Autumn is really with us now. Cold nights, yellowing leaves and the geese flying overhead in their wonderful ‘V’ formations are convincing signs.
In this newsletter I announce a new 4-day course in January; report on my travels in Australia – including meeting a number of chair makers, and give you notice of two excellent shows that I will be attending in October and December. Finally, there’s a picture from a former student, Garry Wood, who has been busy making chairs at home.
Course availability for the remainder of 2017
Places for the rest of the year are now limited:
9-13 October English double bow 1
20-24 November Crown Windsor 3
However, at present, there are plenty of places on courses in the New Year.
January 8-12 Rocking chair
January 22-26 NEW! Low-comb side chair – 4 days
February 5-9 Continuous arm
February 26 – March 2 Classic double bow
March 12-16 Settee
March 26-30 Crown Windsor
April 16-20 Rocking chair
April 28-29 Stool
May 14-18 Farmhouse double bow (English double bow with turned arm posts)If you wish to book a course, please contact me to check availability.
If a place is available, I ask for a deposit of £275 to secure the booking. On receipt, I will email to confirm and give you the final joining details.
New 4-day course: Low-comb Side Chair
As a departure from the usual course pattern I will be offering a 4-day course for a new side chair 22-26 January 2018. This is in place of the sack back course that has previously been advertised.
This chair has been very well received by students and by the general public at the Sussex Guild show at Pashley Manor at the end of August.
It is designed to be a compact side chair, which is ideal for eating at a table and also as a desk or bedroom chair. There is excellent lumbar support, making it comfortable for long periods.
The course will involve steam bending the crest, shaping the legs on a lathe and shaving the seven spindles. The seat will be carved entirely by hand. The standard wood for the seat will be tulipwood, with an option to upgrade to ash for an additional £30.
The course will run Monday to Thursday and generous food/refreshments will also be provided during the day to the same standard as the usual 5-day courses.
Cost of the course: £530
Contact me to check for availability.
I have two shows scheduled for the rest of the year:
27-29 October: Craft in Focus
Crowthorne, Berkshire (Wellington College)
This is an excellent show with a very wide range of exhibitors from around the country. Unusually, it is open Friday afternoon through to Sunday.
2-3 December: Sussex Guild
Midhurst Rother College, Midhurst, West Sussex.
This is the largest and most popular of our Guild shows and we will have nearly 60 members exhibiting in the run-up to Christmas.
I strongly recommend that you put this in your diary. Click here to download free tickets and there will also be a link on my homepage.
In August, my wife and I spent 3 glorious weeks in Australia. I am lucky to have cousins near Melbourne and in Sydney and it was great to visit them again after 37 years!
More relevant to this newsletter and thanks to the power of Instagram, we also visited six chairmakers, making it something of a busman’s holiday. Although my wife was not entirely certain about such a wood-weighting to the holiday when we departed, by the end we both agreed that it was probably the best feature of the holiday!
What a civilised city! Not too big in the centre, easy to find one’s way about, lots to see and not too crowded. The latter may have been caused by the fact that our first day was apparently the coldest August day in about 40 years! Unexpectedly, I bought a pair of long Johns that same day!
We were shown around the city by a former student of mine, Jane Tribe. Jane had taken one of my very early West Dean courses and we showed us her chair from 2005. I am delighted that she is still making chairs, currently working on a Shaker bench.
Jane introduced us to Alistair Boell and took us to his Melbourne Guild of Fine Woodwork workshops. Alistair runs a number of courses (including Windsor chairs) and has several woodworkers operating from his shop. It was great to share experiences of running courses and to talk Windsor chairs, inevitably.
While we were in Melbourne we also met Bern Chandley. Bern makes sublime Windsor chairs, many to his own designs and we found that we had a lot in common. We talked for hours! You will find one of his chairs on the back cover of Fine Woodworking – just about the ultimate endorsement from the woodworking community!
Roughly 100 miles from Melbourne we also met Greg Stirling. Greg has been making English style chairs and other furniture for many years. He and his wife were also very generous with their hospitality.
Finally, I was hoping to meet up with Glen Rundell again after he took a course with me last autumn, but he was in America instructing! However, we did call in to see his amazing shop in the lovely small town of Kyneton, which he runs with his wife Lisa.