The clue's in the title, right? I've decided it's time to move on and bid farewell to this old blog of mine. You may recall I toyed with the idea of putting the brakes on CHAIRSMITH sometime ago, but I carried on for the sake of .... well, that's just the point, for the sake of what? Bogged down with chairs, chairs, chairs, I felt tied to the bloody things. Don't get me wrong, I like chairs* ... but I like other stuff too.
I turned my back on this place and started afresh elsewhere. I joined the good ship Instagram using a different nom de plume and have enjoyed the experience thus far. And Instagram doesn't involve writing too many words ... brilliant! Over there I've not strayed too far from what I know and have widened my subject area only slightly - from chair-related nonsense to home-related nonsense - but change is as good as a rest, or so they say, and the rest has been a welcome one. And change is good. But. And there is a but. I've missed blogging. I've missed words!
So let's cut to the chase. I've recently been working on a new format - new blog, new name, blah, blah. I'll reveal all once this new venture goes live, but before I sign off here for good, I wanted to take the time to say a big thank you to each and every one of you for keeping this CHAIRSMITH thing afloat. I've enjoyed the ride, and it's bought opportunities I could never have imagined when I set-off on my chair-documenting journey. Healthy readership coupled with reader engagement is what it's all about, and I'm so happy I've been able to experience both. From regular readers to those that dip their toes in to research particular designs or designers, I'm truly grateful you took the time to stop by.
Stay tuned ... and get ready to redirect your browsers!
After an overly long adjournment in proceedings I'm back with a book review.*
The book in question is Contemporary Upholstery by Hannah Stanton, a former graphic designer who caught the bug and signed up for a course in Traditional and Modern Upholstery taught by the 'legendary' Malcolm Hopkins. And he is legendary - even I've heard of him, spoken to him (before I was 'legendary' that is) and have his book sitting on the shelf.
Now I suppose at this point I should come clean - I've dabbled in upholstery, spent two years in a workshop learning how to upholster chairs using traditional methods and materials, took courses in traditional and modern upholstery and so on - I know a bit about the subject matter and just how tricky it is to master this craft. I also have a handful of books on upholstery - some good, some not so good. And for all these reasons I was eager to see how Hannah was going to approach her chosen topic and convey her expertise to the novice, would-be upholsterer.
To give you the blurb, the book is divided into three main sections, beginning with an overview of the essential tools and materials needed. This section includes photographic descriptions as well as a helpful narratives. A good start. The second section includes detailed advice on choosing and working with fabric. This section is comprehensive, and I particularly liked the general considerations that should be thought through when selecting a fabric as well as the chapter which discussed making fabric - digital printing, screen printing and the like.
Lastly, section three provides step-by-step tutorials that are technique rather than project driven and range from quick makeovers to simple solutions for particular upholstery processes. Accompanied by colourful illustrations, I like the way Hannah has included both modern and traditional techniques in this section, giving the reader the option of trying out different methods. And this section is truly comprehensive, covering topics ranging from a drop-in seat to lashing springs and tufting. My only criticism here would be the use of illustrations over photography. That being said, the book deemed the upholsterer's bible - Practical Upholstering by Frederick Palmer - contains nothing more than illustrations all the way through. So perhaps there is something to be said of utilising illustrations to convey what can sometimes be complicated instructions.
Alongside the techniques are case studies of projects by contemporary upholsterers which feature before and after photos of salvaged pieces alongside an explanation as to how the upholsterer tackled each project, the challenges faced and the knowledge they learnt. There are some great upholsterers featured here whose work I really admire - think Eleanor Young. And throughout the book there are contributions from other names which I have previously featured on the blog - Claire-Anne O-Brien, Tortie Hoare and Urban Upholstery, to name but a few.
Overall, the book is well presented with each page containing something informative or inspirational. Whilst I've tackled all of the projects covered in the book, there are one or two I haven't tried in a while, and this book had me thinking affectionately about laid cord and double cone springs and the huge sense of personal achievement that can be gained from taking on and completing any of the projects covered in Hannah's book. All in all, I'd like Contemporary Upholstery to sit on my book shelf, I'd like to flick through it from time to time and I know I would definitely refer to it in times of 'oh crumbs, now what do I do, does the needle go in this way, or that way, how does that knot go again?'.
* So we're all quite clear, I've not been paid (in money or in chairs) to write this review and I do not know and have never met the author. The only thing in it for me was the potential enjoyment of reading a good book. End of.
This post is long overdue, not least because (i) it is now February and I've posted diddly-squat so far this year (ii) what I'm about to write about is already fairly old news. But hey, around here old (but not too old) is good, right! I think I've mentioned before a relatively new title this side of the pond which goes by the name of Midcentury and bills itself as 'The Contemporary Guide to Modern Living'. For me, the novice midcentury enthusiast, it has become an invaluable resource. Championing the best of modern interiors, furniture and architecture is what the magazine does, but it also provides a thoroughly insightful read - all the way through, cover to cover, and with the requisite amount of eye-candy thrown in for good measure. The magazine is currently a subscription only, bi-annual offering which hits doormats around the world every May and November, so the good news is it's only a few months to go until Issue 05!
As a side note, pages 22/24, Issue 04, A/W 2012 features me, my words, my photograph of my chairs. For reals. No big deal. Whatever. OK, I can't tell you how excited I was and still am about this. I was asked to write a short 'comment' piece in Issue 04 with "the aim of giving a print voice to some of [our] favourite bloggers". I am nestled amongst wonderful company - Gerard McGuickin of Walnut Grey Design (who wrote a great guest-post here) and Katie Treggiden of Confessions of a Design Geek. I feel dizzy reminiscing about how dizzy this whole experience was! I know, so unbecoming of a professional writer, or am I an author now? Either way, I'm published! My life is complete.
I would urge anyone who's anyone to subscribe - whether you're in the know, don't know or think you might want to know more about midcentury design and its designers - I guarantee it will be pocket money well spent.
Hello. Yes it's me. Yes me. Not us, or we. Just me. How are you? Checking in to wish you all a happy new year and all the very best for 2013. I haven't been around here for a while, but hadn't forgot about you or this lil' ole blog of mine. Anyway, my new year's resolution is to give up writing in the first person plural, so here I am in the first person singular. It feels good. I'll be back with you soon, hopefully on a more regular basis. And you may even get to 'meet' the real me. All will be revealed as the new year unfolds!
Here's one we made a while ago and looking over the images again we've realised how top-heavy we are on lighting. There are some really beautiful pieces here - the Tab T lamp designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for FLOS is a classic in the making and the large Spica Light from Iacoli & McAllister is simply breath-taking. But our favourite has to be the wall light designed in the 1950s that sits on a teak and metal arm ... that one's right up our street.
Last night we came across some words which resonated with us .... "There are times when I feel this pointlessness with blogging - the vanity, the misconception, the pressure to constantly one-up yourself ...". Yes, yes, that's us. "... but there are other times when I'm abundantly grateful for it. It's given me incredible opportunities ...". And that's us too. Only recently we were presented with an incredible opportunity that just wouldn't have come about had we not confiscated this tiny corner of the internet and made it our own. And right now we're feeling abundantly grateful - not just because this incredible opportunity came knocking, but to our readers for bearing with and providing us with the momentum to keep at it.
We're in the midst of choosing some new lighting for our hallway, and decision making is proving a little tricky. Now if money were no object we'd probably opt for a little something by Poul Henningen - the PH Artichoke for instance, or the PH50 pendant - hey, we're not fussy. But as money is an object - curse you oh piggy bank - and with a concern that there may be a design rule out there somewhere which says hanging an Artichoke in a hallway ain't the done thing or something, we've taken a more realistic approach to lighting that sad and neglected corridor that is our hallway.
We're down to two options, both of which we love - the white E27 Socket Lamp by Mattias Stahbom for Muuto and the NUD Classic light fitting. Both perfect, although the NUD Classic comes with a huge array of colourful textile cables to choose from which adds another layer to the decision making process. Either fitting can be finished with a large filament light bulb - and the lightbulb, that lightbulb, is such a beautiful thing. Time to flip a coin ...
We've featured the work of textile designer Claire-Anne O'Brien before, and the great thing about designers - they're only a collection away from their next set of designs. So when we spotted this Fite stool from O'Brien's Olann collection we couldn't resist sharing it here. Isn't the colour and texture just a joy? So unique, so different. So fabulous.
And for those of you who need orange in their lives, we hope you enjoy these wonderful images!
Just love the colour palette - or rather lack of it - the bold prints on the wall, the contrasting floors throughout, the sweeping spaces and sense of light in this Stockholm apartment. This is all good, but it's the chair goodness that is really, really tasty. Those model 66 chairs by Alvar Aalto and the 3013s by Arne Jacobsen ... delicious!