(For those who might want to know what I was doing before then, the answer is that I was working in academic publishing – and the really curious will be able to find a few fruits of my erstwhile labours on the shelves of one of the exhibits.)
Although some of the furniture in the exhibition will be for sale, and other items can be repeated (or modified) to order, virtually all of them were designed (or their originals were) for particular individuals – even if that individual was very occasionally myself – and for individual locations. They are therefore very varied in character and type, but they are not confined to their original application. Some of the designs have found more than one home already, although most do remain unique.
Some of the exhibits have been borrowed back for this event and visitors may observe a few marks of their history of use. My furniture is for use, though it also seeks to embody something that may be unexpected, yet right seeming.
Designing and making furniture to commission is a fusion of the intentions and creative impulses of several people. For the commissioner the experience should not be daunting, it should be pleasurable – but it cannot be predictable. You don’t have to know what you want. You do need to know what you want the thing to do for you, and where you might put it: function is important, even if, sometimes, the main function is just to look attractive. Furniture does, after all, furnish a room. But you don’t have to be able to visualise it as a piece of furniture, know what shape it should be, what wood it should be made of, although there is no reason why you should not discuss all that if you do have ideas, positive or negative.
I hope visitors will feel free to talk to me about the process and possibilities, even if they do not think they want to embark on it themselves.
For full details of opening times and of the location please go to the News and exhibitions page on this blog.