It has been a fulfilling 15 months since my last post.
The main event has been the exhibition ‘After the Storm‘ , held in the John Hope Gateway Gallery of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. 12 cabinet makers from the Scottish Furniture Makers Association designed and made furniture using timber from the gardens blown down in 2012 by Cyclone Andrea. Oak, cedar, maple and chestnut formed the most usable wood. With the support of Forestry Commission Scotland, RBGE and members of SFMA, the exhibition became a celebration of creative talent.
Here is an image of the piece I collaborated on with Gavin Robertson – Gavin the experienced maker and me the designer. Always an interesting interchange when two creative people work together for common purpose. I hope we will have the opportunity to do this again.
Tsunami chart cabinet made from cedar and yew
Many people experience the rising of water, albeit gently but inexorable, over the parapets designed to protect.
The exhibition closes on 28th May.
A book written to complement the event is available in the shop. It explores ecological change, resilience and renewal in the context of Cyclone Andrea and has pictures of the furniture.
In addition to the exhibition, a bench for the gardens has been sponsored by the MS society (Edinburgh and the Lothians) and made by Angus Ross. It is to be a place of reflection and a destination for visitors. The MS Society were particularly supportive of this project because people who have the condition have had to make major adjustments to their life and adapt to new expectations.
Here’s some more stuff for furniture makers, furniture lovers, design geeks and generally happy people. There may be a laugh along the way. I’d love to hear from you if you are moved to respond, just a click away. The website will soon link to jonathanrosedesigns facebook page which I expect to have the usual Facebook stuff, and my tweets when they start up again.
Over the last few weeks I have been working in the MAKE Aberdeen workshop, run by Peacock Visual Arts and Aberdeen City council at 17 Belmont Street. In there is a laser cutter, digital sewing machine, 3D printer, flatbed router and some electrical stuff. Really helpful staff, Iain and Conner, especially if you have limited vector graphics skills.
There is a big question out there for me right now – how do you decorate wood or indeed why would you do so if it is such a beautiful material? Here is what I’m experimenting with; inlaying copper into wood. It has a colour offer, a shape offer and wire comes in remarkably accurate widths. This combination has the strange effect of being visible if the light is shining in one direction yet invisible from another.
From the laser cutter came this simple shape – about 20mm square. Combining it with 2 mm plate copper and I could get a shape like this. The laser cutter couldn’t do the copper, but Poseidon (Old Meldrum) have a water-jet cutter that can. This is a remarkable tool – cuts 50mm granite.
No more scalpels, no more files. A big question – what new skills?
Then what started out as a picture like this; a 1920s textile, possibly Bauhaus or Omega workshops
could turn into a decoration like this – or at least the starting point.
I was asked to design two cafe tables as a replacement for a couple of tired Ikea tables in my local bistro in Banchory. This first one (click on the images to view the process) was inspired by the views up the Feugh to Clachnaben.
And the second one (again click to view inspiration to implementation) depicts the allotments behind the bistro.
For both tables I used a selection of solid woods, fitted together using a router template. This sort of pictorial rendering is usually done with verneers, but using solid woods gives a fine undulation to the surface and a feeling of permanence.
Segment 1, an unusual dining table, was my first exhibition piece. It was something I’d wanted to extend myself with: a fractal triangle but on a larger scale.
Segment 1 has an unconventional seating arrangement for a dining table. Seven can fit comfortably with no head of table. This enables close interaction with people sitting across from each other. Three of these tables together form a three metre circle. So there are lots of opportunities for a restaurant to create a flexible dining arrangement.
The wood colours were chosen to reflect the parts of an orange; fumed oak for the skin, pippy oak for the flesh and sycamore for the pith.
Here is an idea that originated from a bay window seat in Glasgow and translated into a modern version of the nesting tables. It wasn’t until I started using a Domino jointer that I could satisfactorily joint the legs to the tops.
I had to joint narrow boards for one set as I didn’t have enough wide boards. The results were surprising – when fitted together as six they revealed a triangle in the centre. Where did that come from?
Now six fit together in one stack and they are light enough to move with one hand. Useful for just about any side table or coffee table requirements, or even support for artwork.
How can a joint be made into a table? Werner Blaser (pupil of Mies van der Rohe, Bauhaus) had some fun experimenting with the joint and so did I with its translation to a table. This piece, known as ‘cubist’ lends itself to CNC production as only two different shapes are used. The colouring gives the impression of an isometric cube but the interlocking at the centre makes it slightly offset. Picasso would have understood this.
Movement in the wood is accommodated by each component sliding on the one next door, which gives a moving discontinuity at three of the six corners. I wonder if it could be used as a humidity meter?
I have a plan to develop this piece into something available from my website.
I love that the deep frame can be used as a small shelf for something precious, pretty or useful. It could be more a picture than a mirror, depending on who you are looking at. The wood is reflected in the mirror, which gives a depth to the object depending on which angle it is viewed from. And there is something amusing about a pair of mirror image mirrors reflecting themselves.