Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Art Deco sofa in Welsh wool

A 1940's late Art Deco sofa reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Luna (apple) 100% wool.

Traditionally reupholstered and with a reinforced wood frame, this beast weighs in pretty hefty. If you ask me, the end of the Art Deco period produced very stylish, simple furniture - gone is the decoration and decadence of the early years, replaced by a solidity and seriousness reflecting the times.

The familiar sloping angles are here but there's more than a hint of modernity creeping in. I love this furniture - if I were to manufacture furniture, it would be in this style. Once again the customers were brave enough to choose a fabric that does justice to the great shape.

My daughter saw this and said "Wow, it looks like it should be in a forest."  We talked about Yetis and Abominable Snowmen and agreed this would make an ideal armchair for them and that the forest would be a very fitting place for it.

But as the customers live right next to the forest we felt it would live happily in their front room.

Until Bigfoot wants it back...

This was a commission.

Monday, 20 October 2014

LLandovery Sheep Festival

I took a stand at this year's Sheep Festival in Llandovery. It's a brilliant event, very close to where I live and very relevant to what I do - particularly now that I'm billing myself as a Welsh Wool Specialist.

I was very pleased to be supported by Melin Tregwynt whose products I use and specify wherever possible. Thanks to Eifion for supplying the banners - I clearly didn't make the Balzac chair in the picture but I guess it's only a matter of time before one comes my way. And when it does, maybe I'l cover it in one of these terrific fabrics that I was promoting.

I decided to do some 'live upholstery' to create a bit of interest. It's not exactly the Greatest Show on Earth and I certainly couldn't compete with Sheeptacular with it's dancing sheep, but then, who could?

But I did get plenty of interest and comments about the traditional method in which I was stitching and stuffing this bench.

People are quite fascinated by the magnetic tack hammer, particularly kids - get them one of these mums and dads, they'll soon put down those Nintendos.

Probably best not to teach them to 'spit tacks' though eh?

Many thanks to everyone I met for showing interest in this great old profession and don't forget to bring your chairs into my workshop like you all promised...

(Many thanks to Fiona for organising another brilliant event - onwards and upwards).

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Painted Dining Chairs

A set of painted dining chairs in plaid wool.

Most of my customers come into the workshop with an idea of what they want but also seeking some advice. Usually they're not that interested in what goes on underneath but keen to ensure they get fabric that is appropriate for the furniture both in the way it looks and how long it will last. Occasionally someone comes in saying 'please re-do these chairs in this fabric'. In this instance, a customer came in with a set of chairs they'd already painted, bringing with them both the fabric and braid for the job. As it turned out it was a very good fit - it isn't always...

Don't ask me to like it - I'm really not into ch*bby ch*c, so painting such well-made, hand carved beech chairs would never be my choice, but I have to concede, these were probably heading for landfill and are now looking like a set of desirable country-kitchen chairs. So fair play to this customer, and they got the colour scheme spot-on.

 And who am I to say what anyone should do to their furniture? I am very happy to do whatever you want me to do - you're paying the money and you shall have what you want. I will insist you get a solid, lasting job and of course I will stitch a toy soldier on the inside, but otherwise, you call the shots.

I never forget that.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Bus Stop Chair at Cresselly, Pembrokeshire.

This is a smart yellow 1950's dining chair made by Ben Chairs, Frome that I wombled out of a skip, now available for bus travellers on the A4075 at Cresselly.

Yes, this is the chair I tried and failed to drop in Castlemartin (see previous blog entry) - this is a much nicer bus stop though don't you think?

The chair was in good condition in its original yellow vinyl so rather than reupholster it, I adorned it with drawings from the 1980's arcade game 'Asteroids', remember that?

They used to have these chairs in the sports centre where I grew up and where I used to hang out and play arcade machines.

Hence, 'Asteroids', a childhood reference you see.

And why not eh?

It's not visible in the first photo, but this is also the first chair to display my posh new labels, kindly printed for me free of charge by Roger at the excellent and wonderful  Papercut Bindery 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Failed Bus Stop Chair at Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire

I dropped this yellow chair in a nicely colour-matched bus stop in the village of Castlemartin, just beyond the MOD firing range. I photographed the chair (thankfully I couldn’t get an angle to film myself in the gorilla outfit) and was just pulling away in the van when a scarlet-headed man came blistering towards me shouting,

‘Uh, oh’, I thought and slowly scrolled the window down.


I got out of the van.

“PUT IT BACK IN YOUR VAN.” he ordered as I stepped towards him, “YOU CANNOT DUMP IT THERE.”

I was calm. He was not. He was wanting to kill me. He was a good deal bigger than me in all aspects. I tried smiling but it didn’t help. I don’t have the type of face to placate angry people, I have the type of face that makes them think I’m going to have a fight with them. I’m not, I’ve never had any fights, but by all accounts, when confronted I look like I’m about to have one (which may be why I haven’t had any fights).

He backed off quickly shouting, “I’VE GOT YOUR NUMBER PLATE.” He stumbled in the road and we both looked down at his feet. He was wearing slippers. He was furious in slippers.

“It’s ok,” I said as calmly as possible, “Don’t be upset, I’m not trying to upset anyone, quite the opposite in fact. I’ve reupholstered the chair and brought it here so anyone waiting for a bus can sit down on it.”

He gave this no consideration, his mind was made up - I was doing wrong.

“It’s fly-tipping, that’s what it is, and I won’t let you dump it there.” He was now shouting less but getting redder and more resolute.

What to do next? I’ve often thought about what the police might have to say about all this, but had not thought through an altercation with a furious man in slippers. How could I explain? Suddenly a simple idea came to me.

“It’s an art project,” I offered, (It isn’t, but it seemed feasible as an explanation).

He lunged forward, planted his big glowing face right into mine and bellowed “YOU’RE AN ART PROJECT.”

I was beaten, that was now very clear. I exhaled slowly and deeply, picked up the chair and walked calmly back to the van. As I drove away I saw his big red head give me a small wobble of winning smugness.

“Fair enough,” I thought, “at least he’ll feel vindication for all his upset.” And I felt a little bad that he’d had to go through that.

But the yellow chair… it looked so good in that yellow bus stop…