Yesterday was the final day of the Visiting School, and after an intense two weeks of work and play it was time to say our farewells!
Alongside a last few hours in the workshop, frantically sanding and oiling the pieces, we focused on completing the books that had been designed with Eva from Kellenberger-White. The content was divided into Research and Production, and stitch-bound inside the wood-block prints which had been folded down into covers. Hamza was also beavering away on the film, which (after a few more tiny edits) be published soon! After a super quick lunch, there was just about time for the AA certificates to be handed out and for one last photo.
Both the chair and the stool turned out really well in the end – particularly the CNC milled lattice pattern of the stool seat, and the curved forms of the chair back and legs, in conjunction with the elegantly formed solid oak seats. Neither of the prototypes were quite as robust as we had hoped; mainly due to the steam-bent and laminated legs which were a little undersized. Annoyingly these also turned out to be one of the most time-consuming (and expensive) components in the end, requiring each piece of oak to be cut down in half, multiple jigs, glue… and an excess to be made given the failure rate of about 50%! Even Ercol, after a nearly a century of trial and error has a high rejection rate of about 30%, so given our meagre two weeks of experience and the variable conditions we were working in (temperature / humidity etc) we did pretty well!
On reflection, the simplicity of the joints and proportions of the earlier prototype chair, made for the mid-way crit, were perhaps more suitable for the time-frame we were working within – but it was a great learning experience to try to the more ambitious and refined design. With Jack’s help later in the summer we’re going to reinforce the existing pieces, and make a few new ones (with a tweak or two!) to deliver to the school in time for the new term.