Coffyn Furniture Interview / by Northern Craft

We spoke to husband and wife team Coffyn about their furniture, their craft and their plans for the future!

Who are you and what do you do? 
"We're Kellye & Matt Coffyn and we make nice stuff for your home. We focus on plywood and textiles to make furniture and home wares that are both beautiful and functional."

Why ply?
"Baltic Birch Plywood is a really great material to work with - it's strong and durable which results in a piece of furniture that's built to last. Plywood often gets lumped in with cheaper materials like MDF in people's minds but as it's simply layers of birch laminated together, it's as strong as solid wood with the bonus of being more stable through temperature changes etc. It also has a wonderful modernist aesthetic and is up there with concrete as one of the best (and arguably most beautiful) building materials in the world."

How long have you been making furniture for? 
"Matt’s been making furniture for a couple of years but it’s only been in the last 6 months or so that we’ve been looking at it as a full time occupation. One thing that has been constant, from the first pieces for ourselves through to larger commissions, has been the absolute joy of the design and construction. We want to make something functional and made right so it can be loved for years to come. Kellye’s been working with textiles for as long as she can remember."

Kellye, tell us about a project you've worked on recently.
"I made my first quilt last year for my best friend's new baby Jolene - and now I want to make quilts non-stop. It was simple, but felt ambitious because there's sort of an aura around quilts that they're super difficult to make. That's not totally untrue - you have to be precise and there's a lot of heavy lifting, but the ideas behind piecing are these wonderful exploitations of simple geometry and trigonometry. When you see how some things are put together, it's like being shown how a magic trick works - it's amazing until the mechanism is revealed and then it's so simple you're surprised you fell for it."

What's the first thing you made and what did you learn from that?
"When we moved into our house in Leeds we’d left a rental apartment and so had plenty of space to fill. We decided to try to do as much of it ourselves as possible and Matt built first a sideboard that was way too big to get up the stairs. It was a really great experience and we couldn’t stop after that – with Kellye making all the curtains as well as cushions and quilts while Matt got to work on tables and chairs. Going further back, Kellye’s first original design as a child came from taking men’s shirts, removing the sleeves and making them into bags for the sole purpose of carrying kittens in. This is what happens when you grow up on a farm in Texas."

You both just quit your jobs to work on Coffyn full time, was this an easy choice to make?
"We’ve both ended up here from very different career paths – Matt has spent most of his life as a bartender and Kellye is an experimental physicist. Since getting married last year, we’ve both been looking for a way to spend more time together and nurture each other’s creativity. When we got a few commissions in, we realised they would be very difficult to complete while working full time and we decided to focus all our efforts on Coffyn. Matt was lucky enough to be working for an awesome printers in Leeds who were incredibly supportive of the move and as Kellye was getting pretty disenchanted with academia, it was an easy transition."

Which stall at Northern Craft are you most looking forward to seeing?
"We’re definitely excited to check out Kerrie ALDO clothing range as all their stuff looks amazing. We also missed the chance to pick up anything from geo-fleur when we visited Northern Craft Fair last year so we’ll be stopping by their stall for sure! Of course there’s also the ever wonderful Drew Millward, By The Lock Handmade and actually everyone because it all looks incredible."

Kellye & Matt will be selling their wares on the Saturday of our Northern Craft Fair this August