The Latest From Our Blog…

Feature in Designing Magazine
9th July 2020
Feature in the Summer Edition of Designing Magazine We are thrilled to be featured in the Summer Edition of Designing magazine. We were approached by the editor Willy Adam who invited Edward to pen a few words about his background, education and design inspiration. Designing magazine is specifically aimed at schools, colleges and universities and is produced by the Design and Technology Association. Edward is passionate about actively keeping the furniture industry alive and the continuation and advancement of original design and craftsmanship thriving. He hopes to inspire young people to join the industry to keep both the traditional skills, and of course, the latest technology progressing. The Design and Technology Association supports high quality design, engineering and technology in education. “We are a membership organisation providing advice, support and training for those involved in teaching design, engineering and technology. We work closely with government, awarding bodies, Ofsted and other regulators, advising on the curriculum and lobbying on behalf of the subject. We also work with employers and corporate partners to help promote the value of the subject and the range of careers and opportunities to which it can lead. We specialise in developing links between education and industry to mutual benefit.” Designing magazine: Summer 2020 - No. 116 Read the article: Crafting innovative furniture for inspiring people Throughout my senior school years, I was either found on the rugby pitch or in the DT department where I was fortunate enough to have excellent teachers and facilities. This in turn led to my friends nicknaming me ‘DT Ed’! I found that focusing on my art and design work had a calming effect on my restless mind, helping me to focus, and enabling me to explore my passion for design and to develop my ideas. My overarching consideration, when thinking about and approaching design, is to question everything with an open mind and a deep-rooted determination to solve problems. I always believe that, no matter where you are with your education or career, you should always strive to improve and to always aim to progress your ideas and products to make them the best they can possibly be. Following school, I went on to study furniture design and cabinet making at Buckingham Chilterns University, graduating in 2007. Questions:My questioning mind became apparent as a child. I always wanted to know ‘WHY’: I wanted to know the reason behind almost any decision being made. Therefore, as you can imagine, this didn’t make me the easiest child to teach! I would often ask too many questions and disrupt the flow of lessons. Although I realise now this must have been very challenging, it is however part of my character that drives and motivates me. Moving forward, this trait has certainly contributed to the successful furniture design business I now run. Escaping the Maze:A few designers stumble upon brilliant ideas, but most need to work very hard at it. However, those that do stumble upon a brilliant idea early on can often struggle to surpass their initial success. I believe there is a fundamental reason for this: that perhaps they didn’t fully understand how and why they got there first time around. Rather than being a single lightbulb moment, good design is very much an ongoing process. It is something that takes time, effort and hard work if you are to fully explore your ideas. It is rather like escaping from a maze: you start with a basic idea, an idea that is either self-generated or given to you by others - perhaps teachers or clients? You then explore different routes and paths in search of a solution to your problem. You will often come to a dead end and need to turn back, but with determination, belief and an open mind you’ll eventually find a solution that works. But don’t just be content with that solution, as it could probably still be improved! I have been running my furniture design and manufacturing business for 10 years, and I now employ staff to help me with the daily routine and rigours, from marketing to cabinet making. I’ve always considered the making aspect to be part of the design process, and I’ve come to use the craftsmanship element and my technical making knowledge as the unique selling point that sets me apart as a designer. Through successes and failures, I understand how timber works - how it bends, how it shapes, how it shrinks and expands. It is this knowledge and knowhow that enables me to produce my concept-led designs, whilst pushing the limits of my materials. Looking back, I feel I have achieved a decent amount through my work and career thus far. However, I still feel there is so much more exploring, fun, experimentation and head scratching ahead of me. Methodologies:My work is largely experimental and inventive, and I like to find my own path and techniques to create unique pieces. Two examples of this would be my Ripples Collection and my Murano Collection, where I have worked hard to find inventive ways to achieve these results. Ripples:My Ripples Collection was inspired by the action of a stone dropping into water. My concept was to give the illusion of the ripples engulfing the entire form, bringing movement, life and softness to the surfaces. I spent many hours prototyping, perfecting and refining this technique to enable the successful crafting of this unique effect. A real breakthrough moment! Murano:My Murano Collection was inspired by a visit to the island of Murano, where Venetian master craftsmen have been producing glassware for centuries, by floating layers of different coloured glass through one another to produce exquisite patterns. I have developed this technique by layering different combinations of timber together to produce wavy, radial and straight designs. The various patterns result in carefully matched sweeping lines and curves that engulf the entire surface of the furniture. The circular and semi-circular designs are reminiscent of the growth rings of a tree. Edward's Family Tree concept. <back to blog
The glory of gardening
22nd April 2020
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.~ Alfred Austin I am extremely fortunate to have a nice garden, and over the past few warm and sunny weeks the bulbs and plants have begun to spring to life. I have always had an enormous respect and appreciation for nature, and many of my furniture designs take inspiration from it. I have also been a keen gardener for many years. Like many, I have appreciated my garden even more whilst in lockdown, with the garden fence being as far as we can safely venture. Whether your garden is large or small, or you are a keen gardener or not, I am certain our personal outdoor spaces have provided us with an essential sanctuary during these unprecedented times. My heart truly goes out to those that do not have this luxury, and hope that many have been able to utilise our parks and green spaces, albeit, sadly, without the ability to sit and ponder. Whilst working from home and seeing a lot more of my garden I have been mulling over ideas for organic structures, alternative dividers, fencing and screens, and the possibilities of sculptural seating: forms that combine function and aesthetics which I can integrate creatively with my planting schemes. The possibilities are endless, and my imagination has been fired. If you too have been pondering your garden and outdoor spaces, and would like to discuss any ideas you have had for outside structures and designs - no matter how unformed or ambitious - please get in touch, and I would be very happy to discuss your ideas with you. Most of our work is done remotely and commissions can, on the whole, be instigated through emails, phone calls, skype or facetime. Edward Johnson, April 2020 'Undressed' Clothes Valet - Made and ready stock: £770 + delivery. Inspiration In August 2017, we were commissioned through ‘a space’ in Southampton and Stonewater Housing to produce an outdoor public art sculpture. It was made for a small housing development called Gascony Place, and installed in Anjou Close under a beautiful old oak tree, in the Bearwood region of Bournemouth. You can read more about it on our blog here. Perhaps for some inspiration! The Pennant sculpture newly installed at Gascony Place with its early planting. We keep meaning to go back to see how it has grown! Photo: Alex Batten. Constructing and trialling the sculpture outside the workshop. <back to blog
Small businesses need your support!
31st March 2020
Dear friends, colleagues and clients, I wanted to write an appeal given the current challenges that thousands of businesses are facing across the country and indeed worldwide. Small businesses far and wide need your support! The country is facing a major problem with both supply and demand of products and whilst the headline news is focused on increased demand in supermarkets, many other sectors are experiencing a dramatic decrease in business. My concerns for small businesses far and wide, are not just for the coming weeks, but the coming months. We, like many others, have already experienced the immediate effects with projects being cancelled at short notice. Naturally our focus is on the here and now, but sadly this problem is not going away any time soon! I implore you not to freeze but to continue with life as best you can in these challenging circumstances, albeit from the safety of your home for those who are able. Government support may go some way to getting businesses through the coming weeks, but we will need your support to keep us busy through the coming months. With your support we can get through this and also keep our loyal and talented team together. Most of our work is done remotely and commissions can, on the whole, be instigated through emails, phone calls, skype or facetime. We also have an excellent selection of stocked furniture that is ready and waiting to be delivered through non-contact means. I wish you all the best and I hope you remain safe and healthy!Best wishes Ed
Photography by Alan Frost
26th March 2020
A selection of photographs of the Edward Johnson workshop taken by photographer Alan Frost. Very recently, before ‘social distancing’ and the COVID-19 ‘lockdown’, photographer Alan Frost visited our workshop and studio. Ed first met Alan back in November 2019, when they were both exhibiting their work at The House at Hill Lane, in a ‘pop-up’ exhibition hosted by contemporary textile artist Polly Meynell. As Alan explains on his blog, ‘I couldn’t help but admire Ed’s work and asked if him if it might be possible to visit his studio and photograph his team at work. I wasn’t seeking a commission, I just wanted to do it for my own enjoyment, but I did offer him a set of photographs which he could use for his own publicity’. Consequently, Alan has kindly given us permission to publish his stunning photographs. Alan worked very discreetly whilst everyone continued with their work. It has been a pleasure to view the fruits of his labour and see our workplace through fresh eyes. Obviously, we are used to viewing our own product shots, however, it is only human nature to become so familiar with your everyday surroundings that you miss the finer details. This familiarity often means we miss the exquisite details and different perspective that a creative photographer like Alan would seek out and turn into an image of beauty. You will see our Sussex Chairs in production and some candid shots of us all at work. It is with great pleasure that we share a selection of his images, whilst hopefully sharing some good cheer in these unprecedented times. Thank you Alan! Read Alan’s blog. View Alan’s website. <back to blog
Furniture & Cabinetmaking Magazine
26th March 2020
We are very pleased to be featured in this month's Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine. The article is an interview with Edward and the Furniture Makers' Company after his Radiant Desk was awarded a prestigious Bespoke Guild Mark (No. 473) in 2019. The Radiant desk forms part of Edward’s Murano Collection, where the central feature to each piece in the collection is the use of our own in-house 'Murano' veneers. These have been developed and perfected in the workshop to produce wavy, straight, curved or radial effects in beautiful and contrasting timbers, that once oiled enhances the rich and unique characteristics of each chosen material. The desk is made from fumed and brown oak. The top of the desk starts with a small semi-circular fumed oak centre, that flows seamlessly from the ‘core’ radiating outwards, evoking the growth rings of a tree. The contrasting pattern continues to flow down both sides of the feature aerofoil-shaped legs, reminiscent of fin keels of a boat. As well as our Murano veneers, another significant element is the use of a stack laminating technique to form the legs, that are then hand-shaped and sculpted. This piece is all about beautiful curves, contrast and pattern. Example of hand-shaping and sculpting stacked-laminated elements. This commissioned project was two-fold - with the main desk to be made as a free-standing future heirloom piece, but also, to be incorporated into a fitted desk and storage element with the ‘Murano’ veneers flowing into the corner of the room (as shown). The Radiant desk shown incorporated into the fitted desk and storage element. <back to blog
'Made & Ready' Stock Furniture
23rd March 2020
'Made & Ready' stock furniture: Did you know that Edward Johnson offers a selection of furniture ready for delivery to your home? Set of three Chichester Tables and Sussex Chair both made in ash. Here at Edward Johnson there are three main aspects to the business, our 'Made & Ready' furniture stock items, our limited-edition design collection and our complete bespoke service. Alongside our commissioned work, we make our stocked 'Made & Ready furniture items throughout the year. This is certainly the quickest and easiest route for clients to acquire our work, not to mention great value. This collection is ideal for those wishing to view and purchase a piece of limited-edition Edward Johnson furniture 'Made & Ready' and available for purchase and delivery to your home. Our 'Ed, Edd & Eddy' nest of sofa tables are available in a wide range and combination of timbers. Many of our stock items are from our Sussex Collection, including our beautiful Chichester Mirrors, Chichester Tables, Starburst key cabinets and Undressed clothes valets, and of course Edward’s classic Ed, Edd & Eddy nest of sofa tables which quickly became a firm favourite with our clients. We also have stock items from our Murano Collection; our Luna key cabinets and exquisite Squaring the Circle jewellery boxes. Occasionally in this collection, you will also find some of Edward's limited-edition exhibition showpieces, for example, his Bespoke Guild Mark award-winning Orbis drinks cabinet and Splash coffee table.. Ed, Edd & Eddy tiger oak table with Squaring the Circle jewellery boxes. What should you do next? If you are interested, or would like to discuss one of our 'Made & Ready' stock items with us, please call: 01243 696606, email us, or sending us a message via our contact form. <back to blog