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Posts Tagged ‘Furniture Maker Dorset’

Exciting opportunity for a design assistant at Simon Thomas Pirie Ltd

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

Simon Thomas Pirie is an award-wining bespoke furniture design and making practice. Our small but growing dedicated team of highly skilled cabinet makers make furniture, kitchens and interiors, outdoor furniture and public seating projects from our workshops near Bere Regis, Dorset. We work for private clients, interior designers, architects, developers and institutional clients.

A unique opportunity has arisen to work in the design office of this small but expanding company as the design assistant to Simon Pirie in a role that encompasses a broad range of exciting duties.

Hopefully it goes without saying that the candidate needs to have a strong interest in furniture and interior design. Ideally they would have some experience of making in a workshop environment but, if not, then be interested in how things are made and go together. There may be opportunities to help out and develop practical skills in the workshop; as part of a small dynamic team we expect any prospective candidate to be flexible and willing to help out.

There would be plenty of CAD work involved preparing client presentation drawings and working drawings for the workshop team. We work with Vectorworks on Mac so experience with that would be helpful though not essential.

We would also like the candidate to have good visualisation and rendering skills, so knowledge of Google Sketch Up Pro, the V-Ray render suite and photoshop would be desirable.

The nature of the work, like the projects we undertake is very varied. There will be days out on site, client visits and other occasions where we want help in and around the workshop. However the primary focus will be as Simon’s design assistant in the office.

Would suit graduate or student work placement but we will consider applications from anyone with the right skills and attitude.

Potential start date from September 2017. Initially for one year with the potential to become a permanent post.

Simon Thomas Pirie Ltd is located in Briantspuddle, 12 miles west of Poole and 12 miles east of Dorchester. There is no reliable public transport so having your own transport is essential.

Salary by negotiation.

We are always keen to hear from enthusiastic makers and there may be opportunities to join our workshop in the near future. If you think you would like to work for us, please send us your C.V.

This position is now full.

Studio Image by Matt Austin

‘Making Dorset’ – 50 Dorset Makers

Sunday, June 11th, 2017


Woodcut by Robin Mackenzie, printmaker

Fifty of Dorset’s best designer-makers will be exhibiting together in the historic Wolfeton Riding House venue near Dorchester over the first weekend in July 2017. ‘Making Dorset’ is also the launch event for the accompanying book celebrating the same 50 artists and craftspeople called ’50 Dorset Makers’.

STP JB MDThe event has been a long-term aspiration of Dorset Visual Arts (organisers of the bi-enniel Dorset Art Weeks.) They have teamed up with Evolver Magazine who are publishing the book and of course the makers themselves who have been pushing for a high-quality selected event in the county for a long time.

The final selection, made by Professor Simon Olding of the Crafts Study Centre and Simon Barber of Evolver Magazine is a mix of well known names, makers at the start of their professional careers and established craftspeople who have not exhibited at this kind of event at all. The broad range of work will span traditional crafts to very contemporary practice; all the major disciplines will be represented from musical instrument making to ceramics, printmaking to jewellery and of course furniture making which has always been strong in the county.

So as well as ourselves, John Makepeace, Petter Southall (iTre), Karen Hansen, Jack Draper, Alice Blogg and David Saltmarsh (Fivepenny Chairs) will all be exhibiting furniture. The lovely thing about this group is all of us approach our designing and making in very different ways with contrasting results. I’m really looking forward to seeing it all together and trying to understand if there are any common strands that make the work a result of our common location – Dorset. Or not!

The venue for Making Dorset is Wolfeton Riding House at Charminster, just outside Dorchester. This rare 16th Century riding school is an important historical building which has been renovated by the Wolfeton Riding House Trust over the past two decades with support from English Heritage among others. Part of their remit in return for this funding is to open the building up to the public through cultural events like Making Dorset. For more information about the building and the Trust click here.


Wolfeton Riding House exterior and interior following extensive renovation by the Wolfeton Riding House Trust

Making Dorset is a celebration of the best of design, making and craft, a high quality curated show with exquisitely made objects selected by experts. But it is also a book launch for 50 Dorset Makers (it’s sister book ’50 Wessex Artists’ was published in 2006) and is part of a series of events to celebrate of the 100th edition of Evolver Magazine. It’s hard to underestimate how important this bi-monthly arts culture and listings magazine has become to the South West arts community since it first appeared in 2001, for which Simon Barber, its founder and editor deserves huge gratitude. So we are really looking forward to taking part and being involved on all sorts of levels.

50 Dorset Makers Cover
The cover of ’50 Dorset Makers’ supporting Making Dorset, published by Evolver Magazine

‘Making Dorset’ is not just a one-off; Dorset Visual Arts are planning other events in the future and hope it will become a recognised brand of excellence in the world of craft, design and making, both within Dorset and beyond.

We will have a number of pieces there, we are still working on the final list but one of our stunning burr ash and ripple sycamore drinks cabinets is a definite. We are also providing a pair of English walnut glazed and lit display cabinets that other makers of jewellery and silverware will be able to use to display their work in. From our perspective the furniture is enhanced by having other high quality objects in and around it so we are very comfortable with this. John and I plan to be there over the weekend and are looking forward to catching up with familiar faces and meeting plenty of new ones.


Don’t miss this fabulous opportunity to see the very best of British craftsmanship in a building which is a little known jewel in Dorset’s history. It will be a good day out.

Making Dorset is open to the public on Saturday 1 July and Sunday 2 July from 10am till 5pm.

The Making Dorset event opening and 50 Dorset Makers book launch is on the evening of Friday 30 June. Please contact us or Dorset Visual Arts directly for further details.

Preview: Dorset Art Weeks 2014

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Just a week to go until Dorset Art Weeks 2014 and as usual there is a real buzz around the county’s artists, makers and art lovers. Brochures are out, the website is live and 300+ venues around Dorset are busy preparing themselves for tens of thousands of visitors. We always look forward to DAW and welcoming visitors to the Courtyard Gallery, there’s no better way of getting feedback than by opening your doors.

This year, as ever, we are joined by other artists who’s reputations preceed them; our long standing co-exhibitor, the jeweller Liz Tyler and new to the Courtyard Gallery this year, the painter Jim Hunter.

Jim was born and grew up in Co Durham, he studied painting at Winchester School of Art and then the Royal College of Art in the mid 1970’s. He then spent time in Paris, and it was through this period his enduring interest in modernism and the potential of abstraction grew.

Landscape has been the predominant reference in his work and, throughout his career, he has maintained the practice of drawing directly from the landscape as the source for his ideas. In the work that he has exhibited in recent years intuitive and expressive responses have been complemented by more considered and protracted research in his studio, interpreting the landscape through an abstract and structured language. Current work has been in response to places as different as Iceland, Japan, Venice and of course, the Isle of Purbeck.

Until very recently Jim pursued his practice as a painter alongside a career in art education, as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Arts University Bournemouth and now Professor Emeritus of Painting.

If you want to find out more about Jim’s work in the meantime look at his website: Jim Hunter Paintings

Liz Tyler has exhibited with us here many times, her work is the perfect compliment to our furniture in terms of quality, skill, attention to detail and design. It’s not unusual for us to both sell to the same client, which tells its own story.

2014 sees Liz celebrating 25 years of creating her award winning sculptural jewellery. Following a Flamenco dance and drawing workshop-run by Dorset Visual Arts and Dance South West, Liz’s latest pieces have evolved with a more dynamic sense of movement in the flow of the designs. – Liz specialises in individual engagement and wedding ring sets and bold colourful dress rings, but specifically for this silver anniversary year is making some larger silver pieces again .

To see more of Liz Tyler’s work visit her website:

As always Simon Thomas Pirie will be exhibiting stunning new work, but there will also be one or two speculative pieces that have reached the end of their showroom lives that we will be letting go at low prices. The workshops will be open to visitors to wander around and see work in progress. This year the workshops will be dominated by a very large elm and black walnut contemporary kitchen with two striking islands. The making team will working during the week so the place will be humming.

Our centre pieces in the showroom for DAW 2014 will be a stunning English walnut 2.0m diameter round table with a middle that spins. Round it will be 10 of our new ‘Gabriel’ dinning chairs in native walnut and sycamore.

This is a commissioned piece for a client, but without a doubt the most beautiful dining set we’ve ever made, out of some of the rarest timber, so we really wanted to show it off. We will also be displaying contemporary dressers, desks, dressing tables, chairs, outdoor furniture and occasional tables, including our new experimental ‘black’ range, seen in the image above.

To see more of our furniture visit the Portfolio Website

We are open here at Venue 45, The Courtyard Gallery and Workshop every day during Dorset Art Weeks (24th May to 8th June) from 10am until 5pm. If you would like to come to our official opening on the Sunday evening of the Bank Holiday weekend (Sunday 25th May) and enjoy some wonderful locally produced Dorset food and wine please let us know:

Simon Pirie, / 01929 471900

To see all the artists and makers exhibiting in Dorset Art Weeks 2014 visit the website and start planning your days out now!


Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

I’ve been very quiet on the blog lately, i’ve not given up, actually there is lots of news to come soon on completed work, major new projects and forthcoming events. We have just been flat out for months and months. So for the time being I thought i’d just update the previous blog post, where I was contemplating which of the two sets of ‘Torii’ tables I had left i’d end up keeping as my own set. Well that’s just been decided…

This bleached sycamore and stainless steel pair that have just sold. It’s a nice story in itself; the clients who are very local to the workshop first saw them during Dorset Art Weeks 2010, it has just taken 4 years for the sale to come off. I remember them from the show and felt sure they would come back. It’s amazing this set of tables hadn’t sold, perhaps they just had their name on them! It all bodes well as a lead-up to Dorset Art Weeks 2014, which starts on the 24th May and runs through until 8th June. There will be plenty more on DAW very soon!

It seems only right I’m left with the scorched oak Torii tables. They were the final set of this limited edition, there were 12 sets made over 12 years in various timber combinations. The scorched oak pair are the most sculptural of the sets we made and as a result the least ‘furniture like’. They are also closely associated, in my mind at least, to a memorable trip to Japan and strong memories of my late brother.

There is more on that in the preceding blog story. It feels like a chapter closing in a way, but in a good way.