When considering ideas and looking for inspiration, I don’t like to limit myself to just the furniture or joinery in isolation. Considering the environment around me helps me form ideas and leads off into interesting tangents of discovery. “Holistic” would be a nice term, but would likely make me sound pretentious. You see, I’m not an expert; I just have a healthy zest for learning.
The photos here are snapshots from a local town about 12 miles from where I live that has many unique features. If I had more talent and time, sketching what I see would doubtless be a joy, but with a young family demanding eyes both in the front and back of my head, a quick snap is all I have time for. In the February issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, Christopher Schwarz features an attractive oak Aumbry with Gothic tracery that prompted me to take another look at some photos I had stowed away.
I find the rhythm of the window above completely hypnotic. In a perverse way, the black pollution on the deep-set stone contrasts with the lighter clean stone fronts to create a pleasing feature. It simplifies the form and makes things appear more delicate than they really are. It’s also easy to see the link between early English furniture decoration and the institution that trained, influenced and employed many skilled artisans.
The above decoration is most likely a nod to the trade that brought the town its prosperity. The rams head is located near the base of a several door jambs in this street supporting stout doors all made from Oak. The ram has been communicating its message of success from textile trade for around 400 years, which is quite an inspiration. For so many cultures, Oak always seems to stir fond feelings and it’s easy to see why. It’s been such a staple in carpentry, joinery and furniture making for so many hundreds of years. Its narrative of certainty, durability and confidence is woven into us.
On the relevance of these flowers, I have no clue – although I’m sure there’s a good one. It’s certain, however, that the beauty of these carvings shines through the black gunge that’s been applied over the years proving you have a hard time ruining true quality.
More broadly, all these snaps help me discover how furniture and architecture are so closely linked and reflected in one another, and that to ignore the built environment would be be like losing an eye.
— Graham Haydon
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