As you’re no doubt aware, I am based at Shed 2 Studios in Ilkeston – a fabulous old building (even though it gets a bit cold!), which rather than making individual units, the original founders decided to leave as open studio spaces.
It makes for a great working atmosphere, with lots of sharing of ideas, no feelings of isolation that some makers suffer, we can chat while we work – you even know when someone’s put the kettle on because they can’t sneak by – we here ya! It also gives me access to other skills, materials, equipment and techniques for for a maker is invaluable.
But alongside Shed 2, in the next building along, is another maker, Iain Swanson of Leafbone Furniture. Iain makes a range of unusual, but absolutely beautiful bespoke furniture, often retaining the original shapes of the pieces of wood he uses. When you see his work, you can’t but want to touch it (sorry Iain, I’ll bring the duster…) I’d recently made some mini-panels with the idea of making colourful tea-lights, so for our recent open studios, I asked Iain to make me a few stands. Obviously my brain wasn’t fully engaged, and I forgot to explain that I wanted to place the tealight in a holder at the back of the panel; however, when he brought me round the samples, it really didn’t matter – as I thought what he made was beautiful anyway! He’s managed to capture elements of each panel and make unique stands – again, they have that touchy-feeliness and I think they go lovely together. Here’s a selection: