Sunday 29 August 2010

Stock Gaylard Oak Fair 2010

It all came together beautifully! After a superb bright red sunset and a night of showers on Friday, Saturday dawned bright and blue. This was the view from Bernard's ramp on Friday evening.

The long avenue of oak trees looked stunning in the late Summer sunshine, not a breath of wind moved the branches. At 10 o'clock the visitors streamed in, the oak avenue and the surrounding fields soon filled with people. There was a lot to see. The fair was bursting with inspiring craftspeople and artists.

Opposite us was a man who had made the most beautiful "rocking creatures" for children - an elephant and a rhino, they attracted a great deal of attention and quite rightly so!

We only managed to weave seats onto a couple of footstools, (we were a bit busy) but this was one of them.

It's made from hazel coppiced in our garden five years ago and now has a green rush seat with beige chevrons.

We also met a couple of fellow bloggers, it was lovely to finally meet people face to face that in some ways you feel you already know a little. A great day all round, except when we came to leave.....Bernard wouldn't start, he had a flat battery. Luckily we were parked on a hill and it took seven of us to push him down the slope to bump start the engine!! The trouble with old trucks........

Friday 27 August 2010

The workshop saga continues

It's raining and it's been raining now solidy for three days. On Monday the footings were dug out for the new workshop walls and I jokingly quipped to our youngest son, "how do you like the new swimming pool....." Ha, ha, guess what, you have to be very careful what you wish for - we now have a swimming pool 28 feet long by two feet wide! The rain is due to dry up for a few hours this afternoon so fingers crossed we will be able to do the final bit of digging to get the holes to the right depth.

However, if it rains again overnight, (as is forecast) then we shall have to cancel the inspector's visit tomorrow, because he won't be able to see the bottom of the holes.

Meanwhile we are getting ready for Stock Gaylard Oak Fair on Saturday, not the easiest thing to do in this weather, BUT the BBC have predicted that it will be a glorious day on Saturday. (Please let it be true).

Sunday 22 August 2010

I'd almost forgotten...

It's that time of the year again. Normally we would be organising ourselves for more than a week of constant events starting at the Bank Holiday Weekend, but this year we only need to be prepared for one day. I feel sad, but relieved that this year we will not be going to the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

A chapter has closed. After 13 years at the GDSF, we won't be there. Looking back the show has changed so much. The first year we had a little battery operated radio for entertainment in our caravan. We would turn it on first thing in the morning to hear the news and weather. On Sunday, the last day of the show, the radio was playing morbid music and the presenter was saying..."she will be missed so much....the Royal Family are in mourning." We automatically thought that the Queen Mother had died, but that was wrong, it was Diana, Princess of Wales and little by little the details of her tragic car accident emerged. The enormous Steam Fair site was silenced. There are anything up to 25,000 people permanently on site during the show - it was the only time I have ever witnessed shock on such a grand scale. People were literally wandering around muttering to themselves in sheer disbelief.

Since that first year we have made loads of friends - we've watched ourselves growing older and seen the businesses progress. Our children are now all adults and every year we'd swap stories of the past twelve months, bringing each other up to date. There was the "GDSF Dining and Drinking Society Evening" on Thursday. Six or seven of us would prepare food, music and drinks for about 25-30 people, we always had a theme, last year it was "Beige", so everyone had to come wearing beige and all of the food and drink was beige. In previous years we have even insisted on full dress suits for the men and ball gowns for the ladies, we have had a Christmas party, complete with tree, cake and lights - all of this in a field!! I shall miss that camaraderie this year and also our annual trip to the folk music tent on Friday to watch "Lady Winwoods Maggot" a local band.

But I won't miss the mud bath or dust bowl the site becomes, the plastic tardis chemical toilets, the worry of theft/damage/harassment, or the long days and tiredness that takes at least a week to overcome. Then there are the hundreds of phone messages and e-mails to answer back in the office on Monday.

And all the cleaning afterwards....

So we're sorry to everyone that was expecting that we would be there as normal this year. I hope that no-one will go looking for us clutching their footstool frame in the hope that we can fix it for them. If you were hoping to see us then please give us a call, or pop over to the Oak Fair at Stock Gaylard on Saturday before the Bank Holiday instead if you can.

Lady Winwoods Maggot sum it up for us here singing "Time of Your Life" - it's time to move on.


Great Dorset Steam Fair

Thursday 19 August 2010

A Thing of Beauty

Stage one of next weeks target finished, chair frame restored and one close cane panel completed.

As I was working on this little child sized chair I started thinking about who might have bought such exquisitely delicate and no doubt expensive things for their children. The hand made frame is cherry wood and the seat weave one of the most time consuming and expensive to weave. Whoever commissioned the pair must have been very wealthy. Perhaps people saw things differently then compared with the view today in our "throwaway society". To quote John Keats:

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Maybe the folks who cared so much for their children that they were prepared to spend so much on these lovely little chairs knew that they were giving their heirs "A Thing of Beauty".

I hope so.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Baskets, Danish Cord and a Hat

Busy week. Still no workshop and as a result, bedlam everywhere else around the place.

With less than two weeks until our next event - the Oak Fair at Stock Gaylard - we have been working hard not just on clients furniture, but also on some interesting bits and pieces for the demonstration. A few experiments were called for, like a "Paper Hat"! One of our friends called it a "Paper Pith Helmet", perhaps he should be an "ex" friend! Also some splint basketry, just for a change.

We are still overrun with Danish chairs, (which is a good thing). This time double rail Wegner designed teak and beech dining chairs.

The target for the middle of next week is to finish at least two close woven cane chairs, weave two arms of a bergere armchair, do some more basketweaving, finish the metamorphic desk restoration and reseat six standard single rail Danish chairs. You can't judge failure or success unless you have a target!

Monday 9 August 2010

Oak Danish chairs with black cord seats

No more progress on the workshop - yet......But despite the lack of space, we did manage to finish the set of eight Danish chairs. This set are a little bit different for us, partly because they made out of oak not the usual teak and our client wanted the seats re-woven using black Danish cord. They look stunning. The contrast between the pale wood and the black seats is striking, it makes it even harder to believe that these chairs are getting on for 40 years old, they look so modern.

Just imagine a full set of these around the table - very chic!

Another basket is finished, this time I got carried away with a seaside/ship theme.

Something a bit different, I've really enjoyed making this one.

Thursday 5 August 2010

The Workshop Saga

There's nothing left, all that remains is rubble. Whilst we were at the Game Fair the last wall was demolished and because the studio was attached to this final wall we came back to find everything we had so carefully aranged in there had been moved. So, we reorganised it AGAIN! By Monday of this week we needed our steamer kettle thingy. It was eventually found after much searching - it was broken, apparently a casualty of the demolition. Wednesday afternoon was taken up sourcing a replacement. Hey ho!

Some progress is being made, a set of eight Moller chairs are almost finished and I've been basketmaking again....

It's a log basket, only because it is made out of a log and basketwoven!