Catherine Senior rarely gets time to spend back on the workbench. These days she’s busy visiting customers and utilising her design skills helping them to create the furniture to fit perfectly with themselves and their living space.

Based in a 19th century former weaving mill in Oxenhope, Daedalian, the furniture business cabinet maker Catherine founded with her co-director and project manager Jonas Hartley, has weathered the recession well.

“Our turnover went up last year so you never say never but we are really lucky we have a product which people want,” says Catherine.

By the very nature of the furniture, created from luxury hardwoods such as pippy oak and cherry, Daedalian’s customers tend to be at the top end of the market, those who, regardless of a recession, can afford to buy the best.

Established a decade ago, Daedalian brings together the skills of a talented team of craftsmen and women.

The character of the building, surrounded by a rolling rural landscape and only a mile away from ‘Bronte country’, embraces the purpose for which it is now used as a workshop where pieces of timber are transformed from their natural state into functional items for the home.

Catherine explains that each hand-crafted piece is individual. “Individually-designed and crafted by hand is our strapline,” she says.

Catherine’s knowledge of design, coupled with her ability to manufacture – and the fact she’s a female in what was largely a male-dominated industry – makes her somewhat unique.

She studied furniture at Brighton University. “I was given the basics at university then when I left in 1993 I worked in London.”

Teaming up with some architects led Catherine to embark on some prestige developments. She worked on some apartments in Chelsea and worked on a furniture collection for the London department store, Liberty.

For two years she designed furniture in her own workshop down south before returning to her Yorkshire roots. “I am a Yorkshire girl, I was brought up in Pontefract, so I came with portfolio in hand looking for a workshop to work in. Going from workshop to workshop I met Jonas Hartley.”

Catherine joined Jonas in the Micklethwaite company where he was working. When that closed, the pair decided to set up on their own. Their original five-strong workforce has grown to 11. “We knew it was a formula that would work and the skills were too good to lose so we took it up from nothing and started running with it,” says Catherine.

Creativity runs in the family. Her sister is an interior designer and she discovered her great grandfather had a woodworking mill.

Although the construction industry has embraced more women into the trades, according to Catherine female cabinet makers are still in the minority. One of their cabinet makers is a woman.

Catherine’s understanding of the design and manufacture gives her an advantage when talking to customers. She knows what will work and how to achieve it.

“When I’ve designed something I can visualise it and the moment you walk in and see it it’s just amazing and it is something everybody who works here has had an input in so you can see everybody’s personalities running through it,” she says.

The most unusual piece they created for a customer was a drinks cabinet to blend with their art and ceramics collection.

Designing and helping to create all this beautiful furniture I am curious to find out about the interior style in her own home. “Since 1993 I’ve made things and collected things so rather than having a uniform look throughout the house I have a real eclectic mix,” she says.

Catherine says wood adds warmth and blends with the character of the home. “It’s part of the family really.”

She says customers appreciate the quality craftsmanship. “They really appreciate what they are getting and we are giving them something which they will love and look after.”

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