Wood & Salt works with small, family owned craft clusters. Our work with these families takes us from the cool valleys of the Shivaliks to the outer deserts of Gujarat and along the banks of mighty rivers – developing objects that are useful, beautiful and filled with memories. We begin with an immense respect for the materials and the artisan, and hope to embed histories and emotions into each of our designs.
Our woodwork comes from a single family in North India. Ikkramuddin’s village was once part of the kingdom of Awadh, ruled over from a great distance by the famous Nawabs of Awadh. After independence in 1947, the village, now a district, continued its long tradition of craftsmanship – small scale looms, pottery and wood work (although the region is also known for its delicious mangoes in the summer).
Ikkramuddin is the fourth generation of craftsmen in his family. As a young boy he learnt his trade by watching his father and his grandfather. Ikkramuddin learnt how to use tools, how to recognise and differentiate the sinuous grains of wood, how to season and how to use his tools to accentuate the grain and celebrate the wood.
Today, he teaches his sons the craft in the same way that he was taught to – by watching his hands move and listening to the wood sing. Like his forefathers, Ikkramuddin and his sons work only with the most basic hand tools, a lathe machine and a jar of linseed oil.
Ikkramuddin’s backyard is filled with logs and sections of wood that he has found or bought from government agencies. They are stacked for a year, beaten down by the monsoons and burnt by the summer. It takes an entire year for the wood to be seasoned and only when the last days of winter are upon him does Ikkramuddin reach down and begin his work.