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Newsletter: November 2015


I thought I would slip in one more newsletter before Christmas!

Free tickets are available for the fabulous Sussex Guild show at Midhurst. New course dates are on the website and there are articles about: chair arches, one-arm Windsors, Pinnstoler (Swedish Windsors) and finally perhaps (or not) an opportunity to revive the chair maker’s hat!!

Best wishes
James Mursell

New course dates

New course dates through to July 2016 are now on the website. There are two places remaining on the English double bow course 7-11 December if you are keen to get on with some chairmaking before Christmas, otherwise there are plenty of places available in 2016.

Please get in touch if you have any queries.

2015 calendar

sack back American double bow

double bow Windsor chair

Windsor settee


Vouchers for Christmas

More than half of my students have been given the opportunity to come on their course as the result of a present – usually birthday or Christmas!

With Christmas not too far away it’s worth noting that I can provide tailor-made vouchers, if you wish to give a course as a present. You can pay the deposit or the full course fee, whichever you wish, and I will produce a personalised voucher that you can give on the day.

The voucher can be for a specific course, or the date can be left open and the recipient can choose their course at a later date. Vouchers are valid for 2 years. If a deposit is paid, then the balance will be based on the course fee at the date of the course. If the full fee is paid then there will be no further charge even if the cost of courses increases.

Please contact me if you are interested.

Free Tickets to Sussex Guild Midhurst Show 28/29 November

The Sussex Guild has its largest (and best!) show at Midhurst 28/29 November. Free entry can be obtained by downloading tickets here.

There will be about 60 crafts people from Sussex exhibiting at the show in the wonderful buildings of Midhurst Rother College. Hope to see you there!

Chair arch

Carol and Norman attended a course recently and afterwards sent me a picture of a chair arch that had been built to promote a housing estate near High Wycombe! Background to its construction can be found at: http://www.publicworksgroup.net/projects/sitting

There is a long tradition of building such arches in High Wycombe. Read more about it at: http://www.wycombe.gov.uk/council-services/leisure-and-culture/local-and-family-history/chair-arches.aspx

One-arm Windsor Chairs

A short while ago on Instagram I came across a one-armed Windsor chair made by Mokkouyamagen (http://www.mokkouyamagen.com/ ) On enquiring why he had made a chair with a single arm, he explained that his client had requested a chair that he could sit on cross-legged! You can see more images at: https://instagram.com/mokkouyamagen/

The only other one-arm Windsor that I have come across is one designed for a cavalry officer so that he could sit with his sword in place. See: https://pegsandtails.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/the-original-campaign-chair/

While there is probably not a large market for these chairs it is great that they have been made for such specific purposes.

Swedish Windsors – Pinnstolar

Another fascinating conversation on Instagram – this time with a maker in Sweden who has given me some of the background as to how they began to be made there.

I had always believed that Windsors historically were only made in English-speaking countries. This still seems very strange, given what an effective method it is for making chairs, so I was very interested to hear that they had been made in Sweden for some time.

The following is from Bosse Blomquist:

“During the 1850’s a upper class lady living on Hooks Herrgård in the southern part of Sweden, Henriette Killander, either saw Windsor chairs on a trip to England or discovered them on a picture – I have not been able to confirm which version that is correct but probably the latter as most early Swedish chairs look more American than English. So it is most likely that it was an American chair she got interested in.

She had a sketch made of a fan back that she left to the local village carpenter and spinning wheel maker Daniel Ljungqvist in Svennarum who made a few chairs from the picture for her. He used birch, and seven sticks for the back. The chair also got a saddle seat.

He continued to make and sell these chairs and they became very popular, and other producers started to make variations of them.

In 1863 the maker Tunander in Vrigstad constructed a water power driven lathe and started a factory where stick chairs were made.

Another maker was Carl Johan Wigell in Malmbäck. Besides the standard stick chair he made a model with only six sticks in the back because of women complaining that their corsets were chafing when leaning against the middle stick. In 1893 the company got a gold medal at the world exhibition in Chicago for their chairs.

The factory still exists and their first chair model is yet in production. Can be seen here http://www.wigells.se/stolar/classic.aspx The design of that chair is very typical for the early Swedish look.”

See more of Bosse’s work as a Chairmaker and photographer (using early techniques) at:



Chairmaker’s hat

My daughter is studying at Bath University and when my wife and I visited her there we looked around the city art gallery.

It’s not often that you see pictures of chair makers, but this one was prominently displayed. I was particularly interested in his hat, as I always wear one outdoors (lack of hair!) but I don’t think I will adopt this style, even if it is a ‘chair maker’s hat’!