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.

The Irish Wall

Improvisations on the Theme of an Irish Wall, Wood Art Collaboration

The wall

In November 2012 I received an email from Terry Martin asking if I’d be interested in joining in a  collaborative event in Ireland next May/June to create a wall of wood inspired by the dry stone walls that dominate much of the Irish countryside.  It was to be an international event with approximately 10 Irish artists and 10 internationals from the United States,  Canada, Britain, France, China, Australia and New Zealand and the finished wall was to be exhibited as part of the Carlow Arts Festival.

I thought perhaps Terry had finally lost his mind, but an opportunity to visit Ireland, work with other woodworkers and possibly catch up with my good friend and basketmaker Anne Harrington-Rees seemed too good to pass up so I agreed to take part.

After hundreds of emails back and forth discussing how we might go about making this thing actually happen, we all turned up at Glenn Lucas’s studio with no real concrete ideas as to how to start, what it might look like or how it was all going to hold together but still be able to be transported to the VISUAL gallery in Carlow!

Despite the shaky start we all just got stuck in and in a miraculous spell of warm sunny weather we had an amazing, intense week of making new friends, renewing old ones, and pulling together to make an incredible wall that I think surprised us all.

It was exhibited at the VISUAL arts centre for Carlow Arts Festival in June – Sept 2013.  Made by 22 wood artists, carvers, furniture makers and turners at Glenn Lucas Woodturning Study Centre, Co Carlow and filmed by the International Wood Culture Society.

Liam Flynn, Cillian O’Suilleabhain, Emmet Kane, Glenn Lucas, Ambrose O’Halloran, Brid O’Halloran, John Lee, Alan Meredith, Liam O’Neill, Brendan Hogg, Adam Doran, Roger Bennet (Ireland)
Neil Turner, Terry Martin (Australia)
Art Leistman (Canada)
Mark Sanger, Louise Hibbert (UK)
Christian Delhon (France)
Sharon Doughtie, Michael Brolly, Jacques Vesery (USA)
Xiang Dong Wang (China)

Su Jin Ling, Jerry Chang, Dillon Lin, Mike Hou

Avocado and Walnut Mills

Photo of avocado and walnut mills

Avocado and walnut mills

I have been making mills for over 12 years. This set is one of my favorite color combinations, with the beautiful avacado color contrasting with the rich warm walnut.

The mills are 5 1/2″ tall. You can also order these mills in the taller 6 1/2″ height.

I turned and carved the bases of these mills out of English sycamore, a renewable timber readily available in the UK with a lovely pale translucent grain and often used in kitchenware. The texture of the carving makes it easy to grip, even with wet hands. The sycamore has been airbrushed with acrylic inks. The tops have been turned and wire brushed to give them a great satin texture. The brass knobs also have a soft brushed finish and a black or white resin dot to make identification easy. Both mills have a durable, food safe, environmentally friendly finish, that can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

Both mills features a durable ceramic fully adjustable grinding mechanism. The mechanism produces unmatched consistency in grind while requiring only a slight twist to produce a significant amount of fresh, aromatic pepper or salt. The ceramic mechanism also means that any possible salt corrosion is avoided.

These mills would be a beautiful addition to your dining table or kitchen. They also make a wonderful wedding gift.

You can purchase these mills from Lokimonkey on Etsy.

Blobby Bottle Stopper

Photo of Blobby Bottle Stoppers

Blobby Bottle Stoppers

Great as a gift with a bottle of wine, or to liven up your olive oil bottle, this bottle stopper is turned, airbrushed and ‘blobbed’ using the same techniques as my one-of-a-kind pieces.

They are made from English sycamore that is turned and then airbrushed with acrylic inks. They are ‘double blobbed’ with acrylic texture paste, that is individually applied by hand. They are finished with a non-toxic environmentally friendly oil and wax. The base of the stopper is a chrome plated cone with a rubber seal that fits a variety of bottle sizes. The entire length measures 4 1/4” long and 1” diameter at the largest point of the seal.

Each stopper comes wrapped in tissue with its own labeled black tube.

You can buy these Blobby Bottle Stoppers at Lokimonkey on Etsy.

Afzelia Africana

Photo of Afzelia Africana (Jewellery Pin in Frame)

Afzelia Africana (Jewellery Pin in Frame)

This is a pin from a series of jewelry pieces in frames, made in collaboration with English jeweler Sarah Parker-Eaton. You can appreciate the piece hanging on the wall and then take the pin out to wear it!

The whole series was created after reading an article in Mother Jones magazine about extinction. I have supported environmental causes for many years and I thought it was time to make work expressing my concern about the direction that the human race is going in with regard to its disregard to nature and the planet as a delicately balanced ecosystem.

This particular piece was inspired by the seed pod afzelia africana. The tree found in the heart of Africa, and useful for its medicinal properties is now classed as vulnerable on the IUCN threatened species list. The colours in the background reflect the rich warm colours of the African tundra and the writing is a quote from Chief Seattle made in 1855:

“Humankind has not woven the web of life, we are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together, all things connect”.

The piece is a pin in a frame of reclaimed pine. The main body of the pin is made from english sycamore – carved and airbrushed with the addition of gold leaf beneath each seed. The silver seeds on the pin and nameplate were hand fabricated and oxidised by Sarah. The frame was designed and put together by me.

It measures 230mm x 140mm x 30mm. The pin itself is 100mm long. It is signed on the back of the frame by both of us.

You can buy the Afzelia Africana Pin from Louise Hibbert on Etsy.