Kieran Binnie is a keen student of the past, but no slave to it. As a historian, woodworker and writer, his interest in traditional handwork is matched only by his desire to participate in that tradition in a way that is both immediate and relevant. Through his building and writing Kieran has produced a body of work that bears witness to his commitment to craft and his devotion to sharing what he has learned along the way.
The intersection of history and woodcraft are currently at the center of Kieran’s work, but his path did not begin there. Kieran completed both a BA and MA in History at the University of York, specialising in the tumultuous sixteenth century with an eye toward the ways common folk construct narratives and place themselves and their communities within those traditions. After graduate school, Kieran entered into a career in law, but his life-long love of music led him to attended the acclaimed Totnes School of Guitar Making in 2007 to study lutherie. Working with his hands was intoxicating and the lure only grew stronger after attending Chris Schwarz’ Anarchist Tool Chest class at the New English Workshop in 2014. It was at this point that Kieran began to add furniture making to his repertoire.
These days, Kieran can often be found in his hand-tool centered workshop in Birmingham, UK building furniture commissions or writing about what he has discovered in the process. Having contributed research and interviews to a book about the life and work of the (sometimes controversial) Welsh stick chair maker John Brown, Kieran is currently researching and co-writing with Chris Schwarz a book about the history and development of the bookcase (to be published by Lost Art Press). He is also a regular contributor to Furniture & Cabinetmaking (since 2014) and has written several feature articles for Popular Woodworking, one of which is included in the second edition of Handplane Essentials (2017, Popular Woodworking). Kieran’s work is characterized by real world experience with a rigorous academic emphasis on research and a deep concern for the heritage and context of handwork.
Kieran is always seeking opportunities to build, write and teach so commissions (both furniture and writing) are always welcome. All of his pursuits are gathered up under the umbrella of Over the Wireless Limited.
Text by Wishbone & Hearth, 2017