Around the Workshop – August

Woodley DetailWoodley Piv DrAugust has been more about what’s coming than what’s actually here. It’s also been a continuation of July and its ‘major’ events. This is manifesting itself in my life as sleepless nights with our now 10 week old baby, I’m still not at full pace as a result, and blimey it’s hard work! Just had the great news that John and Emily are also expecting their first baby in February, this soon after the wedding which I mentioned in the last ‘Around the Workshop’. So lots of life / work balance stuff happening, but it’s all good.

Still things are looking up in terms of size and scope of projects in the pipeline, this includes a big study, a couple of bespoke kitchens, the Shaftesbury public art work for Persimmon Homes / Common Places, some funky seating for a shopping arcade and plenty of other stuff besides.

Woodley CT Top

I’ve been rather chained to the design work as a result but have ventured through the workshop this week to take some snaps of what’s going on. We are working on some rather nice tables in English walnut, one large coffee table and a pair of curved fronted side tables with pivoting drawers. The coffee table is impressive because of its size and the shear beauty of the walnut top. We have book-matched consecutive boards which just adds to it. Two big draws below in the frame, probably the best coffee table we have made.

Woodley ST Pair

The 3 legged side tables are all together more dainty and subtle. For the same client and from the same tree – they are just lovely! The pivot drawers are a really sexy feature and I particularly love the grain on the handle detail in relation to the leg. They are actually really quite complicated to make because of all the opposing grain directions and joints. Somehow because they are a pair they seem more special as well. As I write they are just having the last sanding before being lacqured. I’ll make sure these get photographed.

We have all this bigger project stuff coming in which is great, but recently I’ve been worried that the smaller projects have been drying up a bit. Ideally it’s great to get a balance of big and small stuff, those smaller ones being able to fill the schedule when the builders and architects start pushing projects back, causing mayhem to our planning. I think it’s an autumn thing, but last week the phone started to ring and by the weekend we had secured 3 jobs – 2 different console tables and an even bigger coffee table than the one we are currently making. So, perhaps nothing to worry about at all.


We did the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design show in Cheltenham at the end of August, it is still the biggest show during the year for designer-makers and I must say I really enjoyed it this year. It does pull in a very knowledgeable crowd, most of the visitors have been going for years and can spot a blagger at 100 paces. Jason Heap who now runs the show has given it a very different feel, more relaxed without losing that sense that it is very professional. We didn’t sell the ‘Banquet’ table or the ‘Oryx2’ armchairs, but did have a few very interesting conversations that may lead somewhere. I’m philosophical about shows now, I don’t expect to sell anything, but it’s never a waste of time providing the show and audience are of good enough quality.

Talking of shows we are thinking about doing an open workshop weekend here in mid October, will make a final decision this week. After that it’s probably another Millinery Works show in London early in 2012.

Study to design now, scorched oak and bleached ash!?!