Blog

Blog

Tambour doors demonstration with Maria Gomez

Tambour_blog.png

Tambour doors demonstration with Maria Gomez

Tambour doors -  you might have commonly seen them on a bread box or perhaps a writing desk – they are usually employed wherever regular doors are too large or awkward, opening without having to swing out like a regular door (or as a design feature).

Designing and making a tambour is really enjoyable. Tambour introduces an aspect of interactive fun to your design, inviting users to play with opening and closing the doors by running the tambour along its track. Tambour doors are also popular on cabinets for the reason that you can reach the entire contents of the cabinet without having to open many doors.

This week, our tutor Maria Gomez has been demonstrating how to make them. 

Just a few months ago, Maria made the commission pictured above. The Air Cabinet was a bespoke commission for a 40th birthday present that honoured the client’s wife’s career as an air hostess and included the importance of family life. The cabinet was based on the shape of a section of aeroplane wing, with 40 brass inlays, 2 aluminium and one white resin inlay to represent the birthday and their family. This stunning commission featured a wraparound tambour door.

Maria’s demonstration explored the planning and construction behind incorporating tambour doors into a project – covering the production of the slats, backing and the rail for the tambour. Maria talked about the importance of building a model to help with the sizing of the slats, and to check the right fit by running mock slats through the groove.

Maria’s commission also featured quite a tight C-curve on the ‘wing tip’ shape of the cabinet, and as such Maria was also able to share her making secrets with the students on how to design tambour that could give a very tight turn.

It was a really interesting demonstration and got some of our students thinking. 

Tambour has been making a comeback in recent years and there are some really exciting companies out there producing  furniture of exceptional quality and design incoporating this technique.

A homage to Sam Maloof: Henry's Olive Ash Rocking Chair

Henry's Chair.jpg

A homage to Sam Maloof: Henry's Olive Ash Rocking Chair

A Homage to Sam Maloof, Henry's Olive Ash Rocking Chair.

Some students come to course wanting to make furniture only of their own design. While other students are happy to make furniture inspired by other makers for what it will teach them in terms of process and technique. Some students choose to do both.

Student, Henry Baltesz chose to make a Sam Maloof inspired rocking chair as his final project on our full time furniture designer maker course. As you can see from the images of Henry's chair above, the result was absolutely spectacular.

Sam Maloof is acknowledged as one of the finest woodworkers of our time and a leader of the California modern arts movement until his death in 2009. You can read more about Sam Maloof here: http://www.malooffoundation.org/about

This style of rocking chair is one of the most popular styles that Sam Maloof made and Maloof’s rocking chairs were highly esteemed by two presidents – Reagan and Carter. Maloof made his rocking chairs most often in walnut, but here, Henry has made it in a beautiful Olive Ash with some Walnut detail on the rails.

While making the chair, Henry's project also inspired our American student (Maurice) to visit Sam Maloof’s house while he was back in the States. You can see more of Sam Maloof’s incredible house here http://www.malooffoundation.org/visit. Sam’s home was hand built by Sam and his assistants over 40 years. It is an exceptional finely crafted wooden house, with hand crafted details right down to the door latches and hinges. The house is situated in Alta Loma, California.

Getting back to Maloof inspired rocking chairs….

We do encourage our students to have a go at making a chair, as chairs are one of the more challenging items for aspiring furniture makers to produce.

A Sam Maloof inspired rocking chair is quite high on the spectrum of challenging chairs to make, and as such, I think Henry felt this was a good project in terms of the amount that he learnt from it. It was also a project that allowed quite a lot of freedom in terms of the shaping, much of which Henry shaped by eye.

It’s a very successful final project, and importantly, we’ve all tried the chair for comfort! We are tough critics, but we can safely say it’s one of the comfiest chairs we’ve ever sat in. We are just sad that we can’t keep it for ourselves!

Why not head over to our Instagram page to see more images and footage of Henry making the Sam Maloof inspired rocker?

Where can I stay on my course?

Willett.PNG

Where can I stay on my course?

Where can I stay on my course?

Whether you are coming here for a weekend, week, bespoke length or year long course, where you will live is a big question.

Each students needs differ immensely! We've had students that have struck  deals with local farmers to live cheaply in caravans without electricity, surviving on campfire food and showers at the local gym (probably our most extreme example!), students that have embraced rural life and found comfortable lodgings at the local farmhouses and numerous holiday lets in the area, or town houses in Taunton.

Most students find some absolute gems of reasonably priced accommodation. Maurice, our American student is staying at a beautiful cottage self contained annex, where the owners bake him fresh bread through the week. (what more could you ask for!)

We also have links with several accommodation providers around the area, especially the farmhouses in Willett. Many of our students have lodged with Anne, who owns the beautiful farmhouse directly opposite the workshop - Willett Farm

In a short leap and a bound, our students living at Willett farm can finish breakfast and be in the workshop in less than 5 minutes. Anne's cleaners have also offered to take on the ironing of students staying at Willett farm- not many places will offer that!

So do feel free to ask us about accommodation in the local area and we will always do our very best to assist you in finding the perfect place. We also have a list of local bnb's that we recommend if you are coming for a short course or weekend woodworking course.

 

Byron and Gomez awarded a Design Guild Mark by The Furniture Maker' Company

BenchmarkAphelionConsoledesignedbyByron&GomezEbonised1750.jpg

Byron and Gomez awarded a Design Guild Mark by The Furniture Makers' Company

Byron and Gomez awarded a Design Guild Mark by The Furniture Maker's Company

We would like to celebrate Charles Byron and Maria Gomez' recent success in being awarded a Design Guild Mark for their Aphelion Console Table.

Maria and Charlie completed our full time furniture designer course, and since finishing, have built a highly respected and successful bespoke furniture business in the Williams and Cleal incubation workshop.

Byron and Gomez worked with Benchmark in 2017 on the Aphelion Console Table, a design aimed at volume production. 

I don't need to write much more about it here - as the Furniture Makers Company have a beautifully written blog and interview with Maria about the table; and her career to date.

The article is well worth a read. Visit the link below to read it for yourself.

http://www.furnituremakers.org.uk/news/design-guild-mark-discussions-with-maria-gomez/

£50 Project Time

50_project.png

£50 Project Time!

 

At my desk in the design office, I'm fortunate to have the advantage of listening into Jane Cleal's theory sessions with the students.

One of my favourite challenges Jane sets the students is the £50 project.

The brief is to design an item that can be replicated 20 times in 20 hours. Each item should aim to achieve £50 from a buyer.

It is an exercise in designing for simplicity and batch production, market research in terms of what a buyer would consider worthy of a £50 price tag and whether the item should best appeal to need or aesthetics, and budgeting and costing.

At the end of the project, the other students each vote on whether they think a buyer would pay £50 for the items designed.

It is so much trickier than it sounds, but I'm always impressed with the ideas that come up - and I of course  like to join in with the end votes! 

We've had cake stands, book rests and spectacle stores, mud kitchens, guitar stands - all sorts!

Ben, Toby and Mark are pictured here with numerous ideas in their sketch books. I can't wait to see what they have come up with.

Congratulations to Wilma and Henry for Securing Jobs at Artichoke Ltd.

Jobs for Henry and Wilma at Artichoke

wilma.jpg

 

Congratulations to students Wilma and Henry for securing jobs with Artichoke Ltd

Today, our student, Wilma Wyatt starts her new job at Cheddar based fine bespoke furniture and interiors company - Artichoke Ltd.

Our student, Henry still has another month of his course to finish, but will join Wilma at Artichoke in May.

For those students who would like to pursue a route to employment, we will give you  support in finding the role and employer that is right for you.

Not all students will know exactly what they want to do, or where they might like to work when they first begin the course, but that is something we will help you research and explore in your time here.

We'll use our knowledge of South West and UK based bespoke furniture companies to suggest furniture companies and workshops that might be of interest to you.

We will also advise you on what workshop managers will be looking for in a CV, application and interview - or what to expect from a trade test. You can read more about what workshop managers look for in a cabinetmakers cv in our previous blog (about 13 posts down!)

When Wilma began at Williams and Cleal, she had no previous woodworking experience and she leaves the course at a competant designer/maker. We couldn't be more proud of her for securing a job with Artichoke and we wish her all the best for her future.

Trip to Vastern's Timber Yard

Vastern's Timber.jpg

Trip to Vastern's Timber Yard

 

Throughout the year, we like to take our students offsite on trips that will enrich their learning and understanding of timber, materials, cabinetmaking and the bespoke furniture industry.

A particular favourite is a trip to Vastern Timber in Wiltshire, the countries largest and most established hardwood sawmill.

Vastern's Timber is a family business, owned and run by three members of the Barnes family; Peter, Jon and Tom. Yesterday, Tom Barnes took time out of his day to show our students around Vasterns and to share his incredible and detailed understanding and knowledge of timber with us. We always look forward to a visit to Vastern's, as the information that we learn there is always incredibly interesting and valuable to us in terms of understanding and selecting the best wood as furniture makers.

Vastern's timber have four log-converting bandmills, computer controlled drying kilns and well equipped machining faciliities; which enables Vasterns to process both hardwoods and softwoods and they  cut and process their own logs. This means that they can offer a range of species, grades and specifications that may not be available at other merchants.

A trip to Vasterns is also a great opportunity for our students to stock up on materials for their upcoming projects. Henry had the opportunity to select and check several boards of Olive Ash for his Sam Maloof inspired rocking chair -  and came back to the workshop with a car load of beautiful timber to get started on.

For more information on other trips that we run to compliment learning on our Furniture Designer Maker Year long course - please feel free to contact the office for an informal chat.

Applying Gold Leaf in Furniture Making

Tim.jpg

Applying Gold Leaf in Furniture Making

Of all the optional set projects on our courses, a particular favourite is box making. Why?

Well because this project, is one of the earliest opportunities for newer students to flex their design skills. This project not only brings together essential basic skills like measuring, cutting, dovetails, interpreting drawings, choosing materials and veneer -  but it also offers the student  design freedom with regards to veneer cutting and marquetry on the box lid.

Students take inspiration from a number of sources. We’ve had Viking inspired symbology, designs in the style of Banksy, Orla Kiely inspired repeating patterns and a whole host of contemporary and more traditional box lid designs.

In addition to the marquetry on the box, students are encouraged to explore a range of finishes and detail. For our student Tim, the technique of applying gold leaf in furniture making was something that he was keen to explore.

Guest tutor, Maria Del Mar Gomez of Byron and Gomez, came into the furniture school to demonstrate the technique of applying gold leaf to wood. Within her business, Maria produces many pieces that feature the application of gold leaf, and she had much experience and advice to share with our furniture students on the subject.

Although a seemingly straightforward process, it has a number of nail biting moments – such as when an unexpected breeze in the workshop catches the gold leaf foil…. just as you are about to place it onto the adhesive!

Maria taught our furniture students best practice in Gold Leafing, from application through to burnishing and sealing. Then it was Tim’s turn to have a go (pictured!). Gold leaf was the perfect choice to compliment the rich tones of Tim’s sunburst veneered box lid.

Box making is an optional set project on our 40 week Fine Furniture Making course -  but did you know that you could also opt to make it on our bespoke furniture programmes?

Depending on how complex you want your box design to be and your making speed, it could be achieved on a 5 – 6 week bespoke course.

Interested? Give us a call  to find out more -  or contact us here.

What will your box lid design be? 

Tick Tock...designing the Grandfather Clock

Grandfather clock.jpg

Tick Tock...designing the Grandfather Clock

 

The Grandfather Clock.

A piece that is arguably described by some woodworking publications - as the ultimate project -  on account of the advanced cabinetmaking skills that can be involved in the making process.

Also known as the longcase clock, or tall pendulum clock, the name ‘Grandfather clock’ was adopted after the well-known song ‘Grandfather’s Clock’ written in 1876 by Henry Clay Work.  

“My grandfather’s clock

Was too large for the shelf,

So it stood ninety years on the floor.”

Fitting to the namesake of the song’s writer, our student Henry, happens to be in the early stages of planning his very own design/make of a Grandfather clock.

Henry has been inspired to make this piece by his own grandfather’s love of the longcase clock and the numerous clocks that adorn his grandparents’ house.The clock case design is an excellent study for Henry, because it calls for two very different functions.

The first is practical – how to enclose the clock, protecting the movement from dust and displaying the dial.

The second is the aesthetic function; how the case design and timber will reflect the owner’s tastes and interests - and the impression that it will create in a room.

Over the course of centuries, the practical and functional role of clocks has been masked by design and embellishment. In the nineteenth and early 20th century most clocks were made to convey an impression, usually of opulence, to make a statement about the owner. The lavish designs and exotic timber of some clocks made them more of an ornament, than a timepiece.

From a practical cabinetmaking perspective, the grandfather clock will present many interesting making challenges for Henry, including mouldings, veneering and jointing.

Moreover, Henry’s grandfather clock project is a great example of the freedom our students have on our bespoke and full time courses -  to choose and drive forward their own ideas, projects and designs.

If there is something you want to make, we will get you there in terms of both practical and theoretical assistance. 

From planning through to completion, our teaching team are there to support, advise you and demonstrate the techniques you need realise your designs  - while all the time broadening your skill set.

If you too are passionate about a beautiful piece that you’d like to make and feel that one of our courses may be for you, then please feel free to call us for an informal chat on 01984 667555  or e.mail us on enquiries@williamsandcleal.co.uk.

School Visit to 100% Design and TENT for London Design Week

London_Design_Week.jpg

School Visit to 100% Design and TENT for London Design Week

 

 On Friday 22nd September, Jane Cleal took four students to London to visit the 100% Design exhibition and TENT.

Trips like these are optional at the school, but Jane Cleal is a real advocate of our students attending design events and exhibitions because they improve awareness of production manufacturing techniques, keep students aware of the current trends in design and interiors, offer good design inspiration and are a good insight into how industry presents itself in terms of stalls, branding etc.

It’s also a jolly day out from the workshop!

Our students really enjoyed both exhibitions and got very different things out of both 100% Design and TENT.

From 100% design, many of the students found inspiration in the pieces that they saw – but also found it very beneficial for making links with suppliers. Tim was interested to discover veneer suppliers and leather manufacturers that were in the locality of where he lives – and he was able to talk to them about new production processes and advances in leather printing that he was unaware of before his visit.

All of our students found TENT really interesting, with some preferring it over 100% Design for the reason that you can meet smaller makers and have a better conversation with them about their design and making process. Our students commented that TENT felt like a better place to network, and that in being able to talk with the smaller makers, there were useful discoveries to be made such as new and interesting materials being used in design - and how to work with different materials.

As such our students came back with ideas incorporating new materials they had not been aware of before their visit.

It also shows just how important it is to take time out of the workshop to connect with other makers and experience where the industry is - and where it’s going.

For more information about other trips that we offer our full time students, feel free to give the office a call on 01984 667555.

Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design 2017

CCD.jpg

Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design 2017

 

Last week the annual Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design took place at the Thirlestaine Long Gallery at Cheltenham College in Gloucester. CCD is the largest exhibition of contemporary desigher-maker furniture in the UK and it draws visitors and exhibitors from around the world. The exhibition showcases the work of the very best makers and emerging talent in the world of furniture design and making.

It is a really important calendar event for our students - and  we strongly encourage our students to not only submit their work for entry into the Alan Peters Award for Excellence (which gives three new designer-makers the opportunity to win free exhibition space for their entry at the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design) but also to visit the Celebration of Craftsmanship and immerse themselves in the design styles and work exhibited there.

Our current students attended the show's VIP opening evening, and met with several past Williams and Cleal students - all now successfully running their own bespoke furniture companies and exhibiting their work at the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design.

It was great to see past students Damain Robinson from BlytheHart Made, Maria and Charlie from Byron and Gomez, Irene Banham from Irene Banham Furniture and Thomas from Thomas Whittingham Furniture all recieving great interest in their work. Congratulations to our student Finn James, one of the winners of this year's Alan Peters Award for Excellence who won the opportunity to exhibit his 'Brompton' coffee table at this years show.

The Crossover Between Cabinet Making and Digital Manufacture

Digital printing.jpg

The Crossover Between Cabinet Making and Digital Manufacture

 

In furniture design, the advent of CNC machines and digital printers have enabled designers to reinterpret the expectations of the medium. We can now combine traditional craft skills with complex contemporary twists made possible with elements that have been digitally manufactured.

There are some effects that are difficult to achieve solely with hand tools, and equally there are hand techniques that are not efficiently replicated well by CNC or digital printing – but the crossover of the two can push the boundaries of furniture design to make something truly unique and beautiful.

At Williams and Cleal, we have an expanding student library of design and furniture making books – which students are free to borrow at any time. The book that has the students talking this month is ‘Digitally Handmade’ by Lucy Johnston. The topic is particularly apt, since our student Jan is experimenting with digital printing to add a unique level of detail to the handles on her latest design, which would otherwise be exceptionally difficult to make by hand.

Jan comes from a background in Computer Graphic Imaging Design and Imaging, and has just invested in her own Prusa i3 M25 – kit build 3D printer. Jan has designed some drawer handles that take the shape of a small mountain range complete with contoured hills, tiny pine trees and a mountainside cabin – a scene in miniature that would be virtually impossible to create by hand.

Digital printing Jan - blog.jpg

 

Jan has so far experimented with prototypes made in PLA - (PLA) or polylactic acid. It is a bio-degradable thermoplastic polyester derived from corn starch, sugarcane or cassava root. Jan is yet to decide what the final handles will be printed in. It takes about 4 hours for Jan's printer to create the handle prototypes. Jan builds the designs herself in software compatible for the 3D printer.

The crossover of digital manufacturing methods and furniture design is part of our design theory sessions here at Williams and Cleal. Jane Cleal has incorporated digital production methods into her own work and shares her experiences of these processes with our students. Jane’s most recent ‘Circle’ bowl coffee table, used CNC production methods to manufacture the stack laminated birch ply of the bowl and complimented by a lid made in Macassar Ebony Veneer. Many of our students also pick out Jane’s CNC cut bowl as a favourite from the W & C gallery.

 

Our tutors encourage and will help to nurture the designs of students who choose to explore mixing traditional craftsmanship with digital manufacture. We will also connect you with companies to whom Williams and Cleal outsource CNC or digital manufacture work. This way, the size and complexity of the equipment and skills that we have access to, is infinitely surperior to the machines we could accomodate at our own workshop.  

If you’d like to see more of the possibilities in furniture making enhanced by digital manufacturing methods, we suggest looking at the ‘Cinderella Table’ or the ‘Lectori Salutem’ by Jeroen Verhoevenm the ‘Three Drawer George’ by Gareth Neal or the ‘Fractal Table’ by Werteloberfell – or indeed many of the other artists covered both in Digitally Handmade and across the internet.

We’ll be posting more about our student Jan’s journey with her digitally printed handles in upcoming posts.

Kerfing and Free Form Laminating

Kerfing and Free Form Laminating

Kerfing and Free Form Laminating

On a Thursday, we normally have ‘Hand Tool Thursday’s’ where our tutor Jim likes to showcase various items from his collection of accumulated and inherited hand tools. However, this Thursday was all about demonstrating different wood bending techniques to the students.

First up was Kerfing. Kerf can be defined as the width of the wood that is removed by the cutting process.

Kerfing is the process of cutting a series of kerfs (cuts) along the side of a piece of wood in close proximity, in order to allow the wood to be pliable enough to follow a curve. When cutting kerfs, the wood needs to be cut  deep enough to the edge of the wood that the remaining fibres are free to bend. To cut too deeply will result in the wood breaking in two, or making cuts that are not deep enough will result in the wood snapping. It’s best to experiment, but you’ll most likely find that an uncut width of 1/8 in. or thereabouts works for most woods.

Your kerf spacing will affect both the maximum radius that you can bend, and how smooth your curve will look – the closer the kerfs are together, the tighter the radius you can bend. You can only kerf by crosscutting as to do so with the grain increases the likelihood of the piece splitting.

For the demonstration, Jim cut kerfs that loosely demonstrated the effect. In practice, you would normally use a formula to calculate the exact distance between your kerfs, to achieve the smoothness of the curve you require. Many kerf bending formulas are available online.

While kerfing is an easy and useful technique for bending wood, it is suited to applications where a curve is aesthetic rather than structural, as kerfing does not create a form with great strength.

The magic of kerfing never wanes and all the students (and office staff) were keen to have a play.

Next up…. was free form laminating.

Jim demonstrated a range of different free-form laminating methods using constructional veneer. Take a look at our Instagram feed to see the laminationsglued and clamped into shape, and vacuum pressed.

Constructional veneer comes in a variety of timbers and it is thin and pliable enough to bend. You can simply spread glue on their surfaces and clamp them in layers to the shape that you desire and leave in place for the glue to set. In Jim’s demonstration, the lamination was clamped and wrapped with a ribbon of old tyre inner tube to keep the layers tight together until the glue had set. It is the hardened glue between each layer of veneer that holds the shape of the twist or curve. The multiple glue lines between each layer make the assembly strong, stable and rigid.

As a variation on this method, Jim demonstrated the same concept, but using a vacuum press to hold the shape of the glued layers. The constructional veneer was glued, shaped and then pre-wrapped tight with release film to prevent the breather fabric getting sucked between the laminations, or sticking to the laminate while it is being compressed. As the air is being evacuated, the bag is smoothed out over the assembly to make sure there are no significant wrinkles where it touches the veneer.

 

The advantage of laminating in a vacuum press is that the process creates an even atmospheric pressure over the glue up, making for a consistent strong assembly.

Head to our Instagram page to see more videos and photos of Jim’s wood bending demonstrations. Click here.

When Craftsmanship Meets Technology - Commission for a 16ft Illuminated Dining Table

When Craftsmanship Meets Technology - Commission for a 16ft Illuminated Dining Table

When Craftsmanship Meets Technology - Commission for a 16ft Illuminated Dining Table

 

The school shares a workshop with the commercial arm of Williams and Cleal. This augments the learning of our students, who are able to observe our master craftsmen working on a range of different commissions, or to access expert help from our furniture makers in addition our tutor’s time.

Often a commission comes along that breaks the mould of regular work. It demands a combination of technology, craftsmanship and use of alternative and modern materials – and involves a good deal of careful design, research, and expert collaboration to bring the piece together.  These commissions make excellent case studies for interested students, particularly when the processes that we use are at the forefront of developments in industry.

Our recent commission for a 16ft long colour changing illuminated dining table has been just such a project. The client’s specification detailed a dining table with glass legs that would make the table appear to be floating. For the table surface, they wanted a purple eucalyptus veneer with two central glass panels, on which an ‘ethereal’ swirl design could be illuminated by hidden LED’S. The purple veneer was chosen for its rich colour that by contrast would enhance the lit glass panels.

The glass elements of this table required us to work at the leading edge of glass technology. Taking advantage of new laser systems in Europe, we subsurface engraved the clients chosen design into two huge 1580mm glass inserts for the table surface. In subsurface engraving, the lasers are focused below the surface of the glass to create small fractures. This makes visible structures appear inside the glass whilst leaving the surface free of any abrasion. Cerion lasers create four or five layers inside of the glass, as opposed to just one layer on the surface seen in normal Co2 engraving. Therefore there are greater points within the glass to pick up the light, and it creates a cleaner etching to minimize distortion of the design.

Similarly, the floating glass legs were designed and sourced in collaboration with specialist manufacturers in Europe. Superior technology enabled us to source the correct clear structural glass, and to cut the table leg design with unrivalled precision and accuracy from Jane’s drawings.

Williams and Cleal sourced and installed all the LED electrics for the table illumination, and it took a good few tests to achieve a level of illumination that we were happy with. Achieving the optimal lighting level, required the right power of LED’s matched with the position of the LED strips on the glass. We had to find the right distance between diffusion panels and the LED strips hidden in the table recess - to blend out spotlighting effects otherwise seen at the edge of the table. It was important to the client that the lighting source was not visible at the edges of the table -  in order to enhance the magic of the engraving being illuminated.

Jane’s design included a central column underneath the table concealing the LED technology. Williams and Cleal rigged up the technology that enabled our client to change the colour of their table to millions of colour variations by voice command, and by manual control of a colour wheel on a mobile phone app.

The client’s colour preferences were of soft whites, pinks and golds and we were able to preset these choices and store them for their convenience.

The table surface was made here at the workshops from a core of purple Valchromat – chosen for its consistency and density across both the board and colour. It was veneered with Tabu Purple eucalyptus veneer as chosen by our client.

The finished result is an elegant showpiece dining table, with a unique level of interactivity afforded to dinner party hosts and guests in the changing colour features of the glass.

It’s been a pleasure to make another commission that draws together new processes in materials, components and technology – and a fine example to our students how design can incorporate these different elements to make a truly unique piece.

See our colour changing table in action here!

Shortlisted for the 2017 Wood Awards

Shortlisted for the 2017 Wood Awards!

Shortlisted for the 2017 Wood Awards!

We are thrilled to announce that student Damian Robinson's Hex Cabinet has been shortlisted for the 2017 Wood Awards!

The Hex Cabinet was Damian's final project during his course at Williams and Cleal. 

The inspiration for the Hex Drinks Cabinet comes from the colour and uniformity of bees’ nest found in the Damian's garden. Hand cut veneers in contrasting timbers and grain patterns were used for the honeycomb. Damian laid the veneer hexagons out in sequence while referring to the actual nest. The edges of the doors were designed to meet in a line that followed the interlinking hexagons.  The inset brass levers devised to open the doors were made in the same size of the hexagons to mesh seamlessly with the overall design. English bog oak, dating from 3,300BC, was selected to set off the complex honeycomb pattern without interference.

You can read more about the 2017 Wood Awards Shortlist here.

You can also visit Damian Robinson's company website - Blythehart Made at:  https://www.blythehartmade.co.uk/

or follow Damian on instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/blythehartmade/

Well done Damian!

2017 Somerset Guild of Craftsmen Furniture Prize!

2017 Somerset Guild of Craftsmen Furniture Prize!

2017 Furniture Prize Blog Photo.JPG

 

Drum roll please.....

We are pleased to announce that student Alistair Buchan received second prize for his Jurassic inspired table in this years Somerset Guild Furniture Exhibition.

The table was made in English Oak and sandblasted to give a weathered appearance. Patinated Bronze Supporting Fins were used to support the table segments and it was a great exercise in solid wood construction.

In the exhibitions 'People's Choice award' we are also thrilled that Williams and Cleal students received the most votes, Alistair for his table. Alberto for his 'La Negra' chair and Laura for her folding table.

Alberto Perez'  stunning La Negra chair was Alberto's first project and the design really challenged and pushed his making skills - with beautiful results. Made in Walnut.

Laura Aldrich Blake's retro style drop leaf table with formica surface was made to a brief about batch production, so was made using various jigs so that it could be easily repeated in small numbers. It was a challenging piece to make with tapered cylindrical legs and lots of angles.

The photo shows our Lead tutor, James Ralph, accepting awards on behalf of the students.

Student Submit Enteries to the Alan Peters Award for Excellence and The Somerset Guild of Craftsman Furniture Prize.


Students Submit Enteries to the Alan Peters Award for Excellence, and The Somerset Guild of Craftsman Furniture Prize.

We wish student Finn James the best of luck with the entry of his low coffee table in the 2017 Alan Peters Award for Excellence.

Finn laminated his table from 10 laters of 5mm flexi-ply and it was veneered in beautiful figured quarter sawn oak. To emphasize the shape the edges were coloured a very light grey.

The  Alan Peters award is designed to encourage and promote emerging young talent within the bespoke furniture industry. It gives up to three new designer-makers the opportunity to win free exhibition space for their entry at Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design. This allows winners to exhibit and network with established and highly regarded professionals within a selling environment, gaining valuable experience and exposure to a very discerning and knowledgeable audience.

Fingers crossed for Finn!

We also wish the very best of luck to students Laura Aldrich Blake, Jan Lennon and Alberto Perez for their entries into the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen Annual Students Furniture Prize. The students all took their furniture to the Wells Exhibition Gallery last week. We eagerly award the judges decision in a few weeks time.

We actively encourage our students to enter furniture prizes and to exhibit their work, to get their design style and name out there - to become visible as emerging makers. It is also an important opportunity to network and make contacts, or to generate publicity in starting out your career as a furniture maker.

Student Visit to Artichoke Ltd and Vastern Timber


Student visit to Artichoke Ltd and Vastern Timber

Student visit to Artichoke Ltd and Vastern Timber

This month, our students have been on two trips to augment their learning and understanding of the furniture making industry.

The first trip was to Artichoke Ltd, a high end bespoke furniture company based in Cheddar.  Bruce Hodgson and John Hampton kindly gave their time to tour the students around the workshop of Artichoke and talk to us about the developments in the industry in design and production. It was a very inspiring visit, and very informative for the students in terms of developments in the furniture making industry.

Our second trip was to Vastern's Timber near Wootten Bassett. Tom Barnes kindly spent a few hours touring our students around the timber yards. Tom gave a very informative talk on everything though to how the timber is cut, dried and stored... to advice on good timber selection.

Both visits were incredibly useful to the students and a real highlight to the week.

George complete's his first design and make project


George complete's his first design and make project

In Georges own words - "by combining a natural, free-form top with precisely turned legs – crisp white with rich walnut – I wanted to showcase the different elements but also show them coming together and working in harmony. This coffee table needs no fixtures or fitting, its completely self supporting. The legs just slip into place.

Well done George on a very successful piece