriately solving the design brief.
Biography Back to top

Matthew seeks to express the twin disciplines of the designer-maker by using home-grown timbers and searching to communicate each tree’s narrative. It is not enough that it is just wood, it has to be sensitively selected and thoughtfully displayed for it to give of its best. Each tree will reveal its character, its past and its charms, and tell that individual story. Such timber comes with faults, unusable splits and knots. Consequently, his work is often made from smaller components, gleaned from between and around these various ‘defects’ which he reconfigures into pieces, designed and made for posterity, able to punch above their weight and withstand the vagaries of modern living and beyond, to give joy in use as 21st century English furniture.

Within Matthew’s practice there is a parity of status and intent between designing, making and material; all of them marshalled into a perpetual pursuit of the synergy that is the designer-maker. To these ends, Matthew has taken apprentices on similar journeys, aiming to give them the baton so that they might dip it into their own experience and run with it into their futures. He aspires to give them a mastery of process, using tools from the biblical to the digital.

Resumé Back to top

Matthew is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Recent public commissions:

  • Altars for St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury and St John the Baptist, Tisbury
  • Restaurant & bar furniture for The Royal Oak, Swallowcliffe
  • Exterior benches for 'Inspiring Views', Surrey Hills Arts


  • 2017 Christopher Claxton Stevens Prize for Excellence
  • 2015 Best Use of British Timber, Woodland Heritage
  • 2001 The Master’s Gold Award, Furniture Makers’ Company

Permanent collections:

  • Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge
  • Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts, Surrey
  • Racine Art Museum, USA
Other Makers in Furniture & Boxes