Monday, 27 April 2015

Bench collaboration with Rebecca Connolly for Cambrian Wool

In addition to the Inside Out Chair I made for the Cambrian Wool Exhibition, I was asked to collaborate with handweaver Rebecca Connolly to use the fabric she would weave for the same project. After I'd seen her work I was delighted to accept and she asked me if we could make a simple bench to showcase her fabric. And here it is:

Rebecca was supplied the wool undyed by Cambrian Wool and sent on to Triskelion Yarn for dying. The colours were inspired by the domestic architecture in Reykjavik and the pattern inspired by traditional Icelandic folklore symbols. I loved this idea because it echoes the motifs found in traditional geometric Welsh wool patterns that I love to use in my work.

Rebecca wove the upholstery weight cloth on a traditional 8 shaft counter march floor loom.

The red section was designed specifically to form the front edge of the bench, giving it a deliberately non-symmetrical design.

For my part, I wanted to use waste materials from my business to make the bench, so a plywood offcut was reinforced with a hardwood beam on the base. I added some screw-in legs prised from a 1950's chest of drawers in a skip.

I then cut and stuck together waste foam offcuts from other projects for the seat. For this I use my trusty 1970's electric carving knife.

Here's the non-red side.

We're both very happy with the result so you're probably going to be seeing a few more of these on these pages in future.

For the time being you can see the bench among lots of other itmes at the Cambrian Wool Challenge Exhibition, stopping at Hay Festival, The London Welsh Centre, Llandovery Sheep Festival, Made by Hand Wales and Wonderwool Wales.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Drop-arm Sofa in Bute Tweed

A 1920's drop-arm sofa traditionally reupholstered in Bute Fabrics tweed 0404

I've got an excellent set of customers who I often refer to as 'brave' because I'm regularly surprised by the brightness and coolness of the fabrics they choose. After reupholstering this sofa I've changed my mind - you're not 'brave' to choose a strong colour like this, you're MAD if you don't.

Kermit once sang 'It's Not Easy Being Green', but what did he know? and anyway, look what happened to him.

This was a commission.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Tub chairs in plain linen

A pair of blonde tub chairs reupholstered in Vanessa Arbuthnot plain Linen.

 Not sure if these might be French? Certainly not British anyway.

Very smart eh?

This was a commission

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

'Inside Out' chair for Cambrian Wool Challenge

I was delighted to be selected for the Cambrian Wool Challenge with one of my traditionally upholstered 'Inside Out' chairs, and here it is

The 'inside out' concept came about because I hate having to cover up hand stitched upholstery, it takes so long to complete and then it’s just smoothed over with wadding. Most people have no idea what’s underneath the fabric of the chair they’re sitting on and certainly no idea how complicated it can be, so I started incorporating the top cover into the process, displaying a little bit of the inside on the outside

This was originally a cane chair came that from a skip. It was in poor repair with heavy woodworm in the seat but not in the rest of the frame (I thought it was mahogany but I now think it's another hardwood, rose maybe?).

I cleaned, stripped and French polished the wood and inlay, removed the cane and started reupholstery.

It's stuffed with vegetable fibre and stitched up to the first stuffing stage.

To preserve the shape of the edge-roll and to give the chair its inside-out look, the top cover is then stitched directly into the seat (after a layer of felt and skin wadding to give the seat shape and finish).

I had actually expected a flat-weave fabric rather than twill (because I didn't read the entry form properly) so was concerned that it was too light to take the heavy stitches in twine, but it worked great - the herringbone weave helping to judge the stitch length as accurately as I could.

And so here it is, another 'inside out' chair - a concept that one journalist called 'the Richard Rogers school of upholstery' in reference to the architect’s famous placement of building services (lifts, ducts, pipes, etc) on the outside of his buildings. 

I'll take that as a compliment.

This chair will be touring with the Cambrian Wool Challenge Exhibition, stopping at Hay Festival, The London Welsh Centre, Llandovery Sheep Festival, Made by Hand Wales and Wonderwool Wales.