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Open Studios 2022
6th April 2022
Chichester Art Trail Open Studios 2022: WHAT IS AN OPEN STUDIO? "An Open Studio is an experience in itself. It offers the exciting invitation to see artists’ [and designers'] work in the context of its creation". - CAT Open Studios provide the ideal opportunity to see inside the very place where ideas and concepts creatively come to fruition. Edward's studio and workshop is at the very heart of his business, and he would like to 'open the doors' and share it with you as part of the Chichester Art Trail. It is an ideal opportunity to visit (or revisit). You will be able to see a display of Edward’s furniture, see work in progress, meet some of the team, and of course, most importantly, Ed will be available to discuss his work, techniques, and design inspiration. We would love to meet you for the first time or see you once again at this event. We will be open over the two weekends of the trail: Saturday 30 April, Sunday 1 May and Saturday 7, Sunday 8 May 2022 from 10.30am to 5pm daily (please note we are closed on the bank holiday Monday). All welcome!* Open studios 2021 showing a selection of Edward's furniture set up in the workshop. Ed first joined the Chichester Art Trail in 2018, and this is his fourth open studio with the trail (2020 was missed for obvious reasons!!). The fabulous Nicola Hancock (former Chair of CAT) conducted a studio interview with Ed back then, that is still highly relevant today. In the interview Ed discusses the studio, workshop, tools, and the daily routine. Read the interview... What is your normal day in the workshop like?Lights on, kettle on, and check that my fellow cabinet makers are clear on what needs doing for the day. Nowadays, more of my time is spent in the studio and visiting clients, but I also still work at the bench especially when we have complicated projects on. My typical day involves keeping the team busy, whether that is designing the next project, selecting timber and materials, producing production drawings, problem solving and project management or hands on making. My list is long and varied.From an interview between Edward Johnson & Nicola Hancock A selection of products from our Eco Collection on display in the workshop at the 2021 opens studios. This year the Chichester Art Trail Open Studios celebrates its 21st anniversary and sees 159 local artists exhibiting a wide range of work across 132 venues in and around the city of Chichester, West Sussex. We are at venue 41: Edward Johnson Ltd, Pea Barn, Old Park Farm, Old Park Lane, Bosham, Chichester PO18 8EX Please find directions here. If you have any questions about the event, please give us a call on 01243 696606 or send us an email: info@edwardjohnsonstudio.co.uk or a message through our contact form. *Please note: We politely request that all children are accompanied by an adult due to the nature of the workshop setting. Download a copy of the Art Trail brochure. < back to news
Murano Collection
21st March 2022
The Murano Collection is one of Edward Johnson’s signature styles, and is made using a unique technique that has been developed and perfected in his workshop. Edward’s work is the product of a deep understanding of his materials and the desire to explore its possibilities. His creative approach allows him to think outside of the box and push the boundaries of his materials. Edward describes his Murano technique as:‘manipulating the grain of wood as an artist would manipulate paint with a brush’. Edward's designs are often conceptually based, but with form and function always at the fore. He perceives both beauty and usefulness in equal parts when designing and developing his ideas into thought-provoking, fluid and tactile forms. One of his principal aims is to challenge our understanding of what is possible, which he achieves through creative aptitude and his mastered ability to engineer in wood. https://vimeo.com/685873053 Edward making the Murano Cento extending dining table Samples of our Murano veneers in: oak, olive ash and ash; fumed oak and brown oak; ash and olive ash; oak, brown oak and fumed oak; elm and fumed oak; walnut and fumed oak. Spotlight on the Murano Collection The Murano Collection was originally 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. Our Murano veneers have been developed and perfected in our workshop and are all made in-house. They have been adapted to form wavy, radial and straight designs. Each veneer uses contrasting timbers to add texture or to create a blended effect. The various patterns result in carefully matched sweeping lines and curves that engulf the entire surface of the furniture. This collection again stems from Edward’s interest and expertise in laminating. This time his aim was to develop an organic free-flowing form reminiscent of Venetian glass. To create this effect, hundreds of thin strips of wood are cut in the workshop and reconfigured, resulting in sweeping lines and curves bringing soft and organic patterns to the angular forms. The Murano veneers can be constructed in a wide range and combination of timbers and applied to almost any of our designs. Read more about Edward’s ‘Family Tree’ concept that adds an extra dimension and personalises our Murano commissions. 'Radiant' chest of drawers The Radiant chest of drawers is made from fumed oak, brown oak, oak, olive ash and ash. Dimensions: 110cm (w) x 85cm (h) x 42cm (d). 'Radiant' desk Desk - Fumed & Brown Oak The Radiant desk is made from fumed oak and brown oak.Dimensions: 198cm (w) x 75cm (h) x 75cm (d). The Radiant desk was awarded a prestigious Bespoke Guild Mark in 2019 (Guild Mark No. 475).  'Family Tree' heirloom box The Family Tree heirloom box shown in elm and fumed oak.Dimensions: 38cm (w) x 15cm (h) x 23.5cm (d). 'Squaring the Circle' jewellery box The Squaring the Circle jewellery box is made from elm and maple.Dimensions: 18cm (w) x 19cm (h) x 18cm (d). 'Patchwork' sewing desk The Patchwork sewing desk is made from oak, brown oak and fumed oak.Dimensions: 170cm – extending to 230cm (w) x 78cm (h) x 65cm – extending to 130cm (d).Read more here. 'Murano' sideboard The Murano sideboard is made from ash, olive ash, fumed oak and brown oak. Dimensions: 186cm (w) x 116 (h) x 48cm (d).Read more here. 'Centrum I' chest of drawers The Centrum chest of drawers is made from walnut with an oak starburst and oak interior.Dimensions: 65cm (w) x 59cm (h) x 47cm (d). 'Centrum II' chest The Centrum II chest is made from oak, brown oak, scorched oak and cedar. Dimensions: 180cm (w) x 57.5cm (h) x 50cm (d). 'Murano Cento' dining table The Murano Cento extending dining table is made from walnut with brushed brass effect legs. Dimensions: 75cm (h) x 110cm (d) x 240cm extending to 410cm (l). < back to news
Graylingwell Chapel
8th March 2022
Over the past twelve months we have had the pleasure of working on part of the project to re-develop Graylingwell Chapel, a Grade II listed building that was once part of the former Graylingwell Hospital in Chichester. Graylingwell Chapel interior showing some of the display cabinets and the Chancel bench under the stained glass window. We have collaborated and contributed to the furnishing of the Chapel and have been involved in making display cabinets for artefacts, a large Chancel seating area with integrated lights and headphones, movable and fixed storage cabinets, a play area including a slide and tunnel, and a fitted café area. The Chancel bench with integrated lighting and headphones. The building is owned by the Chichester Community Development Trust (CCDT) who have been restoring and redeveloping the Chapel as part of a larger development of the remaining hospital buildings, with the Chapel being the only original building still accessible to the public. The chapel is now ‘a multi-purpose space that preserves the site’s heritage through informative displays, engaging activities and opportunities for learning and social interaction’. The opening night. The Chapel was officially opened on Friday 4th March 2022 by the brilliant Hugh Bonneville and has a full programme of activities and events planned. The project has received support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund alongside many other project partners. The whole project and the Chapel’s history is documented comprehensively on the Graylingwell Chapel website. Many people have come together, collaborated, and worked hard to bring this community project to life, providing a wonderful space for the public to use. It is an absolute triumph, and we were delighted to be involved! There’s also a page about Edward on the CCDT website that you might like to visit. Musicians at the opening night in the Chancel. < back to news
Steam Bending Masterclass
28th February 2022
Last week we had the pleasure of collaborating with some fabulous participants on our first 5-day steam bending masterclass. Edward and his team worked alongside the students as they made their own Sussex Mirror. Although steam bending is a substantial part of the project, many other skills were also covered in depth, including timber preparation, precision sanding and shaping, and learning how to sharpen hand-tools. “The course is far more than making a Sussex Mirror and it was a joy to work with the team of exceptional craftsmen."- Paul M We documented each day and have highlighted the main steps and activities in the series of short videos below. Steam bending masterclass day 1: Timber selection. https://vimeo.com/680986099 Timber Preparation. Demonstrations and training using various machines, and machining timber in preparation for steam bending on day two! https://vimeo.com/680986752 Tool sharpening.Tool sharpening demonstrations and training to round the day off! https://vimeo.com/680988039 Day 2: Learning the science and art of steam bending.Discussing the timings, process, and the jig in preparation for steam bending oak and ash timbers. https://vimeo.com/680988480 Steam bending.Our students in action and learning fast! https://vimeo.com/680988957 Removal from jig.Removing the timber from the jig 20 minutes after steam bending to allow the timber to cool. After removal, fixing in timber in the drying rack before starting the entire process again. This intense activity was followed by Edward’s tasty home-made gourmet lunch! https://vimeo.com/680989559 The hand-held CNC Shaper tool.In contrast to traditional steam bending the students were taught how to use the Shaper hand-held CNC router, used to cut out the plywood back panels for the mirrors and templates. https://vimeo.com/680990550 Day 3 The main shaping and making day.Learning to use the precision wide belt sander to perfectly flatten the mirror. https://vimeo.com/680991245 ShapingMarking up, learning to use the domino jointer and pillar drill, and cutting off the internal excess timber. https://vimeo.com/682900135 Shaping continued...Learning to use the hand-held router to cut the groove for the mirror, curve and shape the straight edges and inside circular edge. https://vimeo.com/680992933 Shaping Up!Chiselling and spoke shaving. https://vimeo.com/680993535 Day 4 Fine tuning.Learning how to hand cut wedges for securing the pegs, sanding with precision, and oiling. followed by a pint down the pub! https://vimeo.com/682826275 Day 5. The final day.De-nibbing and sanding the grain lightly to make the mirror silky smooth, gluing and wedging the pegs the applying the final coat of oil like a pro. As part of the final assembly bonding the mirror to the back panel. The mirrors are now complete! https://vimeo.com/682828507 We have had some great feedback from our students and the whole team had a thoroughly enjoyable week. If you would like to find out more or would like to sign-up for one of our forthcoming workshops, please feel free to give us a call on 01243 696606, contact us or book your place via our online shop. Forthcoming CoursesJuly 2022: Monday 4 July – Friday 8 July 2022October 2022: Monday 17 October – Friday 21 October 2022BOOK NOW < back to news
Ripples Collection
18th February 2022
The Ripples Collection is one of Edward Johnson's signature styles, and is made using a unique technique that has been developed and perfected in his workshop. Edward's work is the product of a deep understanding of his materials and the desire to explore its possibilities. His creative approach allows him to think outside of the box and push the boundaries of his materials. Edward describes his work as:‘being led by a core desire to challenge and innovate’. Edward's designs are often conceptually based, but with form and function always at the fore. He perceives both beauty and usefulness in equal parts when designing and developing his ideas into thought-provoking, fluid and tactile forms. One of his principal aims is to challenge our understanding of what is possible, which he achieves through creative aptitude and his mastered ability to engineer in wood. https://vimeo.com/679104443 Our Ripples concept in bog oak, ash, walnut and limed ash Spotlight on the Ripples Collection The Ripples technique pushes laminating in a whole new direction with the principal intention to create elegant, clean and fluid forms which allow the materials to provide the detail. Inspired by the action of a stone dropping into water, Edward’s concept was to give the illusion of concentric ripples engulfing the entire form; bringing movement, life and softness to the surfaces. Edward spent many hours designing, refining and prototyping this technique to enable the successful crafting of this unique rippled effect in timber, fully exploring the constructional details and calculating the parameters and limitations of the material. Edward’s exploratory approach can be traced back to his university research, when he first began to explore different methods of bending and forming timber in three dimensions. Edward has been developing his techniques and methodologies ever since and this has led to his finely-honed and innovative techniques. The rippled concept can be applied to nearly any piece of furniture with any desired function, in almost any wood. This technique has been also been acknowledged by winning two prestigious Bespoke Guild Marks and the Wood Awards. 'Ripples' chest of drawers The Ripples chest of drawers is made from ash, with walnut, ash and cedar drawers. Dimensions: 140cm (w) x 95cm (h) x 45cm (d). Ripples won the Wood Awards in 2013 – The UK’s premier award for excellence in design in wood. 'Bog Oak Ripples' chest The Bog Oak Ripples chest is made in 5000+ year-old bog oak with an interior of book-matched olive ash burr. Dimensions: 128cm (w) x 55cm (h) x 50cm (d). The Bog Oak Ripples chest was awarded a prestigious Bespoke Guild Mark in 2016 (Guild Mark No. 460). 'Orbis' drinks cabinet The Orbis drinks cabinet is made in walnut with a quarter sawn oak interior and scorched oak base.Dimensions: 165cm (w) x 93cm (h), 54cm (d). The Orbis drinks cabinet was awarded a prestigious Bespoke Guild Mark in 2016 (Guild Mark No. 458). 'Reflection' linen chest The Reflection linen chest is made from limed ash with an interior of book-matched olive ash burr. Dimensions: 127cm (w) x 48cm (h) x 47cm (d). 'Splash' coffee table The Splash coffee table is made from light blue bird’s-eye maple and glass.Dimensions: 100cm (w) x 45cm (h) x 100cm (d). < back to news
Steam Bending
12th January 2022
What is steam bending? Steam bending is a traditional technique that was once widely used in the production of weapons, tools and vessels, and is now still used in the manufacture of furniture, crafting of musical instruments such as violins, and in boatbuilding. It can be a beguiling and magical experience to witness solid timber being manipulated and curved into various forms. The method is to expose the timber to steam to make it pliable. The heat and moisture from the steam gradually soften the timber’s fibres enough for it to be bent when still warm and retain the shape once it has cooled. The timber is placed in a steam box for a set amount of time depending on the thickness and type of wood. Sometimes the timing needs to be calculated by trial and error to get it exactly right, however, the general rule of thumb is to allow one hour per inch of timber thickness. Once the timber is ready it gets manually pulled around a former as quickly as possible. In the sample illustrated below we use a reinforcing metal band to the outside to prevent ‘blowout’. The timber is then clamped into position then left to cool and dry. Steaming bending timber in the workshop Do you use steam bending to make your furniture? For those who are familiar with our work will know that, more often than not, it involves many curved elements. We frequently get asked if we steam bend our timber, especially with regards to our Freeform technique and design style. The answer to this question is yes, on occasion we do, although it is important to note that we use more than one technique to make our curved furniture. Another construction technique we use frequently to make our curved elements is the process of laminating which is one of Ed’s specialities (and how our Freeform Collection is made). However, there are circumstances when we do use steam bending to produce certain results, and it all comes down to each design, and what technique would best suit what we are wanting to achieve. Two good examples from our portfolio that incorporate steam bending are our Sussex Chair and Sussex Mirror which both form part of our Sussex Collection. Sussex Chair and Sussex Mirror Steam bending vs laminating. There are both benefits and disadvantages to using steam bending over the laminating process. Steam bending can be a lot quicker once you have worked out the timings: there is far less material waste, no need to wait for glue to dry, and tighter curves can be achieved. However, on the downside it can take a lot of strength to bend it depending on size, you need to work the timber very quickly, and sometimes the timber is prone to splitting and blowout when bent or removed from the mould. It is good to note that some species of timber are also more suitable than others for the purposes of steam bending. Like most things, when choosing which technique to use it is all about having the knowledge and experience to be able achieve the desired outcome with the best results. Edward and his team demonstrating steam bending at Goodwood Revival Would you be interested to learn more about steam bending? If the answer is yes, you may like to consider participating in one of our new 5-day masterclass workshops. Come and join Edward Johnson and his experienced team and make your own Sussex Mirror in our well-equipped workshop and studio. You will learn about steam bending, spoke-shaving, shaping, sanding, refining, and oiling, with the advantage of taking home your own Sussex Mirror at the end of the week. Find out more... <back to news
Contemporary Craft Show
17th November 2021
Rother College, Midhurst: 4th and Sunday 5th December 2021. Once again, we are delighted to be exhibiting in the forthcoming Contemporary Craft Show with the Sussex Guild at Rother College, Midhurst on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December 2021. Sussex Chair made in ash We will be exhibiting a selection of items from our ‘Made & Ready’ and ‘Eco’ collections. You will also be able to see work from over fifty-five members of The Sussex Guild including fine examples of batik, ceramics, furniture, glass, jewellery, leatherwork, knitwear, patchwork, pewter, silversmithing, textiles, textile art and woodwork. Venue: Midhurst Rother College (formerly Midhurst Grammar School), North Street, Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9DTDates: Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th December 2021, 10am - 5pmAdmission: £3.00, students and children free.Your admission ticket allows you to return throughout the two days. Free Parking. Left: Ed, Edd & Eddy nest of tables. Right: Cube jewellery box About the Sussex Guild “The Sussex Guild is a group of professional designers and makers of fine contemporary and traditional craftwork, whose members live and work in Sussex and the adjoining counties of Kent, Surrey and Hampshire. The members have been selected for their high degree of skill and creativity. The Guild aims to inspire and encourage public appreciation of fine craftsmanship by organising shows and exhibitions in a wide variety of venues. Visitors to these events enjoy learning about the crafts they see on display for they can discuss with the makers themselves the design process, the techniques, tools and materials used.” < back to news
Sistine Chapel Book Display Cabinet
8th November 2021
This Sistine Chapel Book Display Cabinet, made to commission, is a little more unusual than most. It has been specifically designed and made to display and store a truly extraordinary set of three books. These stunning ‘Sistine Chapel’ volumes have been published as a collector’s limited edition by Callaway, after a five-year collaboration with the Vatican Museums, and the Italian art publisher Scripta Maneant of Bologna, Italy. Each page is produced at 1:1 life-scale and shows every centimetre of the Sistine Chapel, containing the work of Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Perugino amongst others. Book shown open with the extending arm supporting the third gatefold page. Each volume is large (61cm x 43cm), so our challenge was to design a cabinet that could elegantly display one book at a time, whilst also providing storage to protect them from dust and sunlight when not in use. The design of the cabinet needed to be robust, but simultaneously ‘light’ in aesthetics as not to overwhelm, with the true focus on the artwork. The cabinet is made from European burr walnut, that has been book-matched to create the symmetrical pattern. This sits alongside American walnut used for the legs, stand and drawers. The cabinet houses three separate drawers that are flock lined and are ‘push to open’, so no need for any protruding handles. One of the main aims was to make the cabinet as comfortable and ergonomic as possible for the user whilst viewing or turning the pages. The stand itself is very upright, enabling the pages to be displayed almost as a painting on the wall and visible from across the room: with the idea of displaying a new page every day. Left: Testing the display unit with one of the books in the workshop. Right: The cabinet fully installed, the side profile showing the diagonal line through the legs and stand. The cabinet itself is wall mounted with two legs to the front, which, from the side, align through diagonally with the uprights of the stand: each beautifully curved as a mirror image. The cradle part of the book stand is made from kiln-formed glass with a bespoke pattern that is inspired by the windows of the Sistine Chapel. The stand has a built-in extension arm complete with magnet that is designed to hold the gatefold pages of the book when fully open. Restrained page holders are made from a combination of walnut and fibreglass, and the cabinet is completed with patinated brass detailing and fixings with a lacquered finish. Sistine Chapel Book Display Cabinet: MADE TO ORDER < back to news