William Warren

London based product and furniture designer


Over the weekend,  myself and Gareth Neal went down to Hastings to learn how to make Sussex Trugs. We were taught by John Carnell who has been making trugs for many years. He is one of the few trug makers who uses only hand processes, splitting his wood down into planks rather than cutting it on a machine. John was an excellent teacher and great company.

The Sussex Trug is a type of traditional basket made in the South East. Originally, trugs were made for manual labour, shifting earth or rocks but now they are more commonly used for gardening. The object is a wonderful example of an evolved design, where the form is derived from a mixture of functionality, structure, the performance of materials and simple hand processes. There is nothing styled here or unnecessary. They are lightweight and incredably strong and can last for over fifty years if used and much longer if not.

Learning how to make trugs has helped me appreciate how great these little practical baskets are. Over the next couple of months, a selection of other designers will also learn these skills, and we are hoping to generate some interesting responses to trugs which will be show during London design week in September.

One Response to “Trugger”

  1. Richard says:

    Well done I have been making trugs for 32 years now started by going and looking at Rupert Reed
    growing up on a farm in Herstmonceux Trugs all round us have found it a good alternative to use spare time up and have never tired off the job as each piece of wood has differant properties,
    now sadly the only Trug maker that lives in the Parish of Herstmonceux.

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