Our latest 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
NEW: Cube Jewellery Box
15th September 2021
Our ‘Cube’ his & hers keepsake / jewellery box is new to our Sussex Collection and available in elm and walnut. The design of the elegant 'Cube' jewellery box made in elm and walnut is based on our popular ‘Squaring the Circle’ jewellery box. We have selected beautiful veneers that make every box unique. They are currently available ‘Made & Ready’ in elm and walnut. A solid turned ‘dimple’ is incorporated into the top, which acts as a discreet handle to fully open the two sides of the jewellery box. The interior and the four removable trays are made from solid fumed oak that beautifully complements the elm exterior. The trays are lined with a quality dark grey suedette fabric. Cube box shown in elm and fumed oak with dark grey fabric Dimensions: 18cm (w) x 19cm (h) x 18cm (d) Limited edition of 100 If you would like to order this keepsake box in a different timber combination, please contact us or explore our bespoke furniture options. Cube box shown in walnut and fumed oak with dark grey fabric Buy now The Sussex Collection The Sussex Collection is a signature style that reflects Edward’s natural design aesthetic. You will see a resemblance running through the eclectic collection that expresses a classic yet contemporary feel. Balancing form with function Edward brings together clean, elegant lines and curved forms with stylish detailing. View our limited-edition 'Made & Ready' and 'Made to Order' furniture from our Sussex Collection. < back to news
1st September 2021
Sustainability, Recycling and the Environment We are always mindful of issues around sustainability, recycling and the environment at Edward Johnson. We are always looking for ways to improve how we recycle our waste products and timber, and by doing so, helping to protect and care for the environment around us. Longevity and sustainability run side by side and are intrinsic to most decisions Edward makes in both his personal and work life. He has always shared a deep love for the natural world, and if he is not in the workshop he will typically be in his garden. It is through the longevity of the products we produce, the timbers we choose and the way in which we deal with our waste that we do our upmost to respect the natural world. Our furniture is designed and crafted to a level which will see it far surpass our lifetime and be looked upon and enjoyed as heirlooms by future generations. Below we outline how we use sustainably sourced timber for all our projects and some of the other ways in which we are continuing to actively reduce our waste products and recycle wherever possible. Sustainable Materials When it comes to wood selection, we will always use sustainably sourced FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) timbers. We have a good relationship with our suppliers and select only the very best sustainably sourced timber from local suppliers. A selection of our EJ-eco products made from beautiful hardwood recycled off-cuts. EJ-eco Products We have very recently launched our EJ-eco products. These are small items made from our most beautiful hardwood off-cuts that may otherwise be discarded as waste. We have put our thinking caps on and given a lot of thought to designing products that not only use the larger off-cuts but also the smaller ones too! We have made a range of chopping boards, serving platters, flower holders, vases and plant holders where every piece is unique and different. We have also made door wedges and even wooden plant labels, and the product range is still expanding! We launched the eco products at our recent open studio to gauge our visitors’ reaction to them, to our delight we successfully sold most of our stock. Although at the opposite end of the spectrum to the high-end furniture we design and manufacture, these modest products were very well received. We felt that people really did get on board with the idea and ethos behind them. As well as enabling us to recycle our quality timber off-cuts, it has also enabled us to employ a young apprentice who helps bring these products to life. Recycling our Wood Waste As well as producing our EJ-eco products we also sort any additional hardwood that we cannot use into bags to sell for firewood and kindling. We have also reduced our waste substantially by giving any Plywood and MDF off-cuts to a local business to burn in a specially filtered biomass boiler system which heats their entire workplace. Alongside this we have also been recycling our wood shavings locally for composting, animal bedding and to local stable yards. General Recycling As you would expect we have recycling bins throughout the workshop and studio and even encourage our staff to compost their teabags and recycle their crisp packets! Recently, we sought to cut down our use of single-use plastics, by reducing the amount foam and bubble wrap we use for packaging, replacing it with brown paper and paper bubble wrap wherever possible – yes such a thing exists – it just doesn’t ‘pop’! < back to news
‘Excellence’ exhibition: 3-15 Aug
12th July 2021
The Society of Designer Craftsmen's ‘Excellence’ exhibition The Oxmarket Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1YHExhibition dates: 3rd to 15th August 2021 The forthcoming ‘Excellence’ exhibition in the newly refurbished Oxmarket Gallery, Chichester will showcase the best in contemporary craft from the members of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. 'Cube' versatile box by Edward Johnson Established in 1887, The Society of Designer Craftsmen continues to promote and support the work of creative thinkers, designers and makers who innovate through the exploration of materials and skills in their own creative field. ‘Excellence’ exemplifies the high standards of the Society and is being held in the magnificent buildings of Chichester’s historical Oxmarket Gallery, a deconsecrated medieval church full of light in the heart of the city. "We live in an increasingly tumultuous period of history and rapid change which, whilst presenting challenges, also offers immense opportunity.”Kate Mason, Chair of the Society of Designer Craftsmen The John Rank Gallery will stage the main ‘Excellence’ exhibition along with the Courtyard which will show ‘Excellence Outdoors’ with works suitable for open-air installation. The Wilson Studio will host a programme of crafts skills demonstrations from the Society's Makers and will also be home to an exhibition titled '20.21' showing small works of craft excellence. The Foyer and entrance will be a discovery area for visitors to gain insight into the Society’s aims, its history and membership. Members of the Society have created a new collection of contemporary craft. Combining innovative thought with supreme craftsmanship and over 30 artists have been selected to showcase their highly original and inspiring work including textiles, ceramics, glass, wood, paper, silver and jewellery. Selected makers:Wendy Newhofer, Elizabeth Saunders, Hazel Connors, Lilly Reid, Megan Cook, Kayley Holderness, Sigi Hill, Sharon Kearley, Claudia Luque, Deborah Timperley, Sue Lancaster, Wendy Dolan, Julia Desch, Nancy Goodens, Antonello Figlia, Silke Espinet, Ferri Farahmandi, Cathryn Shilling, Liz Ashurst, Jane White, Aran Illingworth, Toby Winteringham, Alison Tomlin, Samantha English, Jean Littlejohn, Christine Meyer-Eaglestone, Gillian Spires, Christine Johnson, Ruth Holt, Mayumi Kaneko, Simon Jewell, Pat Moloney, Carol Naylor, Batool Showghi, Jennifa Chowdhury, Sarah Waters, Edward Johnson, Adam Aaronson, Anna Bingham. The Oxmarket Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 1YHExhibition dates: 3 August to 15 August 2021Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10.00am to 4.30pmAdmission free. All works in the exhibition will be for sale. < back to news
Chichester Art Trail 2021
24th June 2021
Chichester Art Trail 2021: Open Studios: We have some fantastic news! We are really pleased to announce that once again we will be participating in the forthcoming Chichester Art Trail 2021. After last year’s trail being cancelled (due to obvious reasons) this year’s trail is all set to go ahead, albeit at a different time of year, this time in July! We will be open over the two weekends of the trail: Saturday 10, Sunday 11 July and Saturday 17, Sunday 18 July 2021 from 10.30am to 5pm daily. Edward Johnson's open studio September 2020 showing a selection of his furniture and Natalie Dowse's paintings. This is an ideal opportunity to visit (or revisit) our workshop and studio. You will be able to see a display of Edward’s furniture, see work in progress, meet some of the team, and of course, Ed will be available to discuss his work, techniques, and design inspiration with you. We would love to see you. All welcome*. Left: Family Tree keepsake box. Centre: Chichester Tables. Right: Luna key cabinet. This year Natalie Dowse, our studio manager, will be showing a selection of her paintings, and will also be here to talk about her work and techniques over the two weekends. Natalie Dowse - Left Crocodile tears 2. Centre: Cut 8. Right: Crocodile tears 3, oil on canvas, 46cm x 46cm. The 2021 Open Studios Art Trail sees 132 local artists exhibiting a wide range of work across 112 venues in and around the city of Chichester, West Sussex. We really hope that people are raring to go and meet the amazing array of artists and designers that Chichester and the surrounding area has to offer. Venue 105, Edward Johnson, 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. * This year, all participants will have Covid safety measures in place at their venues, for both artists and visitors to adhere to. We will be using the NHS and Trace system. Please also note all children need to be accompanied by an adult due to the nature of the workshop. Download a copy of the Art Trail brochure. < back to news