Tag: DESIGN

Many (Ottoman) Hands make light work…Working with my Brother Rodney

 This is my younger brother Rodney Clarke.
Like me and our father before us, He’s not afraid of a bit of hard graft and he’s also pretty handy (check out the Pioneer Skatepark he and his mates have built and rebuilt over the years)
Over Xmas and new year he, like me, worked his nuts off, as he was commissioned to design and build 6 cabinets (like the one he’s posing with below)with drawers, along with a load of other display stands, u
sing reclaimed wood, for  the “Ottoman Hands” Jewellery exhibition which took place from the 10th -12th January .

Rodneys Finished Cabinets1

The cabinets were designed by Rod to be completely modular, breaking down into transportable flat packs to be reassembled at the exhibition.
It was my pleasure and honour working with my brother and being involved the construction of each drawer base. 

75 in all had a padded bases, covered in calico for The Ottoman Hands jewellery stand at Earls Court.
Well done bruv! Great working with you. I look forward to our next collaboration!

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Stoke Newington Xmas indoor market..The Gift that just keeps on giving!

 Having successfully debuted last year it was difficult to not come to this event without expectations, you never know with markets at Christmas.

To be honest, 2014’s event certainly wasn’t as busy as the first time around. There simply wasn’t as much footfall as the year before. Whether that was due to a number of simultaneous events happening around Stoke Newington Town Hall that weekend, the weather, or the public mood (preferring to shop online in advance rather than brave the wind, cold & rain),  or our pitch positioning inside the hall, I “just” made my sales targets  (Despite some stiff competition for the first time I wasn’t the only upholsterer in the village displaying upholstered furniture items) with the help of my mobile and through it ever-present social media, I was able to reach people from the event who were unable to make it down, or were simply unaware that the event was happening in the first place!

What this event always does for me is it gives me an opportunity to engage with the public at large as well as get feedback, chat about my work and upholstery in general as well as give out loads of business cards and flyers  which resulted in a fair few follow-up enquiries which turned into customer sales

and the children that did turn up loved playing on the furniture!

(they’ve also really got to sort out that mulled wine though;)

My heartfelt thanks go out to Katy & Anna for helping me produce the stock during the runnup to what was a particularly busy xmas period, as well as all the great friends who bothered to come over and lend their support.

Will I take part next year if I’m offered a pitch again considering the potential setbacks? …Of course! An indoor xmas market can be the gift that just keeps on giving!

Which has got me thinking , 2015 would be great if I could find the time, energy and opportunity to take part in a few more weekend markets or even a trade fair?

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Double trouble ..

I cannot deny that finishing these pieces of mid-century british furniture from G-plan was a tremendous relief for me (as well as the customer) It represented overcoming a real mental hurdle as for some reason I had got myself mentally “stuck”: I had previously upholstered a type 6250 in fabric for a friend before however this time I was asked to refurbish and recover these in a beautiful “Cowboy Burnt Tan” hide from Wildman & Bugby. So converting the fabric meterage to “hides” was a new lesson. I was recommended to the owners of these chairs, who are a lovely family living up In Chalfont St. Giles. They  also gave me  a matching footstool, a bent plywood G.A. Jenkins /Tecta chair and a children’s toy to re-upholster, recover and repair   respectively) of these pieces by  Photographer and friend Roulla Giorgio.  They showed me great patience during the process of producing these I went for an “advanced buttoning tutorial from my old tutor through which I gained more confidence to tackle both pieces.

I didn’t do myself any favours by going for full deep buttoning whereas the “original” cover only had “floating” buttons through sewn seams and also choosing to create a custom suspension system; re-enforcing the base of each seat first to accommodate carefully positioned Serpentine (zig-zag) springs, lashed together  between the original rocking mechanisms so that they provided optimum support without interfering with the rockers. This replaced the elastic green webbing which the seats bases had been previously fitted with.

..before

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and after

 

 

 

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Presenting the final of the two chairs gave me an opportunity to invite Roulla to accompany me to the family home to finally shoot the chairs and that evening  we were both treated to a Sushi dinner made by the family

My sincere thanks to Emilios & Julia , Roulla Giorgio and Wendy Shorter Interiors for the training.

Ligne Roset Petite Siestre Armchair in Yarwood Hammersmith Moss Leather

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..After

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While getting over a rotten head cold/feeling run down.. this became my first reclining armchair, a 12-year old Ligne Roset “Petite Seistre” in Yarwood Hammersmith “moss” Leather with mustard top-stitching. Challenges (apart from top-stitching ) involved sourcing the right colour and sized eyelets for fitting the head rest struts, and sourcing a new feet to replace the plastic ones (especially the one odd shaped one that was fitted as a replacement).

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Working with Paul Firbank on Kevin’s McCloud’s Supersized Salvage

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In December/January this year I was contacted by a Paul Firbank, AKA The Rag & Bone Man, to come up with a technical solution to a chair he had designed and built. Paul is a wizard transforming scrap metal into desirable objects, lighting and furniture (check out some of his amazing work in this great video below)

The Rag & Bone Man from Make Your Bones on Vimeo.

At his invitation to site,  I opened a door (to what I thought was a disused retail space nearby Wembley Stadium) and was totally stunned (and excited)by what I saw: Paul and his team had been breaking up an Airbus 320 commercial airliner (minus its engines and landing gear). Working day & night transforming as much of the aircraft as they could into beautiful furniture , desirable household items and lighting .

 

After picking up my jaw up off the ground, Paul showed me around the space,  explaining the reason why he took on such a massive project: As part of a programme by Kevin McCloud for Channel 4, where Kevin Illustrates  how to combat the challenge of growing industrial waste in our environment through upcycling & recycling in a 90-minute TV special,through challenging three designers  (one of which being Paul )to turn an entire Airbus A320 into hundreds of amazing new products in a giant ‘Up-cycling’ experiment. Their task is to find new uses for as much of the plane as possible within the given timeframe, leaving only an empty hangar behind them. The designers to turn the aircraft into loads of amazing new products, the best of the bespoke items would then be auctioned off, with the proceeds (hopefully exceeding the purchase price for the aircraft )going to childrens cancer charity The NCCA.

After showing me around the site Paul presented the chair he wanted help with.  His work is incredible! The armrests came from the airplane fuselages structural beams. Paul used the suspension fashioned from the webbing used to carry cargo/luggage.

 

 

One of my challenges involved reshaping the webbing: Each join on the cargo netting was originally glued as well as stitched together and had to be taken apart without compromising its tensile strength and load-carrying capacity.

The single seat itself was created fusing two of the existing passenger seats. Refurbishing & modifying them so the user can enjoy a relaxed and supported position with a good lower back support. Adjusters were stitched into the seat’s suspension for users to adjust the suspension where required.

From the various fabrics discussed and presented to Paul,  a smart,strong and complimentary coloured tweed from Bute Fabrics in Scotland was chosen. As I worked with the fabric I imagined and applied a stitched, quilted pattern

that I thought would respect the original design lines of the passenger seats.

Overall, it felt a great privilege to be involved in such an exciting innovative project which steps up to illustrate to the extreme the growing problem of industrial waste which strikes to the heart

of a real social, environmental and economic concern.

My sincere and deep thanks go out to Anna Frisch & Ana De Matos for their advice &  support.

Aine Sheehan for her assistance in realising this chairs prototype upholstery

 & Joanna Williams & Jennifer Wingfield @ Flock for their support

Bute Fabrics for their swift response and great service
ArrowMedia
and mostly to Paul & Lizzie  for giving me the opportunity.

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Twin Ercol “Mirakels”…

Earlier this March as spring was beginning to show flashes of a little colour,  I had the great pleasure in refurbishing and recovering  a pair of Ercol’s in a lovely Svenskt Tenn Josef Frank original print from 1930’s called “Mirakel”for a wonderful customer in Walthamstow.. These took alittle longer than necessary as I added my own personal touch of stitching the seat and back cushions with a twin-needle effect in 6 colours. The final finish brought some much needed colour to the studio after the grey sky’s and torrential rain of the previous weeks.

They certainly brightened my customer’s faces upon delivery too!

Before-Ercols

before…

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and after!

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“Sweets for my Suite”…An Art Deco-style 3-piece in Designers Guild Richelieu Dusk & Aubergine

My sincerest thanks to Aine Sheehan for her french polishing,  and finishing(hand-sewing)skills, Anna F for her pattern-forming & cutting and Ola (of Global Chauffeurs ), as well as Addison Lee vans for assisting me in the refurbishment,recover ,production and delivery of a 3-piece art-deco-style suite and complete set of 16 bespoke banquette seat cushions for a very patient high-profile client in Clapham, South London. A lot of stitching (particularly double-piping)went into this. Many lessons in time, human resourcing and project management learned.

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Bespoke seating

Piped bench seating pads in Flocks Algate East Minor delivered to happy client At the end of February to SE22..
Sometimes pulling the all-nighter is worth it if nothing else  just to see their faces light up when their bespoke items are delivered personally.Angela-Rush-Seat-Pads-

Atelier Ray Clarke Ltd T/A Ray Clarke Upholstery & Design Company registration number :12018355