Monday, 28 November 2016

Mountain Bothy Mattress

A roll-up mattress now available to anyone getting caught in a storm at Llyn y Fan Fach.

It's made from a length of deckchair fabric I was kindly given by Liliwen Herbs.

It's quite a long way up

So I made one that can be rolled up

You know, for easy installation

 If you do use it, I suggest you go for this end of the bench near the fire

Bring your own sleeping bag though eh?

An antimaccasar for the 21st Century

I was asked to make some 'head cushions' for a couple of recent commissions to add confort and protect the backs of the chairs from greasy headed visitors. Here's one of them:

And here's a particularly daft photo of them on the studio floor:

They have weighted straps as a counterbalance so they don't slip and are quite ingenious. I was asked to make them based on this one by Robin Day/Margaret Howell, so a very 'modern' influence:

So they're nice and compliment the furniture well.

But it got me thinking about the Victorian equivalent, the antimacassar:

There's something genuinely funny about these I think. It seems to me they're deliberately at odds with the chair fabric to resolutely draw attention to how dirty we are. Like a big sign saying "LOOK - I'VE GOT GREASY HAIR." or maybe "I'M SO DIRTY I CANT EVEN SIT IN MY ARMCHAIR WITHOUT RUINING IT."

And they're always ghastly - a quick image search throws some truly astonishing horrors:


They're called antimacassar in opposition to the Macassar Oil popular among Victorians due to its excellent unguence. Byron apparently called it 'thine incomparable oil' and I can well imagine Victorian grandmothers getting very uptight when he came round and sat on their sofa.

Presumably by the 1950's Brylcreem had taken over and I can well imagine my own grandmother switching to her second grade antimacassars when my dad came round. Maybe they were known as 'antibrylcreemers' at this point.

In recent times we have been far less oily with our hairstyles (the Wet-Look interlude notwithstanding) so have been able to dispense with these chair horrors. But what with the rise in 'artisan barbering' or whatever it's called and these bearded, manicured, moustachioed types
harking back to all things 19th Century, you never know.

If they do come back into fashion, please make sure you have smart, neat ones like the ones I have made above and I'll be very happy to make them for you. Ask for one in a contrasting fabric or different accent colour and, well, I'll kill you.

Be warned.

Oak Dining Chairs

Set of six oak dining chairs reupholstered in Bute Ramshead fabric.

It's not easy to photograph six dining chairs so here's some artistic shots to give you the general idea.

Maybe you'll want to do yours up now..?
This was a commission.

Edwardian tub chair in Bute tweed

An Edwardian tub chair reupholstered in 100% wool tweed by Bute Fabrics.

Edwardian furniture is often referred to as 'elegant', probably because it tends towards finer and taller legs. Also you often get these sharply angled legs with squared-off castors that are a clear departure from their Victorian lathe turned predecessors. But whichever way you look at it, and regardless of age, the tub chair is irrevocably Victorian; its rolled curves and horseshoe shape resembling its namesake - the Victorian bath.

And this one is no exception, particularly the rolled edge on the extended back - it could be a perfect slice of bathtub.

But from the back it might be some sort of Pokemon, don't you think? And of course Pokemon are entirely Edwardian...

This was a commission.

Wingback armchair in Bute tweed

A very large wingback armchair reupholstered in terrific Bute tweed

The tweed range from Bute Fabrics is so good it just transforms any piece of furniture. You won't see anything like this in the shops anywhere. You might see some already dated-looking  plaid, check or other types of wool for quite cheapo prices but you won't find anything like this.

Over 100 years old and likely to last another few hundred.

Beat that DFS.

This was a commission.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Bus Stop Chair near Lampeter

Here's a chair you can relax in if you're heading up to Lampeter on the A482 by bus.

All the bus stop chairs I make are a bit experimental, the whole thing is a way of a trying out daft ideas to see if they work. If they do, good, and maybe I can show someone a picture of what they might do with their chair. And if it's bad I just put it in a bus stop anyway and I don't have it hanging around like a bad smell. This chair came from the recycling centre and was in pretty good nick so I just tried some random buttoning on it. I was thinking it'd be most sophisticated.

But it just looked daft.

Random buttoning is probably a perfectly good idea but doing it after the pub can lead to over-excited button placement. Be warned.

Perfectly ok for lounging in while waiting the bus though eh?

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Pair of Edwardian side chairs in Welsh wool

Pair of Edwardian side chairs reupholstered in Melin Tregwynt Halo Ash 100% wool.

Decided to use spaced upholstery nails to finish rather than piping as the pattern is so strong - this worked out nicely as the 'halos' and spots are spaced ideally for the nails to fit between.


I think the word we're looking for is elegant, what what?

This was a commission.

Victorian armchair in Bute tweed

Lovely Victorian armchair reupholstered in Bute tweed.

Check out the show-wood detail on the arms

Very tasty.

This was a commission.

Pair of 1920's armchairs

A pair of 1920's armchairs with cushions in Melin Tregwynt wool.

I try not to deal with leather furniture if I can avoid it as I don't use a walking-foot sewing machine which is essential for a quality job. Luckily I know a man who does. Dave lives just a few miles from me and is a car trimmer and leather upholstery specialist and also a jolly nice chap, so we have a bit of a deal where I refer leather work to him and he refers fabric reupholstery to me. It's a great arrangement and means that we often have to meet up to pick projects up from one another, which wherever possible, is done in a pub car park so we can squeeze in a couple of pints.

This project was a proper collaboration where I referred the customer to Dave, he restored the chair backs, replaced the arms with new leather, used the original leather from the arms to make new facings and then passed the chairs on to me to make new cushions and covers in the Melin Tregwynt fabric chosen by the customer.

Teamwork see, it's the way forward, you should try it.

This was a commission.

Nice little footstool

A footstool I fished out of a skip at the recycling centre now covered in fabulous Bute tweed.

You can have this for just £40 if you come to my showroom to pick it up,