Saturday, January 29, 2011

Special chairs for special people...

Now, I should clarify, I don't mean 'special', I mean truly special and it's a real privilege to have done these chairs for our lovely friend Sal, who has been one of our biggest supporters since we embarked on the Flourish and Blume journey. We always look forward to an invite to one of Sal's famous parties (our personal favourite being the Sagittarian party, of course) where we get to sit on the verandah of her family beach-house overlooking the ocean (secret, undisclosed location!) and eat locally caught seafood 'til the prawn tails fill the table. We've met some wonderful and interesting women at Sal's and I love it when she instructs them all to feel up the chairs so they get to experience our OCD sanding and polishing.

These chairs have been in Sal's family since the 1950's they are early Parker and solid teak. It seemed to be the style back then to coat the wood in a brown opaque varnish that concealed the beautiful grain or perhaps that was a 70's refurb. Nasty stuff to get off but well worth the effort. They have been recovered in a Prussian blue vinyl.

original condition
Showing backtacking

I'd say these are from the 60's, they have that beautiful Scandinavian-influenced shape to the arms that is very typical of Parker and Fler at that time, no identifiable manufacturers marks though. That very funky bag made out of cowhide on the table there is made by Rachel Ayland, a local bespoke leather bag and shoemaker of jaw-dropping skill.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Send them to the Colonies...

Just over a year ago, I had a space in the Lismore Regional Art Gallery to do a collaborative work with Liz Stops, the fabulous ceramic artist whose work you'll find in just about any Australian Vogue Living or Inside Out magazine or at Planet  and Brenda May Gallery in Sydney. By the time it came around to thinking about the work, I was well and truly romantically involved with chairs, so the initial proposal and its necessary clay fondling took a back seat and something quite different evolved. Liz and I installed in separate windows of the gallery but shared a title and rationale that went something like this: 'using the language of plants and the landscape to discuss issues of colonisation.' It was called 'The Colonisers'.

Hand-drawn wallpaper and embroidered (yes I did it myself) Belgian linen featuring the 'mile-a-minute vine' - a rapid invasive weed species in our local area. There are no 'before' shots of this chair, it was found next to a skip out the front of a house. We loaded it on the ute and made a quick getaway. It's not stealing when it's rubbish, its 'making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folk leave behind', dum te de dum te dee dum te de dum.....   Right now I'm being told that writing this will have us sent to the 'penile' colonies. Ha ha, heaven forbid!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Swing it back

We've done a few of these swing back chairs from the 40's. Doesn't look like much, does it?  It was the first matching pair we'd found, I think this is one of them...

Not much prettier at this stage, but could double as a commode. Silky oak frame (sacrilege) and teak arms...

the kitchen table workshop, hammering into the wee hours, how our neighbours love us.

The finished result in Elissa's shop Evoke (if you're near Lismore you can see them in the window next door to Caddies Coffee shop) who provided the handprinted 'hearts and flowers' fabric by Sprout Design. They're only little, don't think many people were 'big boned' in those days but they sure are cute.

These photos taken by Elissa, you can see more images of them on her blog here and here.
ps. these chairs are still for sale in Evoke, contact us for price and delivery quotes Australia wide.

This one's for keeps

Another Tender Centre gem. This couch looked like it had been through a Lismore flood or two - water damaged wood and rotting vinyl although it doesn't look too bad in this photo...

Katie had the unenviable task of stripping it, with its 10 thousand (at least) staples; a layer of cockroach shit an inch thick and a whole lot of lost possessions including car keys...

while I sanded and sanded and sanded...

after and before

then the fun bit...(the very chunky, solid frame is rough sawn silky oak, a tad different to what's hidden beneath contemporary furniture's upholstery - chipboard and staples and not a single spring).

The finished result in our lounge-room, covered in charcoal ecowool from Sustainable Living Fabrics, a company that has very impressive ecological credentials that you can read about here. The wood has had  a couple of coats of Danish Oil and a final polish with beeswax. Those wee porcelain birds in the background are by ceramic artist Mel Robson, if you appreciate amazing craftwomanship, you should see her blog (here).

We loved it and kept it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1950's Butch

It's a spine tingling sensation to walk in to our local treasure trove, the Tender Centre, and see something that's right up your alley. And there's three of them, Oh God, I need to sit down on that protruding spring for a moment and compose myself. Very masculine, aren't they?

You've gotta love a strip tip... our biggest monetary find to date..

The bare bones, arms removed and sanded and the foundation of any good chair - webbing as tight as a drum. And the springs, they were sanded too.

The finished piece, sanded and polished, re-webbed, re-sprung, new foam and covered in handprinted 'Birch Forest' black on charcoal, created by the talented ladies at Ink and Spindle (see these chairs and more handmade things on their blog here) and supplied by our lovely Elissa, who took these photos in her shop. You can see more of them on her blog here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The inaugural post

We picked this chair up from our mate Bob at Lifeline. Our temporary bunny/ our furry ball of love/ our present from heaven, Flopsy, took a real shine to it. When the neighbours claimed Flopsy back (tears and tantrums), we couldn't bare to look at that green vinyl a minute longer.

Appropriately, we found this fabric at Elissa's Evoke Yarn and Fabric, our local craftess with the mostest and got to work. (Fabric is 'Kimono red Grand Hearts' made by Umbrella Prints).

This photo taken by Elissa of the chair in her shop, see link above. More great photos of this chair by Elissa on her awesome blog here.