This is where the magic happens, as they say.
To show there are no smoke and mirrors at work, here’s a chance to see how each Dalmatian Creation is, well, created. Check back here to see what I’m working on, as well as some random content inspired by working in the exclusive company of wood all day.
23 August 2010
Just reflecting on the Hexham fair this weekend. I had fun. Reflection over.
Seriously though, it was a really nice fair - lots of interesting stalls and met lots of nice people and chatted about all sorts things. This weekend also saw the launch of my Home Assesment Visits.
In its simplest form, the Home Assesment visit is designed to help people make the most of the problem areas of their home - those corners that nothing fits in but has so much potential, or those cabinets aren't serving all your cabinet needs.
The idea stems from a recent conversation about a kitchen. I realised that people can spend tens of thousands of pounds making best use of the space in their kitchens or bathrooms but when it comes to the rest of the house, furniture tends to be put wherever it fits. The irony is you can make simple improvements or add bespoke furniture that is made to fit a space for a fraction of the price of a kitchen.
If you think about it, people seem to invest the most amound of money on rooms that are not the most used rooms in their homes. In a house you have destination rooms (places where you go to stay) and utility rooms (those which you visit to serve a specific purpose but pass through to go to a destination room). Kitchens and bathrooms are utility rooms - you go there to do something. Whereas Living rooms, bedrooms etc are destination rooms - where you go to spend time, relax and unwind. I personally have never been driving home after a hard days work and thought "When I get in, I'm going to kick off my shoes, pour a nice glass of wine and sit and watch the Microwave".
So before you go out and buy that elaborate kitchen utensil that you will use once, then stuff in to a cupboard. Sit in your living room, or dining room or bedroom, look around and ask yourself "can I make this room as nice as it can be".
See you soon interweb.
02 July 2010
First things first. If you are a regular visitor to this website you may have noticed that there is a new "Outdoor Creations" section which still looks like the little creations section. We are mid change with the website - the little creations are being merged with the big creations - the website will now be split into two environments for furniture - "Indoor Creations" and "Outdoor Creations". This is to allow me to explore some new projects for outdoor living so bare with me while the site is updated...and while I actually make the outdoor furniture!
This change has largley been inspired by my own garden which currently resembles some sort of jungle, which made me decide that despite my various attempts, I HATE GARDENING! There are no ifs or buts about it, I hate gardening - you spend a day "weeding" (although weeds seem to be the only things I can grow sucessfully) only to find the following week they are all back again. So one evening I surveyed my garden, whistfully looked into the distance and in a moment reminiscent of the final scene in Gone with the Wind I proudly pronounced "I will never go weeding again"...
So the plan is hard landscaping all over with interesting outdoor furniture pieces dotted about. However, I have noticed as usual there are no interesting pieces of outdoor furniture on the highstreet. Benches are boring, tresstles are terrible.
So thats my plan for the summer.
Better get on with it then eh?
Se you round interweb.
PS. Keep an eye out for new products being updated shortly - I havefinally downloaded all the pictures I have of the various projects I have undertaken over the past few months so will upload them to the site shorlty...honest...!
i lived living north in a lively fashion...
01 April 2010
Ok, April fools day, erm...oh no, I seem to have, oh I dont know, grown a new arm...
APRIL FOOLS...ha, of course I didnt grow a new arm. Such wit.
Right, thats out the way, I would now like to say a big thank you to all the lovely people who came to visit my stall at Living North Live this weekend. It was nice to see you all.
And to all those who took a card, if you are looking for something in particular, why not fill out your details on the get in touch page (remember to answer the security question so the email comes through...the answer begins with a 'w' and ends with 'ood'...) or just email me direct and I can get you some designs and prices together.
I am currently working through the commissions taken at the fair, a few tables, stools and boxes which I am looking forward to getting stuck in with - my enjoyment is being bolstered because outside the sun is shining - that always makes me work with a skip in my step. Not literally obviously, skipping through a workshop would be a health and safety nightmare.
Anyway, this was just a quick note of thanks, so I'll keep it brief and say goodbye interweb.view comments (0)
all quiet on the dalmatian front
22 March 2010
I realised today that this paultry excuse for a blog has not been updated for some time.
I am currently hanging my cyber head in online shame for my lack of updates...
However, I would like to mention that I recently had a baby (obviously I didnt actually give birth to the baby, as I am a bloke...that would be an impossibility). But I have a new baby daughter. She is lovely, cute, and superbly brilliant in every way EXCEPT her obvious aversion to her father having a good night's sleep. Therefore when I sit down in front of my computer I am either a) exhausted b) covered in baby sick making blogging somewhat difficult.
That said, here I am, back again, and I am back with yet another looming show deadline and yet another moment of reflection on what I am doing. I have the Living North Live fair coming up at the end of this week. Although excited to be a part of the exhibition, it is proving difficult complete my exhibition pieces thanks to the aforementioned lack of sleep thanks to the aforementioned screaming mini-me! Lack of sleep and power tools are poor bedfellows...if I still have all my fingers when I head up to Gosforth Racecourse on the 26th I shall be immensely impressed.
As this forthcoming fair is a homes and interiors one, I am bringing two or three pieces as a showcase of my work rather than my normal mix of tables crackets boxes and trinkets (note my use of the phrase "two or three"...number three being dependant on me having more than 5 hours sleep to enable me to finish it!). I have based these items on a somewhat loose theme of polar expedition.
As a result of the recent arctic conditions we all faced this winter, I became fascinated with polar expeditions - Scott of the antarctic and the like - mainly becuase, while diging my car out of various snow drifts, I for some reason began to believe that I could reach the north pole. A belief that was soon dismissed after I had to mince back into the house to warm my poor hands on the radiator. That said my interest in Scott and Shackleton led me to get a book on the subject.
Its a great book, a lot of nice big pictures which I love in a book...I tend to bore easily so pictures (and shiny objects) keep me interested...
It is these images that inspired me - old ships, show shoes, the ramshackle feel to everthing that they had in those days has a certain delightful quality. I suppose today's polar exploration is all gortex, illuminous colous and GPS which doesnt have that appeal to me. That old world exploration is almost magical- its as if the phrase derring-do was invented specifically for these people.
Anyway, before I write an essay on polar explration, I shall just say the big pretty pictures in the sparkly book gave me some great ideas for lovely furniture. Please come along and buy them from me (again, I will blame the fact I have abandoned subtle marketing techniques for the outright sledgehammer technique of begging on my lack of sleep!!)
See you around interweb.
eventually designing for design events
14 September 2009
Hello cyberspace, long time no speak.
It is a funny old world, a couple of years ago I was bored in an office, watching the world pass me by. Today, I am making a range of tables for an exhibition at the international contemporary art gallery the BALTIC.
I have been lucky enough to be chosen to exhibit at the Design Event MART 09. This is a real challenge, exhibiting at the BALTIC is a crazy turn of events, but I am enjoying making these tables. There is something about a looming deadline and a heap of pressure that makes for some interesting work.
This got me thinking about design. Specifically design as a concept as opposed to art. I am of the Gombrich school of thinking "there is no such thing as Art, there are only artists". This quote has been my staple throughout all school and university essays. It was a tidy quote which I could use to talk about anything and prove any point. But now I have really thought about it, and in a similar vein you could say there is no such thing as design. Only designers.
But therein lies the problem. Who gets to decide who is a designer, and when does one become a designer?
I've never been a fan of labels, but someone asked me what my job title was. It was hard to answer. I make furniture. But there is a design process, a process which is inspired by my design 'style'. Does that make me a designer? Or a designer/maker? Most furniture makers "design" work before they make it - but generally this is refered to as planning. Am I a planner? What's the difference? Are all furniture makers designers?
I think the difference is perception. If I say I am a furniture designer, this conjours an image of cutting edge loft studio space - me wearing a suit with a t-shirt under the jacket. If I say I make furniture, this conjours a country workshop, all beige and dusty with block planes and wood shavings all over the place and me in a toolbelt. I can say what I like to whoever I like, but the important view is that of my customers. They get to decide what I am.
The one thing I know for sure is that this is a highly tangible title. If you go to the British Museum and look at the sculptures from the Parthenon most people consider these to be wonderful sculptures created by great artists. However, they were not created by artists but by atrisans. Stone masons. At the time these people were not considered artists - they were the labourours - they must have had the artistic flair but they were following the plans given to them. Over the years, people started to see their work as art. Perception changed the label.
I follow plans - the only difference is I also draw up the plans: in my notebook, on the computer or on a napkin in a coffee shop. I design when I choose to, just as make when I choose to. If I'm honest, I'm not too fussed about the title. I make things 'cos its fun!
After that wholly self gratifying treatise, I shall get back to being a designer, maker, planner, carpenter...I also gave myself a promotion and made myself head of I.T. last week...