Where do the ideas come from when I make a new piece, what is the process? I never know how to make the ideas just come, thats for sure! one thing I have come to rely on, however, is distraction…go and do something else, let it all go! Then my ideas begin to flow, when I am concentrating on something other than design.
I dont think I ever need to understand fully how that process works, just know that it works for me , maybe if you have a need to explore this further you could have a look at...www.sethlearningcenter.org
For me, cycling is my greatest passion, distraction from life and responsibility, and fortunately , its also when some of my best designs come along and pop into my head. And because riding bikes demands TOTAL focus, it seems that other parts of my brain get a chance to think about other stuff.. just as well really, because I’m often dreaming of riding like this guy.. www.dannymacaskill.co.uk
Not that I will ever be so competent, mind, but there is no harm in dreaming, we all need a dream..
My client asked me to design her a new coffee table, chunky and rustic was the brief.. and can you use some reclaimed timber too, please? So, a little research, and a call to my local reclaimed timber supplier had me in possession of some fine, reclaimed redwood floor joists. After a couple of sessions on the bike, I came up with a design that my client was happy with.
I can only begin to describe the joy of cutting and preparing the parts for a project, selecting parts of the timber with grain and features to enhance the final look of the finished piece , certainly a part of the making process I get a kick out of, letting the wood speak for itself.
Some areas of the joist needed a little repair as they had had holes pierced to take plumbing
and electrical services in their former life as a floor, and once this had been done, it was time
to begin machining an cleaning up the timber, ready to become a new piece of furniture.
And once the component parts are prepared , it’s time to take a step back and consider the structure and integrity of the completed work. It is possible to take this into account before work begins, of course, but I like to work in a way that allows me to think and problem solve as the piece progresses and evolves. Sometimes solutions and details suggest themselves as I work, and these cannot always be included at the design stage. Some folk say this an ‘organic working method’ others, ‘making it up as you go along ‘, I’ll let you make your own decisions here, me, I’m organically making it up, every single time!!
Final machining, cutting, shaping and prep of the timbers, and the true beauty of the material really begins to show, details merely hinted at in the raw material become obvious and draw your attention as figuring and structure, a story of the growing tree, and how the material has been worked and converted into timber. A little care is necessary at this stage, as it is so easy to obliterate some of this figuring and feature, I definitely do want the material to tell its own story. And I surely do not want pristine and perfectly machined timber, not in a piece such as this one.
Next comes assembly and layout, choosing how material features will be seen in the finished piece. And begin to prepare the timbers for the final finish being applied. The finish being, in this case, a danish oil. Oil finishes are so adaptable and allow the wood to breathe. They can be added to and topped with a wax coat. An oil finish will allow the the lustre and shine of the grain to show the beauty of this natural material.
This is a snapshot of how I design and make. Sure its not the only way, but it its my way. I have a love of the material, and a love of making and hope that never leaves me. Design and making are fundamental to how I work, I’ve been involved with other types of work, but always seem to return to making, I guess because I find it such a satisfying thing to do. And am finding that my clients also, are liking what I do. Its a sharing of thoughts and ideas, a two way process, maker and client. Why don’t you have a try at designing and making for yourself, lots of great reference sources out there, you could start here, www.designmuseum.org , give it a shot, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There is nothing so satisfying as making somthing for yourself, connect with your creativity today!