Whenever I make something, I always try to incorporate some new skill so that I can learn while creating. This time I went a little over board. My daughter was in need of a lap desk to replace the dollar store plastic one that had an untimely death when she used it for steeple chase practice in the living room… My father made my brother and I two such desks when we were kids, except that he simply used three pieces of plywood and some piano hinges (in hindsight, not a bad idea to be honest…). I decided I was going to go much more upscale!
My mid century modern inspired lap desk started out as a way to practice bending plywood. I made the apron of it from several layers of 1/8″ baltic birch plywood that I bent around a form. Then I attached it to the top which I decided to veneer with some walnut I had lying around. I was using the white glue and iron technique which unfortunately led to a few large cracks. This meant I needed to do some inlay to cover up these cracks. The legs were made using angled bridle joints, and finally the top was coated with an epoxy finish. Did I mention I had never done any of these skills before?
The final piece is not something I am truly proud of, there are many “first time” mistakes which I have learnt from and will be better able to handle next time. It’s only failing if you aren’t learning after all right? I do like the design, and some of the techniques I’ll try again (bridal joints), and some I won’t use (vacuum press veneering would lead to a much better finish). There should be more furniture pieces showing up on the blog throughout the spring, so stay tuned!
Things have been busy in the studio lately, getting ready for One of a Kind Spring show in Toronto. It’s a big step up from any show I’ve done so far in terms of costs and length, so I’m hoping I’ve prepared enough product to last throughout the show, but selling out the last day around 5pm would be just perfect…
Production has been very smooth, with only a couple of machines breaking down, both easy but pricey fixes, and both involving motors wearing out. Thankfully I was only down a day or two with repairs so nothing to delay me too much. I still desperately need to do a massive re-org on my studio, but between moving the machines, rerunning the dust collection and electrical, and just general clean up, I really need a week to get it all done. So far the orders have been quite consistent and I simply haven’t been able to shut the shop down for so many days in a row.
I’m excited to announce a few new products that I’ll be showcasing at One of a Kind. First is a German inspired Breakfast Board. It’s a walnut board with a slight dish to it and a colour block edge. Often used to serve breakfast on, it can double as a serving tray or just look nice on display.
Next product is a happy accident. I had a failed glue up and the only part of the larger board salvageable was a tear dropped shape. I played around with the size and came away with a new walnut serving and chopping board. It’s got a rounded edge and a hole for easy hanging.
These products won’t be on Craftcollective.ca or on my Etsy shop till April, so if you you’re keen to have them, be sure to come down to One of a Kind, you’ll find me at booth P44F in the Etsy section.
Amidst all the Christmas craft shows, custom orders, and everything else going on in life, I applied for the One of a Kind Show in Toronto (Spring edition). I’m quite new to all these craft shows, but at the big Etsy sale in September I was approached by someone from the One of a Kind Show who raved about my stuff and said she would hound me until I applied for the show.
It was a very lengthy and thorough application, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been accepted for the spring show. So anyone in the GTA can come see me March 25-29, 2015. More info to follow as we get closer, now I’m off to the studio to make more products… I can sleep next year.
It’s been a busy week in the Studio. I’ve had many prototype ideas going through my head for ages, and I finally had some time to experiment. It’s always a bit tough for me to try out prototypes as I hate to waste the materials if it isn’t going to work out, and if they aren’t perfect, what to do with it?
First up was a production run of toy cameras. Made from Walnut for the body, and maple for the lens, these were a copy of a prototype I made (and gave away to my daughter). I love the simplicity of these, just the basics of a real camera, viewfinder-lens-shutter button. They are finished with a light coat of mineral oil, and are for sale in my Etsy Store, as well as in Patisserie La Toque in Wakefield, Quebec.
Next up, a mid-century modern inspired chair. Made from Baltic Birch plywood with padauk wedges in the through tenons. I curved the back using bent lamination and the seat is covered with an upholstery grade corduroy. I’d like to make these adult size, but for the prototype I decided to build it for a child so as to not use as much materials. It’s now my daughters favourite chair! After seeing me taking pictures of it, she yelled at me, “You’re not going to sell my chair are you???!!!”. She’s hard to please, but I clearly won her over on this one. These chairs will be custom order only as I don’t have the space to store finished chairs, and this will allow people to choose their upholstery colours.
Last up was a pyramid shaped macaron tower. Requested by Patisserie La Toque, how hard could a pyramid be to make? Turns out this was the hardest project of the week. Lots of angles made this very tricky, but with some glue, and a ton of brad nails and filler, it got completed on time and made the customer very happy. Might think twice before making another pyramid though…
Next week I’ve got some canoe paddles on the go as well as a few more prototypes to try out, stay tuned!
Was playing around with some scraps the other day. I’ve had an idea for how to cut the inside of a spoon for a while, but tried a few different designs for the outside shape. They are more work … Continue reading →
52 Create, my weekly creative output for 2011. I guaranteed something more ambitious this week, and here it is! I call it “For those who Like to Rock”. It’s a flat pack rocking chair made out of baltic birch plywood. It’s sized for a toddler (1.5-4 years) and assembles without and glue or screws. I’ve had several different variations of this in my many sketchbooks, and I even made a prototype a few years back, however this is a full finished product.
This rocking chair is now for sale on my Etsy Site, feel free to stop by and make a purchase….
Yes, this was the actual exhibit poster, I kid you not… I love furniture design, it’s something I’d like to do one day, so when I saw an advertisement for Mobi Boom, French Furniture Design from 1945-1975, I could not turn it down. The exhibit was at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, which is right beside the Louvre. Personally, I’d rather go to this museum than the Louvre any day.
After the second world war, there were major reconstruction projects across the entire country, and not only did they need new houses, but new furniture. This caused a huge boom in French furniture design and the founding of many great names (Knoll and Roche Bobois to name a few…)
The exhibit focussed on the great array of furniture that was produced and some of the innovative techniques that were used (plywood moulding, foam injection, etc.) The displays were truly terrific, although somewhat disappointing in that you couldn’t sit on any of the items…
The exhibit continues till January 2nd, 2011, highly recommended, and afterwards, head up to the 7th floor for the permanent exhibits with more furniture design.
I headed out the door this morning in search of some new shoes for my 1 year old daughter. Somehow one got tossed over board from the stroller and so a new pair was needed. In my 5km wander through the streets of Paris, I got to thinking about stroller design. We have a generic “umbrella” style stroller that folds up fairly small, doesn’t weigh too much, and handles like combine with no wheels… And herein lies the problem, you can’t have everything when it comes to strollers, so it can be light-weight, but not durable, sturdy, but not able to be folded compactly, small, but not able to handle anything but an airport runway…
Looking at strollers online, there isn’t exactly a ton of innovation going on here. They generally have 3 or 4 sets of wheels, 1-2 wheels per set. Ours has 8 which seems excessive as my daughter only weighs 20 lbs. I mean cars don’t need double wheels, so why should a stroller? Most collapse in some way (some more than others), and most have a sun shade on them. Really, a stroller is simply a folding chair with wheels, maybe it doesn’t need to be any more complicated than that?
But I think it could be so much better! Most strollers have small wheels (so they can fold up smaller) but these are terrible on bumps (COBBLESTONES!!!!). It’s true, 12″ inflatable tires would smooth out the ride significantly, but you’d have a mini lunar lander on your hands.
Strollers also never seem to turn when you want them to, but do so quite willingly when you’re trying to keep it in a straight line. The three wheeled ones would obviously help in this aspect, but they always seem to have their third wheel shooting out the front where it’s liable to take out some granny’s ankles (I guess that could be a good thing…).
And then there are the stairs… Carrying a stroller up a flight of stairs with two people is tough work, awkward, and back breaking. Trying to manage stairs on your own is nearly impossible (Paris Metro – I hate you!).
So do I have a new and wonderful design in my head? Maybe, but I couldn’t draw it while pushing, lifting, carrying our old stroller halfway across Paris in search of shoes…. Will have to save it for another day.