‘Xylo of Pickering’ was founded in 1995 by Dominique Bizien. Originally from Normandy, Dominique has always loved to work with wood, as he explains: even before I was given my first toolset as a child, I used to help Dad to cut and stack the firewood; I loved the feeling of warm sawdust on my hands in the middle of winter, and the different fragrances of the various types of wood. That’s where it all began, and I’ve never looked back. At fifteen Dom left home to board at technical college where he studied for three years to gain a national qualification in joinery. Determined to further develop his knowledge and skills, Dominique was fortunate to be accepted onto a traditional journeyman apprenticeship with the iconic French trade guild ‘Le Compagnonnage du Devoir’. By 1984 he had spent five years working for and learning from several of the best joiners and cabinet makers in France. He also completed many hours of formal education including design, art history and technical drawing and was latterly himself responsible for training junior craftsmen.
It was in 1984 that Dominique designed and created his chef d’oeuvre (masterpiece); the final requirement for his validation as a fully-fledged ‘Compagnon’. However, Dominique felt there was still one important skill missing from his armoury: English language ability. The following year he addressed the issue by relocating to York, where he studied English by night and worked for a prominent English cabinet maker by day. Dominique chose to settle permanently in Britain, and subsequently worked for joinery and cabinet making firms in Manchester, Stockport and Malton. In 1995 Dominique and his wife Jane settled back in North Yorkshire, in Ryedale, and Dominique established his own business: Xylo (‘wood’) of Pickering