Talking about people having life changes! Furniture maker Guy Bucchi has had an amazing series of quite radical changes later in life that have ultimately led him to furniture making from psychiatric nursing and moving from France (his home country) to New Zealand (his partner’s country).
His specialty is chairs made from metal and native New Zealand recycled wood, such as swamp Kauri, Kauri, Rimu, and Manuka, with a very creative twist (excuse the pun). Come and meet Guy …
You’ve had a really varied past from sheet metal worker to nurse to furniture maker, as well as a sea change from France to New Zealand. Tell us more about this, your background and why you chose to focus on designing and making furniture?
I retired from nursing in 2000 and came to NZ as my partner wanted to return to her homeland.
Having grown up in a small village near Avignon in the South of France, Provence, surrounded by master crafts people (blacksmiths, cabinet makers, stone masons, upholsterers etc), I have always been interested in tools, artisans and art. I chose to design and make furniture because of the variety possible and the pleasure of creating a new piece. A chair is the object closest to people.
Tell us about the various materials you use and why?
Seeing as metal is familiar to me (having done a sheet metal worker/boilermaker apprenticeship after leaving school) I mostly use steel, copper, wood and have used rope and leather.
Where do you source the materials from?
The local scrap metal dealer and steel merchants is where I can source metal to make my tools or to use on a piece I’m creating. Metal is one of the easiest materials to recycle and is long-lasting. When possible I use recycled native New Zealand wood or offcuts, i.e. Kauri, Rimu, Manuka, found locally. Recycled Kauri is becoming harder to source but I also purchase Kauri from local merchants. I have been planting native NZ trees i.e Kauri on my small property for the past 12 years, maybe an artisan will use them in 100 years or more.
Tell us about your creative process?
I put my ideas on paper, drawing a rough sketch, which I will go back to within days or years once I’m ready to produce it.
Where do you go for inspiration?
My inspiration comes from a long personal search and due to living in Australia and New Zealand I’m influenced by Aboriginal and Maori art.
What have been some of the challenges you faced in setting up your own creative business?
My biggest challenge is lack of comparison with other artisans using similar materials in this field of creativity. Being self-taught and of a certain age (68 years) means doors are closed for me.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others wanting to do the same?
One must always give the best of oneself.
The best thing about living in New Zealand is …
The quality of life, it is the best place for me to create as I live close to nature in a peaceful rural setting, with the birds trees and animals.
What I miss most about France is …
I miss my culture, family, language, food, friends, the climate – as is expected when one leaves their homeland at a late age.
My guilty pleasure is …
My guilty pleasure is to share my interest of my work with other people.
Have you ever had a ‘who’d have thought’ moment?
My ‘who’d have thought’ moment is my late discovery of my creativity.
Thanks Guy and good luck for the success of your chairs! To see more of Guy’s work, you can find him here.