Meeting with Damien Maillet in his Zinnwood woodturning workshop, located in the town of Andilly.

A sweet smell of wood hangs in the air. By pushing the door of Damien's studio, we discover a new universe. Or rather, a very old world. The electric lathe replaced the pedal spin, but the technique is there, unchanged over the years. Placing a piece of wood between the jaws of the chuck, he works it with a gouge until it has the desired shape.

This profession of yesteryear, now little known, Damien discovered it as a child at the Cuzals eco-museum. A meeting with an old man operating his wooden lathe will create a vocation. Hypnotized by making a spinning top, he knew at that moment that wood would be part of his life.

This famous top that sits today in his workshop, Damien now declines it in different shapes, colors and types of wood (boxwood, beech, etc.). Like a wink, a fetish object that he wishes to pass on in turn.

Although he works with almost any type of wood, Damien must adapt to everyone. Each essence has its particularity. Each piece also, with its knots, its direction of growth (we speak of “end wood” in the direction of the growth of the tree or of “grain wood”)….

The drying and stabilization of the wood is slow. It is a job for which one learns patience and humility. We remain in perpetual learning, which is not to displease our passionate craftsman!

Damien sometimes even works with wood that is still green, to create new shapes as it dries. This is particularly the case with “eternal flowers” ​​which require delicate work and a great deal of dexterity.

Its various pieces are rarely varnished, more often oiled (this is the case for food objects created in suitable woods) or even waxed with local beeswax (for vases in particular).


Bird directed by Damien de Zinnwood ©Nicolas Alvarez

Damien in his studio in Andilly ©Nicolas Alvarez

What is close to his heart? Join an eco-responsible approach and favor short circuits. Its wood thus comes from less than 100 km from the workshop, often recovered from individuals, and sometimes even saved from incineration to give it a second life. This is why he mainly works with local species. He also gives his wood chips to make mulch, etc.

It now offers a varied range of everyday objects (razors, pens, toys, etc.) and tableware (dishes, pepper mills, mortars, jars, etc.). Each piece is unique.

His workshop is not accessible to the public, but you can meet him on different markets in the region, or find his creations at the shop Kaboom Creators in La Rochelle.

He also works on demand to recreate specific furniture legs or orders. Do not hesitate to contact him !

Our favorite ? Its corks which bring such an original touch to our bottles!

learn more

The people here
Written on 23/02/2023
Aurore, budding artist