I’ve written elsewhere about the period in the mid-90s when my workshop in Bideford closed. This was due to a client disappearing to America, leaving a trail of unpaid bills. I was left with a young family, a bag of tools, a pile of books and a computer. This client, a psychiatrist whom I’d met at an exhibition in North London years and years before, was instrumental in keeping me making furniture.
He didn’t give a fig that I was a bankrupt, which is really important to me. Another client, Maggie Rose, was around this time, doing similar work with me. Without these two, I don’t think I’d be a furniture maker now. Clients are really important to creative people.
“CLIENTS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT TO CREATIVE PEOPLE, AND IT’S NOT JUST MONEY”
After that he wanted a designer desk and chair to go with it. I never got the chance to visit his home but he described where it would go and what he wanted. “There are no straight lines on a psychiatrist, no sharp edges, we are all smooth.”
I did the drawings and developed what was for me a new freeway of working. Each of the legs of the desk were a different shape or form. The plan was asymmetrical and my client said that suited him. The surfaces were going to be masculine, rich and lustrous, with a burr Vavona contained within a Honduras Rosewood form.
“THERE ARE NO STRAIGHT LINES ON A PSYCHIATRIST, NO SHARP EDGES, WE ARE ALL SMOOTH”
When I eventually was able to deliver the pieces I got another surprise. Delivery was not to a house in Yorkshire as I expected, but to a South Devon address. Like me, my client was, at that time, reinventing and redefining himself. These pieces, of which I am very proud, were a part of that process. Important things, pieces of furniture