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The journey of Sidewinder II

“We so enjoyed the process from beginning to end. It was a journey that encompassed and introduced us to your world. A world of creativity, passion and perfection. Such a privilege to be able to enjoy your stunning creations in our home.”
Joanne and Russel

Initial meeting
Joanne and Russel first saw my work at an exhibtion in 2014. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that they contacted me to enquire about a commission. The piece they were so taken by was one of my Strata range, Sidewinder and Joanne told me that she had fallen in love with it. I paid them a visit two weeks later to to see the space in which they were planning to have the table and discuss their ideas further.

Their living room colour palette included a lot of creams and dark browns, so in order to make the coffee table stand out as the centrepiece to the room, American Cherry wood was chosen to add more warmth and distinguish the piece from the cooler, darker colours of the room. 

Development and evolution of the design

The couple wanted a slightly bigger reworking of the original Sidewinder table and during the remodelling process the idea of adding something new to the design came about. Consequently the new version features a new streamlined profile and more twist in the end sections that emphasises the complex, eye-catching layers further. I sent them a video giving them a 3D tour of the piece so that they could appreciate the evolution of the concept from the original idea. Creating new ideas as well as developing existing designs is always a really exciting part of the process for me.

3D Sidewinder II video

Click on the image to see the video itself

Production process 

Joanne and Russel commissioned two other tables (to be featured in a later blog) and once the production phase began, it took around three months to complete. Finding clean boards with a constant colour from one board to the next was a priority and I travelled over to Sheffield to select the Cherry. 

Wood selection in Sheffield

Each section of the coffee table was made up of five pieces that were all jointed and glued to the next. Then this sub-assembly was flattened and sanded before being glued to the next sub-assembly. Bit by bit, the three dimensional form evolved as the layers were built up.

Sidewinder II making process

As with all of my commissions, I like to keep my clients informed of the production progress and regularly updated Joanne and Russel with photos and videos.

Oiling Sidewinder II

Click the image to watch the oiling phase on video

Delivery
Finally the day came for me to take Sidewinder II (and the two other tables) to their new home. They were delighted with their new centrepiece (and the other two side tables of course) and they thoroughly enjoyed the process. After having had the three tables on the go at once, the workshop seemed quite bare the next day. I had some studio shots taken in Manchester before delivery as well as some in their living room, so even though my babies had flown the nest, with great photos it wasn’t hard to say goodbye.  

Sidewinder II in situ


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Podcast – my path as a designer, hosted by NaturalsCool

Keith Struthers, an accomplished sculptural architect, recently approached me to discuss my journey as a furniture designer maker.

Keith not only creates beautiful buildings, but also runs courses in Cape Town, which inspire architects and designers to help further their creative practice.

“David’s journey as a furniture designer is as dynamic and unexpected as his limited edition creations” – Keith Struthers.

Click the image below to hear the podcast.

We covered a lot of ground; from how it all started in Barcelona, some technical woodworking issues to more spiritual aspects such as the place of “zen” during the process and the finished piece.

“My transition into asymmetrical work runs in parallel with my development as a person. “

We also talk about the inspiration behind a number of my pieces, in particular the Strata Series. I explain how I find it fascinating to introduce a sense of movement into a static object and also stepping out of one’s comfort zone in order to move forward as a designer.

I hope you enjoy the discussion!

A big thank-you to both Keith Struthers and Shannon Flynn at NaturalsCool for their invitation and contributions – the whole process has been a great opportunity to gain perspective on my work and help to raise some new questions for the future. The journey continues…..

 

 

 

 


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New furniture making courses and new dates

Following the launch of my shelf making course, I have a further two beginners furniture making courses on offer now along with some new dates for all three.

The two new courses are a one-day clock making course and a two day mirror/picture frame making course. More details can be found on my courses page. A big thank-you to David and Eulogi at Aim Barcelona for all the latest changes to the website.


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Manchester After Hours Manchester After Hours Wilmslow Art Trail Art in Action
Exhibitions in May, June and July

I have three events booked in over the next few months where I will be showing my work:

The first is “Northern Quarter after Dark” which is part of “Manchester After Hours 2015” on Thursday 14 May. This year’s mix of odd couplings and musical mayhem takes in the places and spaces you don’t often get to after dark, when museums, galleries and libraries join together for a one-night, city-wide social. My work will be exhibited at Urban Suite on New George Street, Manchester, M4 4AE.  For more information, follow the link.  #McrAfterHours

The next event, just round the corner from the workshop, is Wilmslow Art Trail which takes place from 5th-7th June in various pop up venues around the town. I’ll be exhibiting upstairs at The Coach and Four on Alderley Rd, SK9 1PA along with other artists. A preview of some of the artists can be seen on the Facebook page.

Finally, I will be returning to Art in Action again (July 16-19th) which is a tad further away from the workshop, in Oxfordshire. It is well worth the effort to visit, with an abundance of things to do and see in the beautiful setting of Waterperry Gardens.

I have a couple of ideas brewing for new pieces which will be ready for Wilmslow Art Trail. Keep an eye on my blog or Facebook for the latest updates.


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Floating wooden shelf
Beginner’s furniture making course launched

David is launching a one-day course, where you will transform a board of timber into a beautiful floating shelf with recesses for tea light holders. In his peaceful rural workshop in Ashley, Cheshire, you will work in a small group of three students, thereby receiving plenty of individual guidance from David. The course is suitable for complete beginners and is designed to allow you to acquire new skills in a relaxed environment and to take away a finished piece that you will feel proud of.

The day itself is an introduction to fine furniture making and will provide you with an understanding of how to work with this tactile, natural material. Students will see how the wood is machined into a more workable form and from this point they will they will be using professional hand tools, to continue the process themselves.

Early on, you will experience the satisfying process of seeing shavings curl off your plane, as you clean up and flatten your shelf. You will move on to squaring off the edges, with a combination of a block plane and a jack plane whilst also learning how to sharpen their blades so that they continue to be an absolute pleasure to use.

You will then remove any of the minor imperfections with a cabinet scraper, before drilling holes with the pillar drill for the concealed shelf supports. Further holes will be made to locate the tea light holders before sanding and detailing the shelf to a lovely crisp finish. During the last part of the day you will apply an acrylic lacquer, leaving your shelf silky smooth.

There are only a limited number of places for this offer which is for the two dates of Sunday 15th and Friday 27th of March at the introductory price of £95. This includes a timber of your choice, tea light holders, concealed shelf supports and all tools are provided. All you need to do is show up, ready to learn!

To book your place contact David on 0161 928 5647 (workshop), 07969 115946 or by email – david@www.davidtragen.co.uk.

Further photos of the project can be seen on my Facebook page photo album.


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