West Dean College 20-22nd June

West Dean College Craft and Design Fair featuring MADE

I will be shortly exhibiting at a new craft fair taking place at the beautiful West Dean College in West Sussex on the 20th-22nd June – the West Dean Design and Craft Fair 2014, being run by the team that organise the high quality London and Brighton Made shows that I have exhibited at before so it should be great!

You can find out more information at the following link:

<https://www.westdean.org.uk/Events/Outdoorevents/DesignandCraftFair.aspx>

And get a great 2for1 offer here –  2 tickets for the price of 1 using the code MADE241 until 12th June.

The West Dean Design and Craft Fair will feature around 85 innovative makers and designers who will show and sell their work to the public. Alongside the Fair, visitors can enjoy hands-on taster workshops and demonstrations in contemporary art and craft run by the College.

They are running this event in collaboration with the team behind the highly successful MADE London, MADE Brighton and the Brighton Art Fair. They’ll call on their experience to bring together an eclectic mix of talented exhibitors for your enjoyment.

Ticket price includes entry to the award-winning West Dean Gardens and plenty of delicious food and drink options will ensure visitors don’t go hungry! 

The show times are:

20-22nd June 2014 – Friday Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 5pm

You can purchase tickets in advance for £7.50 and £8.50 on the door which is great value as the normal entrance fee to the gardens is £8.10!

The China Experience – part 1

Harmony Project Video – another great video by Dillon, Gerry and Neo of the International Wood Culture Society

Back from China after what felt like a long month!  It was certainly an interesting experience and somewhat difficult to put into words in many ways.  The Chinese culture is so very different to our own that it was often difficult to comprehend the people there, and not be horribly frustrated with how they do things, especially with the addition of the huge language barrier.  I’m sure it was just as hard for them too!

As Douglas Adams said “for most of the time we found China baffling, and exasperating and perpetually opaque”. This was in 1988.  He also said “by the end of our stay in China I had learnt to accept that if you are driving along a two lane road behind another car or truck, and there are two vehicles speeding towards you, one of which is overtaking the other, the immediate response of your driver will be to also pull out and overtake.  Somehow, magically it all works out in the end”.  It seems that in over 25 years nothing much has changed (including the spitting and dreadful music) except the roads have got wider!

We spent the first couple of weeks in Dong Xiang at a factory that made intricate carved furniture and carved wooden statues.  The factory was within an Art Village that was under construction.  We stayed at a hotel about 20 minutes drive away – not knowing what to expect we were very pleased to have our own large en suite rooms!

During that time I met and worked with the other members of the international group that had been invited for this particular part of the trip- Jacques Vesery, USA, John Van Der Kolk, Australia, Lyonel Grant, New Zealand, Cillian O’Suilleabhain, Ireland, Zina Burloiu, Romania, Lorenz Demetz, Italy, Emmanuel Vuchi, Cameroon,  Yohanna , Tanzania and Terry Martin, Australia (who had invited a number of us) and Adam Doran from Ireland who was spending some time working with Terry and got included as Terry’s ‘assistant’ for the trip, plus the other ten Chinese carvers who would be working with us.

We started by making a jigsaw type piece – the idea of Lyonel – to help break the ice, with each of us carving a section in our own style. However it soon became clear that without any professional interpreters it would be impossible to work closely with the Chinese and discuss ideas for the main project.  This was very disappointing as it would have been fascinating to see how their thought processes differed from ours and I thought a large part of why we were there – to collaborate and learn from each other.  We compromised by splitting into two groups with the internationals making a massive arch out of camphor for the Chinese to carve, and the Chinese to making us a large gate out of ancient timber to work on.   It was a huge task to undertake, particularly as we had ceremonies and communist dinners to attend…and no flexibility with our working hours, unlike in Ireland where we were able to come and go as we wished.  Thankfully the workers at the factory were very competent and an incredible help, and despite the language barriers within our own group we were pretty happy and proud of the result!

 

My squid

My squid

 

 

Heading to China!

Its now only a few days before I start my journey to China to take part in the next international collaborative project, that began with the Improvisations on the Theme of an Irish Wall.  Terry Martin, with his great connections has managed to instigate another project, this time based in China – ‘Carving the Way to Harmony: International Wood Carvers Create a Collaborative Masterpiece’, with ten international woodworkers and ten Chinese carvers (we think!).  Of our original group in Ireland, Jacques Versery, Cillian O’Suilleabhain and I will be going.  I will be in China from the 5th – 29th March,

So far we have discovered that we probably won’t know exactly what’s going to happen and who’s taking part until we get there.  Below are a couple of images of the venue we think we will be working at.  But I’m sure it will be an amazing experience to have a chance to participate in!

IMG_2097

The Wall Moves to the Airport in February 2014

After sitting in storage for a while the Irish Wall has made it to its new home at Dublin Airport!
It took a some TLC from Cillian O’Suilleabhain to tweak it back into shape as the wood that we used had been quite wet when the project was started and had shrunk a fair amount. But it’s now looking good again and getting seen by passers-by at the airport.

I’m looking forward to seeing it again myself when I pass through on Monday on my way to China. A great way to prepare for the next crazy ‘Wall’ project!

The Wall at Dublin Airport!

Christmas is coming…

orders

It’s amazing how Christmas seems to suddenly sneak up on you! I am now working every hour I can to complete all of the mill orders I have had from the two London shows and my Etsy shop before the last posting date.  It’s taken me a bit longer to get started too as Stile and Bates didn’t have any more 3″ walnut in stock so I had to search the country for a good plank of European walnut and ended up having to drive east of Brimingham to Sykes Timber.  Really nice helpful chaps though so it was just about worth the 7 hours in the car !

mill blanks

Handmade in Britain

show a 13

The final touches before opening to the public

Thanks to everyone who came to Handmade in Britain!

I had another great show – my first time doing Handmade – and I was filled with  nostalgia at being back at Chelsea Old Town Hall…particularly being next to my friend and collaborator Sarah Parker-Eaton who I met there many years ago.

It’s always lovely to be out of the workshop and meeting new and old friends who are normally spread out over the whole country.

I also did well enough to treat myself to one of Mizuyo Yamashita’s beautiful bowls!

 

 

show c 13show d 13show b 13

HandmadeinBritaineflyerFor the first time in many years I will be exhibiting at a fair with my good friend and collaborative partner Sarah Parker-Eaton!  We will both be at Handmade in Britain this year – stands 27 and 28 from the 8th – 10th November 2013.

Find out more details at Handmade in Britain.

This year will be Handmade in Britain’s seventh at Chelsea Old Town Hall and once again, their annual showcase will begin the Christmas season with exceptional craft and design from over 90 designer-makers.  This year’s show will feature exhibitors in all disciplines including furniture, jewellery, textiles, ceramics and glass – all with a focus on absolute quality and craftsmanship – whose work is available to purchase or commission directly from the maker.

Alongside our established makers, this year we are very excited to launch our New Graduate Showcase, a celebration of new talent in a dedicated gallery at the heart of Handmade in Britain 13.

MADE London

Setting up at MadeLondon 2013

Setting up at MadeLondon 2013

Many thanks to all that came to visit my stand at MadeLondon this year!  I had a really great show, with even more sales than last year. It was also exciting to be showing the new furniture designs for the first time with my collaborator Cillean O’Suilleabhain.  It’s always good to finally see it out from the dusty workshop and on display.

made 13 b         made 13 d        made 13 c

MADE LONDON October 2013

building

Sir John Sloane Church, One Marylebone

Its not long now before I will be exhibiting at MADE LONDON, the Design and Craft Fair, 25th-27th October 2013. Further details are available from the Made London website.

MADE LONDON was held for the first time in October last year to great acclaim from visitors and exhibitors. They aimed to present an enjoyable event showcasing the very best and most original makers in this country and beyond exhibiting the highest quality contemporary craft and design. Visitors to their first show were bowled over by the variety, high quality and originality of the craft and design work on show; loved exploring each four levels of the dramatic and beautiful building and loved the relaxed and friendly atmosphere of the show.

MADE LONDON takes place at One Marylebone, using all 4 floors of this stunning Sir John Soane Church in central London. Directly opposite Great Portland Street tube station and next door to Regents Park. There will be a cafe serving drinks and light meals in the double height crypt.

 

 

New furniture with Cillian O’Suilleabhain

2013-09-08 17.30.06

Mock up for large cabinet

My latest project is a collaboration with Irish furniture maker Cillian O’Suilleabhain.  We met in June during the Irish wall project, got on really well and decided it would be an exciting new venture to work together on some furniture pieces.  The challenge was how to combine my finely detailed, organic work with the minimal geometric aesthetic of his furniture.

It’s taken a lot of experimentation, tests, and discussion but we are very happy with the results so far and are looking forward to showing them at the two London shows coming up soon.