If you can run your hand over a piece of furniture and be reminded of the smooth feel of silk or when you look at the finish of the wood and you’re transported into ancient forests, you know your looking at the work of a true craftsman. A craftsman who has such a deep affinity with nature that he can turn timber into pieces of furniture, that whilst practical are very beautiful. Furniture that will one day become a family heirloom.
Ross Thompson is a very impressive young man who creates beautifully crafted bespoke furniture from his small home based workshop in Geelong. His style is a little retro reflecting the craftsmanship of practitioners of an earlier era, but with a maturity that belies his youth. At only twenty-five, Ross has established his business based on the love he has for timber and his respect for the environment. He uses Australian timbers that he has milled and dried himself so he feels a part of the piece he creates from the tree to the final product.
Originally from Ballarat, Ross didn’t have much of an idea of what he wanted to do for a career, however completing a VET course in furniture making, planted a seed in his mind. This followed with an apprenticeship in furniture and cabinet making, giving him the practical skills of working with wood. Halfway through the apprenticeship he and his boss recognised that their conflicting views on design meant they would amicably go their separate ways. From there, Ross has worked hard to develop his own style and improve his technique resulting in his range of fine furniture. Along he way, he wanted to add to the colour of life, so studied music, achieving a Bachelor of Music and Performance Improvisation as a guitarist. A love of the blues then led, at the age of twenty-one to a journey along the “Blues Highway”, from the deep south of America to Chicago. Returning home Ross learned more of his wood craft, but he says “The designing comes more from what I have learned through travel and music. Music and artistry brings about the finished product”.
Setting up as a sole trader toward the end of 2016 has sent Ross on another journey. He now faces the dilemma of most micro businesses of needing to be the multi-layered operator who is a marketer, salesman, bookkeeper, estimator, purchaser and all round “Jack of all Trades”. As he says, “sitting down at ten o’clock at night to write up quotes when all you want to do is sleep, is definitely a down side of running your own business”. However, this perfectionist somehow finds the time and energy to do it. As most of his work relies on creating custom furniture, he spends considerable time with clients working with them to design a particular piece, which sometimes doesn’t always meet with his own taste. However, as he sits down with a drawing and then moves into working with the particular piece, a love develops. As he says, “its seeing a definite character imparted into the piece by your own hands”. This seemingly odd mix of creativity and practicality is a little paradoxical, which Ross attributes to his parents with his mother strongly involved in creative crafts while his father is a mechanical engineer who has obviously passed on the practical gene. As a recent ‘start up’ business, Ross recognises that some sacrifices have to be made and one has been his music, but one day he would like to play in a band again. For now, Ross spends time with his partner Lauren, a Paramedic and playing in the midfield for Portarlington Football Club, football being another passion.
Asked where he sees himself in the next five-years Ross says “I suppose business wise, I hope to have established a reputation as a furniture maker of high craftsmanship, but also someone who brings a sense of humanity to their designs and craft.” Adding, “It would make me the happiest if people could look back one day and think of my pieces as more than just furniture, something that has contributed to making their lives better through their living environments as well as their relationships with people and objects around them’. Ross continued “Personally, I hope to have further strengthened my relationship with Lauren and that we would be starting a family soon enough. We want to renovate or build a house soon and it would be amazing if we could live somewhere amongst the trees. I’ve dreamt of designing and building everything – doors, windows and furniture. One day soon I hope. Ideally I want to still be playing music and enjoying creativity in all its forms with Lauren and our pup Floyd.” Meeting and speaking with this articulate and talented young man, it’s easy to believe he’ll achieve those goals.
Ross Thompson can be contacted at R.T Furniture Design – phone: 0431 426 466, email : firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram: @rtf_design or visit the website rtfdesign.com