about sward designs

Meet the designer

Hello I'm Sue. I've always enjoyed craft work and discovered

wood turning a few years ago thanks to my brother.

I take my design inspiration from the outdoor environment. As an ecologist I learned to observe the range of different shapes and forms found in nature, and to appreciate the beauty of natural materials. This is reflected in my work, where I use minimum embellishments to allow the wood to speak for itself.


Part of the fascination of working with wood is not knowing exactly what it will look like until it is cut or turned on the lathe. Only then will I decide what to create. Once a piece of wood is used up, it will never be replaced with an exact replica, meaning that each design is fresh and new.

I hope you like my work, and appreciate the beauty of natural wood as much as I do.


It’s all about the wood


By using different woods it is possible to achieve an amazing range of colours and patterns without the need for any paint or dyes. Here are a few examples.

Natural stripes. Wood from trees grown in temperate seasonal climates like the UK tend to have strong banding or grains due to annual growth rings. Even between the same species there can be very different patterns caused by variations in growing environments and the provenance (origin) of the tree. The example here is Oak.

Multi-coloured wood. Colour variations can be found in the same piece of wood, for example, between the heartwood from the centre of the tree, and the sapwood. The sapwood is the youngest part of the tree on the outside edge, and is usually a paler colour and softer texture than the heartwood. The example here is Yew.

Natural patterns. Interesting patterns can be found as a result of insects or fungi in the wood. One of my particular favourites is spalted wood, which has fantastic patterns and colour variations caused by fungi in the wood. The example here is spalted Beech.

Exotic hardwoods grown in tropical forests have interesting characteristics. Because the trees grow in a climate where the growing season is all year round the wood does not have seasonal growth rings. This results in a more even texture and a tendency to be very hard. The colours of tropical hardwoods can be intense, and can sometimes look more like a precious stone than wood. The example here is Purpleheart.

email: sward-designs@hotmail.com

instagram: @sward_designs