Tuesday 7 March 2017

Money For Nothing: Planes

On today's episode of BBC1's Money For Nothing, Sarah Moore brings me a bucket full of old carpenters' planes. I refused to make something out of them, opting instead to make something with them in exchange for keeping the planes to use myself. It's against all of my own rules to treat any item as a material to 'remake' if that item is in my opinion suitable for use as is.
With some light restoration, a lot of practice and the help of my brother (seen in the picture below) I managed to get the tools working again to make a series of new wooden framed mirrors for Sarah to sell...
a lot of hit-and-miss practice produced an interesting collection of different profiles. I gave them a simulated ebonised finish, painted and waxed...
...and used antique foxed mirrors found in Margate skips.
the backs were finished with scrap plywood chest of drawer bottoms...
...The finished project. 
When the filming had finished, the original owner of the planes (Bruce Pearson) contacted me with the history of the items. I'm really pleased with the outcome and with what happened to the profits made by the sale of the mirrors, hence I'm quoting some interesting information from his email...

"They belonged originally to my sons maternal great grandfather (George Victor Baron) and were then passed on to his son (my wife’s father) George William Baron. They all lived on the Channel island of Alderney and ran the main building company on the island. My son Adam trained as a carpenter/joiner and the planes were duly passed down to him some years back.
Adam emigrated to Oz earlier this year which is how the planes ended up with me. Not knowing one end of a piece of wood from another they were of no practical use to me, hence being at the dump with them and meeting Sarah.
Between originally seeing Sarah at the dump and then being presented with the outcome of your work a few days ago my father-in-law sadly died so will not have known about or seen the outcome of your labours. He would however have most definitely approved (as will Adam) and be pleased that they have found such a good and interesting home. The proceeds will go to the Alderney Division of St Johns Ambulance."

Sunday 5 March 2017

Dead Man's Shelves

 Above and Below:
Dead Man's Shelves 2017. Bed frame angle iron and basement stair treads.
The story of how & why follows below...
Many years ago, while on holiday wandering the streets of Margate, nosing around the boarded up properties, I stopped at one that caught my eye. Reading a tiny sign in the recessed doorway a voice from inside said something like 'go away'; realising the property was occupied I moved on.
Fast forward several years later, now living in Margate, I ventured out to the supermarket on a wet evening and found the property cordoned off with rumours of the structure collapsing internally. The property was secured by the local council and later sold off at public auction. 
I discovered more about the property and its occupier. Years of decay and disrepair had taken its toll on the roof structure and internal floor joists which had rotted out of the walls. The weight of the occupier's many 'collections' and the heavy rainfall resulted in the floors giving way, collapsing internally. The occupier sadly died in the basement.
 Above: I took this picture in the basement looking up towards the ground floor two weeks after the new owner had started clearing out the life time of hoarding. In the new owner's rush to clear the space I tried to salvage whatever I could as although I didn't know the original owner, I didn't want his life time of hoarding to end up in landfill. Places like this serve as a permanent reminder to myself to make sure I don't end up going like this. I wanted to save something from the space, but without hoarding any of it; to make something useful, or something I could pass onto someone else.
I discovered a small hole towards the rear of the building with a ladder and a network of ropes where it is said that the original owner entered the property by pulling himself over the top of his hoard. His last steps into the basement can be seen in the picture; the door and wall to the basement are dangerously hanging from the ceiling above.
I salvaged items of no obvious value; the well worn stair treads marking every footstep into the basement and a number of rusty bed frames found stacked in one corner of the basement. Hoarders often save odd parts of bed frames believing the angle iron to become useful one day. Raw materials are often saved by people who have lived through a time where the availability of such materials was limited. My own (pre & post-war) basement is built partly with bed frame angle iron.
I also saved the red plastic letter R seen below, this came from the shop sign during the 60s/70s. You may recognise it as my user thumbnail picture on Twitter.
The simple wall mounted shelving unit. A testament to hoarding.
Rusty steel angle iron and worn pine stair treads, nothing else.

Wednesday 16 November 2016

This is currently my favourite chair. That is all. Thank you.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Article 25 / 10x10 2016 / 100 Translated Spaces in Brixton

Geneva Drive. Reclaimed Timber, Garage Door, Screws, House Paint
I am pleased to have been asked to make a piece for Article 25's project 10x10 / 100 Translated Spaces in Brixton. This will be sold at auction (see website for details). The money raised will support Article 25’s healthcare building projects in the developing world.
 After visiting the allotted site in Brixton, my response pulls together some personal interests found in Geneva Drive and is made with locally sourced materials. The double yellow lines that flow through the streets of the estate are reflected on the double panelled work representing the feeling of unease that I have when I return to my former home, London.
Further details about this year's auction and its participants can be found via the Article 25 website.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Design Dealer Urban Myths

Not by Charlotte Perriand (once available in MFI UK)
For many years now, design dealers and Ebay sellers have listed whatever they have for sale with designers' names attached to help sell the item. In some cases, the item for sale may well be a poor period copy of the named designer, in other cases, such as 'Eames Era' the attachment of an incredibly important designer's name has been dumbed down over time to flog any old retro tat.
This annoys me but what really gets to me is when a dealer attributes a designer's name to an object as they have no idea who really made the item but the dealer thinks that a name will help to sell the item; sometimes they even do it knowingly and corruptly. These are know as 'Design Dealer Urban Myths'.
The more that these myths are thrown around the more mud sticks; sometimes these myths even make their way into major but lazy auction houses. These auction houses publish the myths and dealers use this as a reference point to add weight to the lies and the wheel keeps spinning. Keep telling people long enough and generations start to believe it.
Here are a few of my favourite current Design Dealer Myths.
Please feel free to contact me with any evidence that any of these myths are real. Google isn't proof.
Not by Osvaldo Borsani (really by Ikea)
Not by Robin Day
Not by Charlotte Perriand 

Friday 21 October 2016

Out Fly-tip Picking (Pic: Adam Carr) 
So, As it turns out, I can't leave rubbish alone.
Hence, I have agreed to be a part of the 'Money For Nothing' family again for Series 3. I've filmed 4 new episodes and start filming 4 more in the coming weeks. Why? because it's fun. Back on the BBC soon.