Although an immense amount of time was taken up on the construction and renovation of my barn at Shotleyfield, Northumberland, I had to build up the furniture business that I created when first arriving there. In my mind was an image of a more modern William Morris, creating furniture and interiors from natural materials and by hand, within a country setting that would re instate the artist craftsman as a necessary part of town and village life. It is so much more rewarding when the work that you produce is for a family and can be appreciated every day by them and their friends, it is possible to give far more of your self in this art than in the physical props of a theatre show, although the play, the word, is of equal art.
William morris's Red House is in Bexleyheath, very close to Abbeywood, where I lived in London and this style had an influence on me. The mixture of painting and clear wood was a throw back to the Middle ages but I felt that it could be modernised in that all materials are able to be mixed and fused to create a pleasureable object, perhaps my wish is to not have such a fixed idea of style , just let the work create its own style with the mixture of materials and its necessary use.
William Morris'a Red House was designed by Philips Webb and had many of the Pre Raphaelite artist's work inside. William was 25 and his wife 19. After a six week
honeymoon in Paris, Belgium and on the Rhine, they moved into furnished
accommodation in Great Ormond Street and the following year to Aberleigh Lodge near
Bexleyheath to await the building of their new house designed by Morris' friend, the
architect Philip Webb.
It was after the building of the house and the designing of the interior that Morris and his
friends felt experienced enough in the art of interior design to set up in business. So in
1861 the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. was established and it quickly grew
and prospered as the public came to appreciate the new and innovative designs being
produced. The company was simply known as `The Firm' to many of Morris' friends and
customers. The Firm was dissolved in 1875 and the business renamed Morris &
Simple styled hand made kitchen units that I made from local grown timber. The inset is a waste bin.
With my need to constantly earn a living and support an interior design shop that sadly lacked any profit, I resorted more to making hand-made kitchen units, they simply gave back the profit that I needed to do the work on my barn conversion.
Staircase made from mahogany and panelled with pine.
This did not stop me from trying to give all my work an individual quality that could be recognised as my own.
This was a challenge, the origional conservatory was in a very bad condition but the front wall was recoverable, so I re made, in Cedar, the entire conservatorty except for the front glazed wall. This also included making all the metal fittings and making patterns for the curved glazing bars which were then cast in iron.