Leamington Open 2024
One of my systems drawings ('Blue Seven by Seven') is included in the biennial open exhibition held at the Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa.
The show runs from the 2nd of February until the 12th of May and is an eclectic mix of work from artists across the West Midlands. These judged open exhibitons have been held in Leamington for over 90 years.
Well worth a visit and all work is for sale!
Looking for Cosmati
My research paper into the so-called 'Great Pavement' at Westminster Abbey has now been read 1000 times!
Also known as the Cosmati Pavement, it is the most sacred spot in England and the only piece of true Cosmati-work north of the Alps. Much has been written about its symbolism and meaning (its now missing inscription once predicted the date of the end of the world) but I have looked at it from the point of view of its designer and how it was set out on the ground. There's a surprise ending...
It can be read at:
or email me to buy an illustrated print copy.
Winter Yard Sale
Hoping to see old friends and new at the Museum of the Home's Winter Yard Sale
on Sunday 26th November. Here's your chance to pick up a bargain while helping the Campaign for Change for Food Equality.
I'll be bringing chairs, prototypes, one-offs, prints, drawings, tea-trays... all on offer at hugely discounted prices. And there'll be many other designers, roll up, roll up, come along and have a great day! Kingsland Road, Shoreditch.
25 Buildings at bookartbookshop
Very pleased to say that 25 Buildings
(my artist's book of architecture sketches) is now available at the wonderful bookartbookshop,
Pitfield Street, London, N1.
Five Years of Co-Creation at The Hive, Birmingham
This exhibition features a unique collection of chairs made by inexperienced members of the local community at two Bodging Project
events at The Hive in Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter. Many thanks to Alex Hellum, Carl Clerkin, Gareth Neal, and William Warren. All part of our mission to encourage people to get involved with hands-on making.www.facebook.com/TheHiveJQ/?locale=en_GB
Cornwall Seat at the New Craftsman
My new Cornwall
two-seater in locally sourced English Ash is now available from the New Craftsman Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall. (Photo by Antony Crolla)
The New Craftsman (my favourite gallery) was founded back in the 1960s by potter Janet Leach. Original and best! www.newcraftsmanstives.com/about/
Looking for Le Corbusier
I've been back on my Le Corbusier visits and sketches in and around Paris; the highlight of this trip was an unexpected opportunity of seeing the wonderful Maisons Jaoul
at Neuilly-sur-Seine. Only two more buildings to see now and I will have done every Le-C building in France!
I'm delighted that my Devon
chairs are again available through Messums Wiltshire
, one of the country's best galleries.
Messums say they offer 'artists and collectors a unique environment to experience and engage with creative endeavour' - and this is exactly what they do!
Trombé garden bench
Summer is here at last and here is a recent commission for a Trombé
garden bench. I made the first of these over twenty years ago; production has gone through various iterations from being made by hand, being batch produced in Sweden for the Conran Shop and then various other outlets, and now at last coming full circle to being again made by me by hand.
Looking for Michelucci
Back in Pistoia looking at more of the work of the great Giovanni Michelucci. Here is the Palazzo della Cassa
completed in 1965 and perfectly sited amongst older buildings in the Piazza S. Leone.
Michelucci warrants a closer look! www.michelucci.it
A private commission that came from the Modern Shows
event: a two-seater version of the Devon chair. Here is the finished piece in French Oak with turnings in English Ash.
Hoping to see friends old and new at Modern Shows
at Dulwich College on Sunday 12th March for a one day pop-up, exhibiting chairs, prints, tea-trays, and copies of 25 Buildings
his printed sketchbook.
CAA are showing my Devon
chair at this year's COLLECT
at Somerset House. This leading international exhibition for contemporary craft and design opens to the public on the 3rd of March. "The fair features outstanding artworks made in the last five years by living artists and designers represented by close to 40 specialist galleries from across the globe, all selected by an expert advisory panel".
Bodging at The Hive Birmingham
The Bodging Project
was out and about again this week, running a 4-day event back at The Hive. I was joined by Alex Hellum, Carl Clerkin, and William Warren, we introduced 28 members of the public to the idea of bodging a chair together from found objects and offcuts. Thanks to all involved!
Launch of 25 Buildings
A facsimile sketchbook containing a selection of on-site architectural sketches and notes made over many years is launched for the New Year.
Subjects are wide ranging; from Borromini to Le Corbusier, from the Abbaye du Thoronet to Coventry Railway Station, spiral-bound and presented in a box with lid. Available for the 'shop' section of this website.
CAA Gallery pop-up
I am exhibiting with Contemporary Applied Arts at their Christmas pop-up exhibition at Number 14 Gallery in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
The show opens on Tuesday 13th December and runs until the following Sunday. Lots of lovely things!
For the first time since the lockdown I'll be exhibiting with Modern Shows
at Dulwich College, on Sunday 20th November. Doors open 10am.
This is a fantastic one day event which combines mid-century dealers with the best in contemporary design - all in a 1960s landmark building.
Discerning Eye Exhibition 2022
is included in this year's Discerning Eye
exhibition at the Mall Galleries.
The image is a digital C-type photograph on aluminium, and was selected for the show by artist Ansel Krut.
The exhibition runs from the 11th to the 20th of October, and the online catalogue can be viewed at:
RWA Bristol : 169th Annual Open Exhibition
Delighted that my collage 15 Degrees
is one of the prize-winners at this year's open exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy.
The long-running Annual Open 'reflects the RWA’s ongoing commitment to championing world-class art in the region and creating opportunities for artists'.
The show is on from the 8th of October until the 8th of January. Winning a generous cash prize is such a help; many thanks to the selectors.
Contemporary Applied Arts
I have been invited to join Contemporary Applied Art, London's original multi-disciplinary applied arts gallery.
For more than 70 years, CAA has championed and promoted only the very best of British craft, and represents more than two hundred leading British-based craft-maker artists working in ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, metal, paper, textiles and wood.
RBSA Prize Exhibition
The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists is Birmingham's longest established gallery, dating back to 1814. The annual RBSA Prize Exhibition is an open submission exhibion selected by a judging panel; this year over 550 works were received from artists based in the UK and internationally. The exhibition runs from the 15th September until the 15th October.
I am delighted that my painting Uffizi
has been awarded the Anne Judd Memorial Prize.
All are welcome to attend the Artists' Talk in the Gallery at 2pm on the 15th of October. www.rbsa.org.uk/prizeexhibition2022
MAC at 60
Unbelievably it is 60 years since the opening of the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham. To mark the occasion 60 objects will form a unique exhibition, each piece chosen to tell the stories of people's connections to the MAC from across the six decades.
The show (3rd Sept - 6th Nov) includes a drawing I made when I was eleven years old (!) of the MAC's Hexagon building under construction in the mid 60s. macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/mac-at-60-a-history-of-mac-in-60-objects
The Bodging Project at The Hive
As part of the Craft Council's Make! Craft! Live!
(50 events celebrating 50 years of the Crafts Council) the Bodging Project (myself, Alex Hellum, Carl Clerkin, and Gareth Neal) have presented a week-long event at The Hive in Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter. The Hive's Gallery was turned into a bustling woodwork shop to make a table and set of chairs from reclaimed materials for the Hive Café.
Green & Stone Summer Exhibition
My painting 10 Degrees
(goauche on paper) has been selected for Green & Stone's summer show 2022.
Green and Stone (artists' suppliers) was established on the King's Road in 1927. Its independent status has ensured a loyal clientele who prefer to browse in this fantastic Alladin's Cave rather than shop online.
The Birmingham Art Book
Two of my drawings are included in the newly-published Birmingham Art Book
This is the seventh in The City Through the Eyes of Its Artists
series edited by Emma Bennett.
Others are on Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Dublin, and Bristol/Bath.
Available from 'all good booksellers'
Crafts Council Directory
I am now on the Craft Council's website directory of makers - a searchable database of over 800 leading craft makers from across the UK.
Founded in 1972, the Crafts Council is the national charity for craft, and fosters the belief that 'craft skills and knowledge enrich and uplift us as individuals, and, in doing so, will change our world for the better'.
chairs (now made by myself by hand) are showing at Messums Wiltshire. Messums Wiltshire is a leading multi-purpose gallery and arts centre, housed in the largest medieval tithe barn in England, built in the 13th century.
A History of MAC in 60 Objects
One of my childhood drawings (!) has been selected as one of 60 objects in an exhibition which opens in September to record personal experiences of the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) and how it has contributed to the everyday lives of residents, artists, visitors, and staff. More details at: macbirmingham.co.uk/exhibition/mac-at-60-a-history-of-mac-in-60-objects
New bathroom collection for Made By The Forge
Suffolk-based artisan blacksmiths Made By The Forge
have just launched a new range of bathroom accessories, which I have designed for them.
The collection is called Shapes
as each piece has a geometric shape-based theme. Everything is entirely handcrafted at The Forge by Richard Fishenden and his team.
For more details go to: www.madebytheforge.co.uk/homeware/bathroom.html
Artefact at the Design Centre,Chelsea Harbour
I'll be one of the speakers at Grant Gibson's Conversations in Craft
for this year's Contemporary Craft Fair at Chelsea Harbour. The discussion's theme will be 'Past and Present'; others taking part will be Deborah Pocock from QEST, Mary Lewis (Heritage Crafts Association), and Debika Ray (Crafts magazine). A question:As the world becomes increasingly digital are we in danger of losing traditional hand skills? And, if we are, does it really matter?
It's just been announced that the Bodging Project has been selected as one of the 50 events which celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Crafts Council. The event will take place in August of this year when Alex Hellum, Carl Clerkin, Gareth Neal, William Warren and myself will present Brum Bodge at The Hive
Details at: www.craftscouncil.org.uk/whats-on/the-bodging-project
Mendlesham Dining Chairs
Here is a completed commission for a pair of Modern Mendlesham
dining chairs, ready for delivery. The distinctive ball decoration in the backrest derives from traditional Mendlesham chair designs. Having the back frames pass through the seat and locate in the stretcher rail below gives enormous strength to the construction.
Many thanks to old friend Pete Knight for hand-adzing the seats
A recent commission is for a pair of Modern Mendlesham
dining chairs - a contemporary take on the distinctive chairs originally made in the 19th century by the Day family in the Suffolk village of Mendlesham - something I've researched a few years ago as part of my Modern Regionals
Although I'm nearly always drawing-based, sometimes with chairs it's more satisfactory to make a rough mock-up like this one - in effect a 3D drawing - in order to get all the angles right, and the 'stance' or poise of a chair.
chair was originally designed back in 2012 as a modern stick-back chair that could be made without specialist equipment - for example the seat shape is faceted rather than adzed, and the back rail is a laminated bend rather than made in a steam oven. During lockdown I've returned to making Devon
as a hand-crafted piece myself. Each chair is signed and dated.
Drawing in St Ives
I've just been on a sketching trip to St Ives, Cornwall, researching and recording viewpoints that are significant in the story of art in St Ives.
This drawing (left) shows the view from Trezion (former home of Ben Nicholson) looking down to the harbour and the three arches of Smeaton's Pier.
Hopefully part of an exhibition early next year.
The Crafts Council's Big 50
To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Crafts Council asked artists, curators, critics and educators to pick the milestones that have defined the craft world over the last five decades. Catherine Lock proposed Bodging Milano
from 2010, a back-to-basics chair-making project set up by myself and Rory Dodd which has forged links between traditional craft and contemporary design. 'The Bodging Milano project,' wrote Catherine, 'highlighted the importance of playfulness, innovation, and collaboration in furthering craft.'
London Design Festival
This year SCP celebrate 30 years of continuous production of Matthew Hilton's iconic Balzac
chair. In the 1990s when I was a visiting tutor at Central Saint Martins I made a series of filmed no-filter conversations with designers of the day. Here's one featuring Matthew in 1997, brought out of hiding for LDF 21. news.scp.co.uk/2021/09/in-conversation-with-matthew-hilton/
Oak and walnut dining table
Another collaboration with Alan and Steven from Hill Top Joinery is this one-off dining table commissioned by a private client for her new garden room. It's in a combination of oak and walnut and is three metres in length. The client said : You have created a masterpiece! Thank you so much, we are all delighted..
Many thanks to Trombe for the recommendation www.trombe.co.uk
Abstraction and Chairs
In the new Jewellery Quarter studio I am working on a series of plywood ideas for chairs and Jules Roman is concentrating on Abstract Expressionism. Also in our yard is: Maureen's Polishing Shop, two brothers making moulded mobile 'phone cases, two jewellery workshops, and a retired vicar writing books.
Quite a nice mix.
New studio in the Jewellery Quarter
I'm soon moving into a new studio/workshop in Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter. Here there are over 700 jewellery workshops and possibly the last remnant of proper Brumagem making - a busy mix of back-street manufacturing, workshops up alleys, and can-do fixing-it.
Seating for Nando's
Hill Top Joinery and I have just completed and installed an exceptionally long and snakey plywood bench for the reception area of Nando's head office in Putney.
What's interesting about Nando's is that they don't just serve PERi-PERi, they have the largest collection of contemorary art from Southern African in the world!
Click here to see : www.nandos.co.uk/explore/art/
The New Craftsman
My handmade Devon chair is now available at The New Craftsman Gallery
in St Ives, Cornwall. The New Craftsman was founded in the 1960s by potter Janet Leach. Since that time, it has exhibited the work of many of the UKs most important and influential artists and is an authority on 20th century St Ives art and contemporary British craft. www.newcraftsmanstives.com/about/
Reception desk for The Barrel Store
I've been commissioned by New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, to design a reception desk for The Barrel Store
- their 'arts youth hostel' where (in more normal times) you can stay while attending a range of exceptional courses in art and craft. www.thebarrelstore.co.uk/
Ronchamp trays now at SCP
My Ronchamp tea-trays are now available at SCP - home of the very best in beautiful, functional, contemporary design products.
During the covid lockdown, homewares genius Ella Doran set up a project called Design Your Own Tray
. So I sent her my drawing of Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp and this is the result.
Chairs for Starck Studio
My Tottenham Court Mod
chairs and barstools have been specified by Philippe Starck Studio for various projects in Paris. Here are the first of a batch of over 120 pieces now in production at Hotchkiss Oak Furniture in Derbyshire. They'll be finished in Tung Oil ready for delivery to the Boulevard Pasteur in September.
More on Thomas Hotchkiss at: www.hotchkissfurniture.co.uk/about-us/
ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE,
During the lockdown I am taking part in 'Artist Support Pledge' which was set up by artist Matthew Burroughs in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Artists and makers post images on Instagram using #artistsupportpledge with details of their work and prices. To encourage sales all works are priced no more than £200. Every time an artist reaches £1,000 of sales, they pledge to buy £200 of work from other artists.
Etching with Ironbridge Fine Arts
I've just started working with Ironbridge Fine Arts on a new project to re-create some of my Le Corbusier drawings as hand-printed etchings.
It's still early days on this but already there are very many new possibilities.
(Project temporarily on hold due to the coronavirus lockdown. More soon!)
Design Our World : Gendered Innovations
My drawing of E1027
- Eileen Gray's iconic villa at Roquebrune Cap Martin - is featured in the exhibition Design Our World: Gendered Innovations,
held by the National Taiwan Science Education Center. The show tells the stories of female scientists, engineers, and inventors from the Middle Ages to our times, and explores the historical relationship between women and science.