Tuesday 29 June 2010

An empty workshop

It took us virtually all weekend, but the garage and workshop are empty. The studio is now overflowing with surplus furniture, things that we couldn't bear to put out of the way and into storage at the yard.

It's amazing what you find when you're clearing out, stuff we'd completely forgotten about. We found some terrific bits and pieces buried under mountains of other stuff. A great 1950's floor standing anglepoise lamp, several pretty cane and rush chairs, but best of all this chair that we bought at auction in 2006!

It is a design by Ernest Gimson from 1902 called the "Pass" chair. I just love it. Every part of it shows the marks of hand working. Look at the pressure marks where the back legs were steam bent and shaped:

And the tool marks on the back of the splats:

Can't wait to start work on it now, rediscovering it was like meeting an old friend after a 10 year break! There are more photos posted on our photostream at:


Thursday 24 June 2010

Clearing the workshop

The day is dawning.........the workshop demolition starts on the 3rd July! This weekend everything must be emptied ready for the disc cutters and sledgehammers to move in.

Because of the shows we have quite a few jobs nearly but not quite finished, so the main task has been to get on with the job and get as much of our client work done and sent home as we can. Today I sealed eight rush seats that we finished weaving just before the Three Counties Show.

Tomorrow I'll be trying to get on with one of a pair of childrens chairs that was started at the shows. They will take a very long time because they are being fully restored and have "close woven" diamond design seats.

This photo was taken at the weekend just after stripping out the old seat, but before cleaning and re-gluing. At least they are tiny little chairs that don't take up a lot of space!

Tuesday 22 June 2010

The Three Counties Show

We're home again! Bernard is running so much better now, the trip to Malvern for the show was a dream. Trouble is he is running so well that he doesn't want to go slowly. At 50mph he thunders along happily, but at 20-30mph he judders and spits, there's always a challenge with an old truck!!

The Three Counties Show was beautifully organised as ever. Fabulous scenery and first rate entertainment for the visitors. Jive-Pony did their breathtaking acrobatics on horseback, (website here) Adams Axemen demonstrated their lumberjack skills (website here), birds of prey flew for their handlers and hunting dogs showed off their abilities to retrieve - all of this was in just one of the arenas!

The Malvern hills are just beautiful, here is a photo taken from the truck on the way to the show:

And here is a hang glider/parachutist riding the thermals over the peaks:

There are lots of tempting things at the show..........a man can dream can't he?

But for me the best part of the whole show is..........................

The livestock! Especially the pigs.

Monday 14 June 2010

Getting ready for the Three Counties Show

Dorset Art Weeks at Stewarts Garden Centre was a great success. The weather was fine for both weekends, not a drop of rain so we were able to work out in the open air. It was lovely to meet and chat with all of the other crafters, artists and designers too. Nina with her super animal portraits - I loved her pigs! Then Tiggy's stitchery with the rich colours of India, I bought some great beads from her to use in a basket.

So now onto the next...... The Three Counties Show is held at the Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire from this Friday until Sunday. It is a stunning location nestling in the Malvern hills, but it's a long way to travel from Dorset. Today our friend Phil has had a look at Bernard and changed his leads and plugs - as a result the tinkling noise from the engine has miraculously disappeared and he seems at bit more powerful! Hopefully we will be able to get to Worcestershire a bit quicker this time than the last and on less fuel. We've spent most of the day cleaning out and preparing the inside for the weekend so that I can get back into the workshop for at least two days to finish off some more work before we have to leave again. I'm desperate to make some more baskets!

This is us at Malvern 5 years ago!

Monday 7 June 2010

Dorset Art Weeks

Dorset Art Weeks is an event held every other year at a number of venues throughout the county. Artists and makers invite the visiting public into their workshops during a two week period to experience at first hand what daily life and work is like for the artistic community. This year the lovely Rebecca from Stewarts Garden Centre invited us to join a band of other local artists to participate in an "open workshop" at the centre, we agreed of course!

The event started last weekend, but we had committed to demonstrating at Sherborne Castle Country Fair on Monday, so unfortunately we were unable to be there for the launch. However, on Thursday evening Rebecca organised a "Meet the Artist" evening complete with music, nibbles and refreshments, so we took Bernard along and set up a small display outside the front doors of the centre. The guests arrived - there was a lot to look at and talk about, all of the skilled craftspeople - potters, textile artists, furniture makers, fine artists, sculptors and stained glass creators sat alongside their work willingly discussing the techniques involved. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves basking in the wonderful evening sunshine.

This weekend we were at the centre again offering demonstrations of weaving, we got a lot done! Here's one little childs chair that I managed to finish on Saturday that was photographed in one of the centres planted borders.

We'll be there again next weekend if you fancy popping along!

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Sherborne Castle Country Fair

Despite an incredibly cold Sunday night, Bank Holiday Monday turned out to be a perfect day for visitors to the event. Although it was overcast most of the day, it remained dry and sometimes was quite warm. The show is held in front of Sherborne Castle built by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Within the grounds there are the remains of the old castle and a large lake where dragon boat races were held during the show. One of the resident ducks and her drake must have found the whole business quite disturbing because they came to visit us, then settled themselves comfortably behind our stand for hours tamely quacking away at our feet expecting us to feed them!

The people flooded through the gates all day which is great news as all of the shows proceeds go to charity. Everyone had a good time, the children obviously loved the play areas, animals, circus and Punch & Judy shows, whilst the adults could wander around the food halls, craft areas, displays and grounds at their leisure. A lovely day.

And here is Bernard in all his glory - finished at last!! (for now....but there's this "tinkling" noise coming from the engine....)

Bernards ready for another Summer!

It's the story of our lives......another job that took so much longer than we expected, but Bernard is finally looking very dapper.........and not a moment too soon. Last week saw the final blasting and sanding of the mahogany followed by bleaching and washing

We were still re-oiling the woodwork, cleaning the interior and polishing the cab on Sunday morning, just before we packed all of our food, clothes and exhibition needs! Originally the plan was to be "on the road" to Sherborne Castle by 3pm, but it was after 5.30pm when we left. We arrived at the venue at 6.30pm and were set up for the show by 8.30pm. By 9.30pm we had eaten dinner, listened to our wind-up radio for a while, then fell into bed exhausted by 10.30pm. We both woke at around 4.00am feeling intensely cold and then at 5.30am we woke again to the sounds of exhibitors arriving early to set up! Needless to say we didn't get much sleep overall. The show started at 10.00am and ended at 6.00pm. It was a very busy weekend indeed - as can be seen in our baggy eyes today. To see what Bernard looks like now, see our next post about the Sherborne Castle Country Fair.

I have loads of film of the whole restoration this year, so when I get the time I will post some of it on You Tube.