Eliot Baron, a fully trained carpenter, craftsman in wood, and traditional timber framer, set up Clwyd Oak in 1992. By 2013, due to some major diversification, and with some rather grand projects on the horizon, it was clear that Clwyd Oak needed considerable revision. After much heartfelt deliberation it was decided that Clwyd Oak needed to evolve into something more complex… something that spoke of the new artistic directions being undertaken alongside some major timber framing projects… and Art of Oak was born.
The journey that brought Eliot to the cliff tops of South Pembrokeshire is as unusual as the instruments he creates.
Pembrokeshire Life Magazine
Eliot’s carpenter’s journey began in Liverpool in 1976, with basic training in hand skills in carpentry and joinery and led to projects in Shetland, Israel and for seven years in the USA. In upstate New York Eliot extended his training, becoming accomplished in designing and making fine furniture and oak timber framed structures, (which is making fine furniture on a large scale). Keen to gain more experience in traditional British Timber Framing Eliot returned to Britain in 1987. It was around this time that he also began to gain recognition as a playground maker in Wales. Intending to synthesise playground installations with traditional timber framing projects Eliot launched Clwyd Oak.
Clwyd Oak enjoyed high levels of demand for its handcrafted sensory equipment / musical play equipment, and was commissioned to design and make bespoke play equipment for a wide number of infant, primary and special schools throughout the UK.
Eliot is very conscientious and we have found his work to be of the highest standard.
Raymond Blanc, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons
Eliot is committed to impeccable customer service. Are you tired of being let down by builders, contractors and tradespeople? Eliot is no typical builder. Timberframers are the princes of the carpenter world… on a par with boat builders and instrument makers. Eliot is totally reliable, dependable and trustworthy. He offers his clients peace of mind.
Amongst many major achievements, a few stand out…
I feel delighted by the way I’ve been able to get my work established in my home City of Liverpool, despite warnings from the City Parks Department and Liverpool Councillors, who advised me that in Liverpool timber features are inevitably vandalised and burnt down. Consequently, they felt unable to justify commissioning me.
However, other agencies were willing to take the risk, which they felt were outweighed by the benefits of my work. Despite my obvious concerns, (the City Parks Department and Liverpool Councillors clearly knew what they were talking about), I am tremendously grateful to be able to say that I now have 21 years of beautiful oak structures and musical play installations that continue to stand undamaged in Liverpool – as well as all over Wales and England.
I don’t really know why my work is singled out for such preferential treatment in Liverpool. I don’t question it. I’m too busy feeling thrilled that it is so well appreciated.
The 1990’s saw further diversification including the installation of oak features for Japanese Gardens in Wrexham, and two Japanese Bridges for Raymond Blanc.
Eliot taught students in Sweden how to make a musical play area in a park in a week and undertook a week-long residency in a special school in Northampton, combining music workshops with mosaic making, producing tactile mosaic panels to be fixed to an outside wall of the school.
In recent years the output of Clywd Oak has been more concentrated towards the production of larger scale timber framed structures, including conservatories, garages, pergolas and unique hybrid musical play areas, incorporating tuned instrumentation using harmonic scales, (something that is of utmost importance to Eliot as well as his clients).
Eliot has always raised the bar throughout his career. Having achieved so much, the projects of the future will need to be rather exceptional in order to be a worthy progression of past works. His vision will not fail to deliver…
One thing never changes though…
It’s always a treat to meet people who possess the imagination and gumption to raise the resources to commission my work… and, to work with the children, for whom the musical play equipment is for, who never stop teaching me what I need to know.
Art of Oak is all about…
Bringing traditional oak timber framing work forward into a contemporary context. It’s an ancient tradition that is highly efficient, incredibly durable and has a profound sympathy for the materials. It is essential to keep these skills alive.
Plans for the future involve…
Exciting and innovative projects, with private clients, self-builders, charities and organisations in the private and public sectors, creating unique structures and integrating timber framing into projects that employ other modes of construction.
A large-scale collaborative project involving artists, artisans, craftspeople and designers to construct a multi-dimensional sensory landscape that can be appreciated by everyone, no matter what their age, aptitudes, or capabilities.
Pushing the envelope even further to create even more distinctive green oak furniture (decorated with carved patterns and symbols, inlaid with fossils and beach glass).
Producing more fine art – oak sculptures with relief carving and mixed media elements and exhibiting it within the UK.
Hopes and Dreams… in Eliot’s own words…
I’m looking forward to working with self-builders, undertaking complex timber framing projects such as oak conservatories, extensions, roofs, garages, and barns. Everything is possible: beautiful smaller oak buildings like pergolas, summerhouses, meditation huts, and studios for yoga and alternative therapies…
I love to bring people outside, providing them with the motivation to get some fresh air. Most of my work is built out of doors, all of which provides focal points within a landscape… prompting people to make the most of the light and clement weather.