Thursday, 29 December 2011

experiment project

Inprevious posts i said i would start to make a few experiment pieces to test out theories i had explored in various sketchbooks and scrap pieces of paper. And while making stock pieces and items for galleries i made a small prototype of an idea involving changing the structural framework of furntiure and seeing if this could produce different aesthetics based on structural requirements. The images below show what i created from scrap wood and dowels. I wanted to see if i could create strength and structure by using the void space of storage as the defining element instead of seperate pieces of wood braced across certain areas to provide the strength and support we see in modern manufactured pieces. By protruding the legs of this console table through the void/storage space and then fixing them halfway into the top section i created a new structural identity that did not require any other elements to produce a functional table/storage space. Further experimentation found that by increasing the depth of the void space the structural integrity of the concept was increased considerably. This might seem obvious to outsiders but to me this was very interesting and opened up a whole range of ideas based on this principle. the legs were painted to identify the main purpose and structural efficient areas of the legs. i also liked the idea that the legs were shown in the piece emphasising even more the importance and simplicity of this design. unknowingly i also discovered i was considerably limiting the amount of workmanship involved in ceating a modern piece of functional furniture was a worrying but enlightening discovery.

having produced this concept it has proved that this idea can work and now the challenge is too adapt it to work in a modern environment/home and transfer these principles into a workable, desirable item of furniture. expect some more experiment pieces in the new year.

Friday, 9 December 2011

catch up

 So I thought this post should really be a catch up and detail what I have been up to in terms of making and getting my designs out there as I have not been very regular with my posts of late. I finally dropped the two nest of tables off at the gallery in north Norfolk last weekend and I was really pleased with them, so they now join the mirrors being displayed, quite an achievement for me. However Im finding that all this negotiating and ringing and sorting does take time and that is one area im getting more and more experience in, be patient is the lesson.
  So my making time now is filled with continuing to get a stock level behind me, so I can take some proper photographs of my designs and have them ready to show potential customers etc. so I have some beautiful pieces of wood I can use up to make some more scape mirrors and hopefully a couple of tables. Also I have ordered some felt which I will apply to the back of the bare mirrors on my scape series which I feel will give them a more professional look and also a splash of colour.
  Also I am continuing to contact shops and galleries to see if they want to stock my work, this will always be an ongoing project so more on this in the future.
  I have started to make a small commission as well for a client up north, nothing big but it’s a great way to improve my skills and gets my name noticed, so that’s not a bad thing at all. So that’s what I will be doing this weekend, getting this finished.
  But the biggest and best thing I’m starting to do now is experimenting with some of the ideas I have had in my sketch book for years. This project will be very interesting to me and hopefully eye opening as I have certain views on how things could be and why, so this will undoubtedly give me some great new directions. As many designers do I’m always asking questions and in turn questioning the norm, so it’s in our nature to explore, try new things and push boundaries (sorry very cliché that). Im planning to show these experiments on this blog in the next few weeks once I get things made. So look out for that as its certainly going to be a contrast to what I usually make. And will hopefully show a different side to my design thinking

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Back to the future

I visited the little Suffolk town of Long Melford last week as I had heard it was an antique mecha and a real treasure trove. As a fan of all kinds of styles and periods of furniture I thought it would be an excellent source of inspiration and valuable information. I was not wrong. I saw so many differences, nuances, patterns, themes and designs that are all lost in today’s modern, stark, industrial style of furniture which is so widespread now.

For example everything was opulent and grand, and why not. Obviously a lot of what I saw was for large houses and to show wealth and stature in society, but the patterns and carvings were immense and showed an extreme passion and amazing craft skill. why can’t these ideals be brought back. Money is one obstacle and time is another I suppose, but surely it’s not that hard to gain some stature and opulence in today’s society? I mean we buy furniture to show not only style and taste but maybe wealth and social position/vision (take minimalist ikea against dark detailed heavy furniture) gives you, well me an idea of class divide. So surely it’s up to us designers to bring some of this amazing stature in design, -‘showing off skills-’ back?! But to meet sustainability and peoples taste in line.

Another thing I noticed in many pieces I saw in the vast rooms and areas of these big antique shops was the proportion of the items of furniture, they were all massive structures, nothing like what is made today. Now obviously this again was to show stature and wealth in olden days and the material of wood (not many of these peieces had metal in them) was widespread and at the forefront of the industry as a whole, but again why cant proportion be a defining feature now? Is it down to house size? Houses are not as big as they used to be and new builds are getting smaller and smaller. Is it just money again? I don’t think so. Maybe we need to re-educate people in the idea of having multi functional furniture items that maybe big but for a beneficial reason and not an aesthetic reason. For example what happened to the classic sideboard? Can this be reinvented?
  And we have to be sensitive to cost and longevity in designs too as the items I saw were made to last for years and years, encompassing different periods in history and culture which would age its appearance and appeal. This just does not happen now but it can.

I also found a lot of specific designed pieces for hobbies and crafts. Never heard of in this day and age, but tables for crochet and knitting with function playing a major part where everywhere, and these tables stood out because the design was simple, no ornate carvings and they used fabric as well and leather, which is not present on the grand tables or ornate chairs. Shame we can’t bring these specific ideas back but the trend for people wanting multi functional pieces is bigger than ever.
  And while we are on missing elements in design today the carvings and directions applied to these pieces sing out status and uniqueness. The time it must have taken to produce these designs is mind blowing but the same old question of why we can’t do it nowadays is raised again. We could easily incorporate the complex carved patterns by use of milling machines and advanced manufacturing techniques, but would the public want? Or be able to afford it? It’s a shame the latter I feel is the deciding factor.

Moving on to the construction of these mammoth pieces was an eye opener. When I design pieces I try to be sensitive to material use and structural integrity, as I have a limit to how much material I can use and how much I can spend. And the common approach in mass produced furniture is to use rough, chipboard, OSB board to provide structural support and use these in areas which will not be seen by the consumer. But in the peiecs I observed every section, every structural element was of the same wood used on the showing, functional faces of the design, this not only in my eyes boosted the pieces craftsmanship and place in the house as a valuable item but made it last, weather the storm of life and make it strong, true to form, and not a passing fade

So all these elements and believe me there are more, made me realise so much is missing in terms of design today and it has given me so many raw ideas and incentives to put some of these back into furniture to sell/highlight what can and does go into designing and making a piece of furniture. To tell a story and build a relationship with these things we use everyday, because that is what its about isn’t it? Making a connection so we don’t throw away and replace so easily like they did in years gone by. And when I saw all these massive pieces of grand designs, sitting in small rooms, dotted about shops and clad with obscure antique china and retro sculptures they all seemed to be trying to reconnect with someone like they did when they were made. Trying to be found again so they can gain some dignity back and be used for what they are and build a lasting relationship.

Very endearing

I feel this blog post could be a lot longer on this subject as it is a vast discussion point and maybe I will come back to this area as it does hold a lot of secrets and directions, for me anyway        

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

a small conflict

Some people may not be aware that my design career started in a passion for car design and this is what I studied at university before losing the passion for it and realising that gaining a job in car design was beyond difficult. So I turned my passion towards furniture design but I wanted to touch on a small conflict that I have noticed within transport design that has got me thinking and I suppose I am just thinking out loud with this.

  I have noticed that on Britain’s road there is a wide range on different aged cars. Their not all new and not all old, a very diverse mix. But what does this produce? Are current car designers aware of what’s happening? Mixing old with new, does this create a divide between consumers and also what relationship is created between the different aged cars in terms of safety and legacy? This may all sound a mash up of my thoughts and in a way it is but I think that what is currently on the roads today is so diverse and do the designs relate, understand, complement each other? Should they? Are current car designers superseding current designs too quickly and not thinking abut sustainability and making the cars last longer in the current climate?

  Basically I suppose I am saying that the car industry is not doing enough to sustain the cars already on the roads and celebrating some truly amazing cars that I currently see driving about (Mercedes CLS anyone?) and what does this industrial system do to social behaviour? (sociology time) I mean I get jealous when I see a new car and automatically think I should trade in. the power of design! Also in terms of safety are consumers being bullied into buying a new car because they are perceived as being safer and should we worry that the some old cars are not as big or secure than new cars. And what does the barrage of new cars every year against old cars create on our roads? More danger?

 Just by seeing an old morris minor against a mazda 3 in a car park the other day has sparked this idea in my head and opened up another area that design creates. competition, emotion, reaction the list is endless. So when someone asks you what is design and its just drawing pretty pictures, they are so wrong, what we designers have to think about before drawing anything is long!

Ramble over

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


As this blog is amongst other things an account of my progression as a designer and a showcase of my designs I thought I would detail an important part of my design process which I have been neglecting, ideas and directions. I did a lot of this when I first started to design furniture as I did not have that many resources or tools to construct proper workable furniture, and as I had ideas coming out of my ears I needed a way to document and see these ideas in full scale 3d, so I started making mockups and models of the ideas and directions I wanted to take. These used various cheap woods and scrap materials I found from diy stores and around the house and proved invaluable in sorting out the concepts in my head and sorting the proportion of the designs which is vitally important if human interaction is involved. The photos below show some of the ideas I had made and to this day still provide inspiration and fuel for the designs I now make from quality locally sourced hardwoods.

  One of the mocks up I made involved modifying an old stool and adding extra elements to highlight and distinguish the structural elements of furniture. I did this by painting and extending the pieces that provided the most structural support. I wanted the object to identify its features more. I was pleased with this mock up and loved the fact I could see it and evaluate it in full scale. This model is now the basis for a range of furniture I want to make based on this emphasising principle (when I have the time), taking old furniture and reinventing it and making its individual features stand out for what they are, important

  Another model I made was for an idea of a leg arrangement based on a crossing over effect of the legs to provide not only a different aesthetic but a structural/sustainable advantage in eliminating unnecessary pieces to complete the piece. So I used bog standard wood from B and Q which was cheap and warped and I felt bad for using it as I was worried that it was not from a sustainable source and was a waste of valuable resources, but I later found out they were from a sustainable source.
  I cut and screwed the sections together and gave it a bright lick of paint to make its unique look stand out. And again I cannot begin to explain how satisfying and important it was seeing an idea I had in my head there full scale in front of me, it gave me renewed optimism to make more models and experiment more with the ideas in my head.
  So I am going back to making some more designs and experimenting with the ideas in my vast collection of sketch books. I will use scrap materials and off cuts of wood to really push out the concepts in my head into the really world and see if they will work/convey the right impression I am after.
  I am now finding out that this method of experimentation is invaluable in this day and age and will lead to the concepts being made into unique items of furniture. It will not only help in deciding construction methods but give me precious user feedback and opinions which are sometimes lost/forgotten when your stuck in a sketchbook or a workshop. So like this blog it’s a precious way to get my designs noticed and ‘living’, as furniture I feel is becoming a scarce practice due to the difficulties in obtaining sustainably sourced wood (price being the main obstacle and cheaper mass produced items). I want my designs to challenge, change and push forward new ways to get individual british manufacturing moving in the right direction, and this is one way of doing it, experiment, try and innovate in my own way.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

the quest for quality

So in my last post i detailed about making some more furniture for my local gallery and i made a nest of my 'cant' tables, i have included some photos of them and showed the detail areas that i am trying to improve on to get the all important quality factor in my work.
  i think the quality will come with time, as you probably are or arent aware i have not been making furniture long but have always been very practical with my hands so i feel this has stood me in good stead. Also being a designer helps in the practical side, understanding how things work, drawing out how they assemble all adds to the skill of making but one thing that i am still learning and i feel will take years to fully understand is the properties of wood. How wood is constantly changing and never stays as a constant. And these traits of wood i have to prempt or factor in when im making my pieces. So far i have had a number of trys before i am happy with the final piece. Wood is never truly straight and making sure the wood is as straight as possible and the grain runs in the same direction to allow for natural movement and allow the wood to expand all at the same rate is a struggle. So this area has been particulary important for the nest of tables, to make sure they sit right and level and dont tip, so selection of certain pieces of wood was vital. Couple this with only having wood from local sources meant my choice of pieces was limited, but i feel i overcame these hurdles fairly well. But as mentioned above the quest for quality and dare i say it perfection continues, a trait nearly every designer has.

Monday, 10 October 2011

the catch up part 2

So my second attempt at updating my life online continues with detailing what i have been making for my local gallery. If you remember my 'scape' mirrors are sold in a local gallery and the owner has asked me to make some more designs to display. So since returning from cumbria i have been making a nest of the 'cant' sidetables. After making the first prototype a few months ago now i had to do alot more testing into how the table top was secured into the frame, as it is based on a cantilever construction and i had to make sure the table top could hold a fair amount of weight, in keeping with traditional sidetables of the same size. I found that metal helped alot! and so the new design incorporates metal pins that go through the wood frame as well as the acrylic top, but all consealed in the frame work.

So once this was achieved i set about scaling down the table to make a smaller version that would slide underneath, hence a nest of tables was created. This was not as easy as it seemed but finally i reached a size and proportion i was happy with and set about buying the ash from my local wood yard and preparing it for working.

The first table had a clear top but i wanted the design to be more stark and colourful so i looked into gettting some different coloured acrylic panels to use for the table top. But annoyingly i could not source any coloured acrylic thikcer than 5mm. My design needed 10mm or the whole principle would not work. So i had to settle for white acrylic sheets, which if you look at the sneak pic i will post on twitter later today looks amazing, and gives a great modern contrast, which i am really pleased about. So these past few weeks have been a manic mix of gluing, sanding, cutting, measuring, screwing and clamping in order to get these finished. And as i write this all i have to do now is one last piece of gluing and then the frames can be sealed and waxed/oiled i have'nt decided yet. Then they will wing there way to the local gallery and i shall also put these on as well so there will be two versions of my modern unique table to choose from.

Once they are finished i start on my next project which is bedroom based this time and will include a combination of reclaimed sapelle wood and an as yet undecided second wood that needs to contrast with sapelle really well. any ideas??

the catch up

it has annoyingly been far too long since my last blog post, and time i got up to date and explained why i have been so busy.

a couple of weeks ago i had a small vacation to the beautiful lake district in cumbria, a very imspiring place with truly breathtaking scenery. i will let the photos do the talking. i want to go back as i only stratched the surface of this vast county. i got alot of thinking done and had some good ideas for present and future projects. so well worth the 6 hour drive

Monday, 5 September 2011

sketchbook praise

i have 8 sketchbooks in total spanning 5 years of design and the number will keep growing. Many people ask why i have so many and whats inside them and why i always carry one around. if your not a designer its difficult to understand or explain how important a sketchbook is and how vital it is to sketch ideas and record thoughts and inspiration. but my sketchbooks note every design idea and thought basically.
everyone thinks a sketchbook should be a portfolio of your drawing skills. to show off how talented you are but i treat them as amoungst other things a big notebook with drawn ideas. I have never been good at drawing, not bad but not brilliant and many people in my uni days thought you had to be an excellent artist to make it as a designer but that is very far from the truth.
  Over the years i have got better at sketching and drawing due to the fact i carry a sketchbook with me and draw ideas, or joints or engineering principles for a design. I also write thoughts, quotes, designers to look up or websites to view. So it also acts as a diary in some respects. In terms of my career and passion for design, my sketchbooks are an importnat element. And for any budding designers out there i cannot stress how critical it is to record ever thought, idea or feeling, how ever varied, as it all helps to understand people, life and the world around you, and helps you better observe which to me is the most important part of design, bar none. so if you facny getting a sketchbook, get a good quality one. i use moleskine notebooks. heavyweight paper, small but not too small and stylish :) and get sketching, it will make you a better design through the years and improve your skills no end.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

a bit of pressure

so for the past few weeks i have been making some 'scape' mirrors for a local gallery to sell. This was greeted with relief that someone believed in my designs and then a bit of a anxious feeling that i had very little time to get three mirrors made to a high standard in 2 weeks. And thats where the pressure begins, working to a tight time frame and also making sure i made them to a high quality to sell. which i had never done before. I was also not making these for myself/portfolio any more, i was making them for someones hall, bathroom, bedroom which also added to the pressure. But with this came confidence, that someone will fall in love with my design and want it displayed in their home for what it is, a unique stylish mirror. So while struggling with adapting the design for sale, making sure tolerances where adhered too, the right glues were used and an effective mounting system was used i had a renewed energy to make these the best mirrors. Usuallly i am not the best person when under pressure but while making these i knew i would get them done and get them done well.

I also had to write a care leaflet to make sure who ever bought them would be able to maintain the finish i had applied and hang them correctly, so this was another area i had not done before and another area of my design i had to think about and consider (it was not all about the making, as i found out). Valuable lessons were learned that i will carry across all my other desings as i try to get them to market. so this experience was a big test for what im trying to do. and hopefully i have passed, we will see. but it was far from just making a mirror as i found out.

anyone else had this kind of pressure? good/bad?

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

inspiring views

so i mentioned a change in direction on twitter for my next blog post and i thought i would just show a few pictures which inspire me and show my interest in travelling and people.
  i have been to many places in the world but still have a few more to visit (too many) and i try and take as many photos as i can, from very different vantage points. my favourite being cityscapes as they show you just how small you are in this world and how important and inspiring cities are. The three pictures show rome, munich and toronto and i have these three photos on my desk to remind me how amazing cities are and how much inspiration there is out there. Everytime i visit somewhere new i get so much inspiration and also i watch the world go by and observe, a very very important and underestimated thing to do if your a designer. Because as we all know you have to design for people and you have to observe in my opinion to fully understand them and make your design worthwhile, meaningful and purposeful

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

low impact draw unit

The next design i am featuring in this blog is the 'low impact draw unit' one of the first designs i made for my many portfolio sites. The idea for this came literaly out of the blue-which is rare for me- while i was trying to think of innovative draw designs. the idea basicaly was to try and minimise the amount of components used in makng an item of furniture, and this design seemed to fit that bill. The draw unit is made out of one piece of OSB board with minimal wastage due to the fact that all of the off cuts are used to make the draw runners. These draw runners work by slotting into the main frame of the draw unit and hence the draws simply slide in and out of these slots and this creates a very minimalist but effective draw runner system.

To add to the minimalist feel the draw handles are replaced with cut out holes and the finish piece is varnished to seal the OSB board. Also with this design i wanted to highlight sustainability as its main selling point, and this is achieved in many ways, from the soya based glue down to the FSC certified board for the construction. i wanted the draw unit to be as cost effective as possible with minimal waste but also not lose any design flair or originality and i think this is achieved. when constructing this it was paramount that an effective cutting list was drawn up to maximise the board being used and reduce wastage to a bare minimum.

This design also leads onto other items of furniture with the same cost cutting features and sustainable elements (these are currently being designed amd will appear soon) including a sideboard and possibly a wardrobe.
  construction of this piece was difficult as it was the first major piece of furniture i had made but i learnt from its construction and it still performs as intended. Another feature of this design is that it can be made high end and more emphasis put on the innovate runner system. But i didnt want to make another chest of drawers but make something different with minimal impact on resources. i also tried to make the framework with the least amount of elements to add to the overall idea of being cheap, low impact and concious. But to be honest there are areas that could be slimmed down even more but these will show through on the new items to accompany this design. but even slimmed down, the framework is extremely strong, coupled with the OSB board produces an extremely stable item of furniture.

Care had to be taken when cutting and fixing the runner system as this would determine how far the draws opened. So alot of trial and error was conducted to see how far the draws needed to open and how far they could be opened before the unit became unstable and/or the draws fell out. In conclusion a very simple idea and a staple of classic furniture design, but a design that is different in many ways and a design that also inspires other ideas and sustainable practices.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cant sidetable

So the third design i am featuring in this blog series is my 'cant' sidetable. This has proved a popular design and has attracted alot of attention. The idea for this came to me a few years ago now with the thought process of having the useable surface of furniture detached and reordered depending on what the use of the item was. There was a whole series of pieces based on this concept but i chose the sidetable to make as it proved a easy design to make in terms of size. The main idea of this series from an asethetic point of view was to have the table surface only held from one side and then occupy a void space within that frame to detach itself and reorder the basic idea of a table.

The original proposal was to have the frame inside the table top and held by one end, but this proved to be too complex from an engineering side to make a reality so i reversed my idea and had the table top protrude from the framework. This also was not an easy idea to make reality due to the obvious engineering principles involved and the idea of making the cantilever structure work. So i made lots mockups to test these issues/ideas and the second photo shows the working prototype i made to see how much weight the table top could hold. Also when i made this mock up i found that this design also had another benefit in that it emphasised the framework of the piece and gave it another function in that you could clip a lamp to the frame or drape magazines over it. So this principle pulled the framework out of the design so to speak and gave it dual functons.
  Just to touch on the layout of the frame work, i had played around with different arrangements of how the frame looked and stood and the other designs in this series have different frame designs based on the same concept, but this layout was chosen to give the best possible look to the table to emphasise the cantilever top and show the table top almost hovering in the framework.
The next phase was to choose the right wood to make the frame from and then find a suitable material for the table top. I chose Ash as it is naturally a very strong, straight grained wood that can colour well and has a smooth finished once worked, the table top proved more tricky though. I could not use glass because at 10mm ( this was the only thickness that seemed to suit so the table top was not lost in the frame if it was too thin) it was too heavy to make the cantilever design work as intended so i turned to acrylic which was strong enough but significantly lighter.
  Once the materials were sourced the making could begin and it was a simple procedure of making the frame with strong but simple dowel butt joints, but great care had to be taken to ensure the frame was square and did not list or twist to one side as this would upset the cantilever top.

Once the frame was made the next critical part was making the slot in the frame to house the acrylic sheet. The original idea would have had the arcylic inside the frame and not showing from the other side, but my tests proved that this was not possible from a strength point of view and to achieve the cantilever principle and make it work the acrylic sheet had to go all the way through the frame work. so a router was used to bore out this slot in the solid ash.
To secure the sheet into the frame it is simply screwed through into the frame from the bottom to aid the strength and obvioulsy stop the table top moving. Once this finished table was sealed and waxed to protect the wood i tested how much weight could be put on the table top. From my test models i knew it could support a fair bit of weight and found it could hold 2kg, which i think is a fairly big weight for a small side table, so i was pleased with this.
  This table like my other designs is available to buy from and is also viewable on my online portfolio's on and

Monday, 8 August 2011

bedside table

feels like im on a roll at the moment with blog posts coming thick and fast. this post details the most recent design in my portfolio of a bedside table

like alot of my designs i came up with this a few years ago, but only now have i made it a reality fromjust an old sketch book drawing (8 and counting, another post). the idea came about from an observation that many furniture manufacturers were designing out the handles on items of furniture, and having ledges or indents to open the doors or draws. i felt this was a shame as handles can give a piece obvious individualism and changable style, but also i liked this idea, paring down the design to bare minimum panels and materials.
  so my design plays with this theme and takes the main door and draw panels of the side table and simply extends them beyond the boundaries of the frame to create an area to hold and thus open the door and draw.

this simple change of asethetic creates a very strong, unique looking design that is also simple and functional. Sapelle wood is used for this design as i thought it was a perfect wood choice to complement this strong minimalist shape. The construction is all paneled sapelle glued together to form a strong frame with a cupboard and a draw unit. Proportional the draw is a quarter of the whole piece with the cupboard taking up 2 thirds. When drawing this out an important consideration was size and scale as this had to suit many different height and sized beds. Many mock ups were made to finalise the final correct scale. This proved the most difficult part of the design as this also determined the size of the ledges that would form the door and draw handles.

the whole making process was time consuming and accuracy was important so that the draw opened correctly and did not stick and that the door hung correctly too. The sapelle wood was finished with sealer and then 2 coats of traditional wax was applied, this not only emphasised the fantastic grain on the wood but also helped the piece function and gave it a durable finish.

like with all my designs this style is planned to expand into a desk and other items using this striking offset panel affect to create functional but minimalistic items of furniture. I had originally planned for this piece to be made out of OSB board to match another design i have (yet another post topic) but felt this could also work well with premium hardwoods as the photos show.

as all designer/makers know you learn alot every time you make something, and alot of lessons were learned especially working with this difficult wood (make sure your tools are razor sharp) which will make me a better designer/craftmans in the long term

this design will be available to buy from very soon and will appear on my online portfolio sites as well, but i hope this blog will show it more in terms of my thoughts and construction methods and give a better insight into me and my career.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

business card

a quick little post here as i wrestle with trying to sort problems of a technical nature out, but i wanted to show/explain my new business card as its quite a big milestone in my journey in trying to become a furniture designer. i spent far too long debating and thinking what it should be like, how it should look. And looking at it now there doesn't seem much to it, but to me there is alot in that little business card.
firstly i decided on a simple photo of wood shavings as the front design, why? well i wanted to show that i designed primarly with wood and to convey a sense of working and physical effort that goes into each of my designs. i also wanted to show that its a beautiful material in what ever you do too it, from the finished article to the waste produced, which can also be used again. But its not really waste as it has already been on this earth for many many years and what ever i do with it i am not adding to the overall carbon footprint of my work/business. So from a sustainable viewpoint, the local wood i buy is very efficiently used with minimal cost in terms of processing and transportation. anyway enough ranbling here.

the back of the card was kept simple with just a name, contact details and what i specialised in (if that wasnt already obvious) these cards were produced by the good people of who i cannot praise enough for their help and advice and overall service, so if you ever need some printing done, look them up

so the photo below shows the business card in all its glory and the other 99 i now have to spread around and dish out.

but i will enjoy handing them out as they make all my years of trying to make a go of it look more professional and worthwhile now. so to me this business speaks volume

Monday, 1 August 2011

As detailed in my last post i said i would use this blog as a showcase for my furniture designs (amoungst other things) as i have found out that designing a website and running one is very expensive. A lack of funds (well im wanting to spend what money i do have on wood and tools) has meant I am using not only twitter ( )but this online area to get my designs noticed by hopefully the right people.
So the first design I am going to highlight is the most popular of my designs, the 'scape' mirror series. I came up with this idea about a year ago while wanting to come up with a mirror that did more, whilst taking inspiration from clean lined modernism buildings/designs.

I made the aesthetic link directly to the function. To do this I came up with the idea of having the protruding mirror section consist of magnified mirror while the mirror in the frame was conventional mirror glass. This in turn segmented the functional elements of the design in an aesthetical way. I imagined this mirror to be located in a hall way or traditionally a bathroom.

While researching this project I had a very hard time trying to find some magnified mirror glass and still to this day I am still hunting, as many companies will only sell this glass in large 2metre by 1metre sizes. So unless I have a large run on these mirrors I am having to revert to normal mirror glass and not lead with the dual functional element of this design. I was at first worried about this as I have wanted the mirror to be dual function from the beginning. But after several comments from people online and local galleries I feel the aesthetical quality of this piece shines through and is still a unique design that people want in their homes.

 I made several prototypes, which played with overall proportions and protruding mirror size before deciding on the final size. The frame work I have made from various hardwoods including beech, chestnut and American white oak (pictured).

These woods were chosen for their modern look and timeless appeal. But I can see this working very well with walnut or sapelle hardwoods. The construction uses modern, contemporary butt joints reinforced with dowel pins. The mirror is then slotted into one end and traditional mirror glue is then used to secure it to the concealed baton system inside the frame. This can then be hung directly onto the wall through predrilled holes on two sides, so it can be hung land'scape’ or portrait.

There are two variations of this design the other being with the mirror protruding from the bottom rather than the side (see photo) whilst in the prototype stage I played around with the finish of the wood and decided on a traditional wood seal followed by a wax as this gave a nice matt finish which I think matches the contemporary feel of this design. 6mm mirror glass was used not only for strength but I wanted the mirror (which is quite a large part of the design in terms of surface area) to proportional match the thick wooden frame. So this ratio is kept to a minimum.

I am currently making four of these mirrors for a local gallery to display and hopefully sell. This has subsequently given me great confidence in my designs. The gallery also liked a lot of my other designs so long term these could also be displayed. So in a sense I am very pleased that someone believes in my designs and likes them. This mirror is also on display on several portfolio websites, including and this mirror can also be bought on

I have plans to make these mirrors bigger proportionally and maybe not a mirror but a notice board with different stained woods or statement black and white frames.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

the long wait

it has been far too long since my last post and to be honest it is about time i take this blog seriously and start posting my progress on my various projects and my journey in getting my designs recognised and 'out there'.
  it was a very helpful person on twitter that suggested i use this blog as an opportunity to showcase my work, as trying to set up my own website is very expensive as i have found out, and until i can afford to fund one, this blog will detail all my projects and designs. Also it will explore my thoughts, inspirations, travels, views and any thing else that i come across. so this little blog will gradually become bigger and more in depth and hopefully give you an insight into my design thinking and my 'ethos' you could say.
  too start off with i will go through each of my recent projects, detailing the thinking behind them, how i made them, what they are made of and what i tried to achieve with them. Hopefully who ever follows this blog will spread the word about what i am trying to achieve in my furniture design. couple this with my twitter account and i believe people will get to know quite well, as i hope to meet and collaberate with many different people too from many different areas of design and life. 
 This is what i love about my new found passion for this blog, the fact i can communicate with so many different areas of life,people and creative talent, and in doing so learn something new.

so enough rambling and time to get some photos together (these will hopefully breath some life into this bland looking site) and start documenting my furniture designs and see what people think. my designs can already been seen on various portfolio websites including and and i continue to hunt down new sites to showcase my work and new areas to explore in terms of inspiration and new interests to look into and places to go.

also i hope to improve my writing and 'story telling' skills as i have never been a stronger writer but hope to be.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


for my second blog post i thought it would be a good idea to let you know about the people who inspire me and drive me to design, the list isnt very long but at the top is the legendary bouroullec brothers. i first discovered them years ago when i decided that furniture design was for me and came across this amazing book which detailed their early work, not just in furniture but product and living spaces to name but a few disciplines.

it opened my eyes to the amazing world that they had created and gave me a glimpse into what i could also possibly create, they are launching a new line of products in milan including a chair which has got alot of people talking for many different reasons, i think again its a work of art like everything else they do. but very adapt for me to mention them in my blog when they are catching the lime light again. makes you think whether your skills or talent could be heightened as a design team and not just on your own.

Monday, 28 March 2011

first blog

hi all and welcome to my new blog, i thought it was about time i started a blog as its a great way to get to know people and for you to get to know me and what i do. this blog will detail my new designs and previous designs and my experiences and challenges in trying to get my designs 'out there'. it will also detail things that inspire me through day to day life and my travels round the world (when i can afford it) im off now to tart this site up a bit and get researching on what makes a good blog, thanks for reading