Thursday, 1 January 2015

You say goodbye, and I say hello...

To quote the Beatles above, goodbye 2014 and hello 2015. It's been an interesting year again as I sit on the couch and reflect about the year that just was.

A years worth of renovation on the old house at Tylden. I have to start referring to it as Pineville, as we've been reliably informed it was given that name due to there being numerous Californian Redwoods ( Giant Sequoias ) planted near the house and in the front paddock. They've long since gone, but we've planted a new one in their place. But it's a good name nonetheless.

 In fact here's the one that used to stand in front of the house. This was in the 1920's I believe. We've been given a lot of old photos of the house, which I'll try and post in the future. They are a great reference.

But although we didn't hit our goal of moving in prior to Christmas, we're not far off, essentially just waiting for the tiler to come in and tile the bathroom and kitchen before I can fit it off with the basin, bath, toilet etc. But to get to that point there was a heck of a lot of work to complete first. Including fitting new custom windows and doors throughout the house, patching termite eaten weatherboards, insulating every internal and external wall and cladding most internal walls with lining boards too.

Kitchen floor

 After getting it to this lockup stage we've also replaced most sub-floors throughout and obviously the floors above them. This included replacing the original baltic boards in the lounge and front room and installing new 180mm wide Spotted Gum boards in the kitchen and side entry. What we refer to as the study, the front room on the right, received brand new 22mm thick baltic boards to replace the originals which were completing annihilated by the termites. They are exceptional quality and were top fixed, 
( hand nailed ) as were all the boards we replaced, just like the originals.

We figure we should be in the house in the next month or so.

Hoo roo little house!

But restoring a house like that does not come cheap and was certainly more than we could afford, so that resulted in another change of direction last year. We sold our little Shaker style cottage, 1774, which was the first place we had renovated when we moved to Kyneton. That sale has allowed us some capital to continue with the house and also focus more intently on our core business, making chairs and teaching too. It was a little bitter sweet, as I was quite fond of the place, but it's all about moving forward so I'm told…..

Photo by Ian Hill

So with all the renovations and action out at Tylden, I have to say, there was diminished time in the workshop, which certainly didn't make me happy. Commissions for chairs, I often worked on whilst teaching chair making classes, and used the chair I was working on to demonstrate. Although not ideal, it did allow me to make about a dozen chairs and stools for the year. Which although not a lot, I'm still a firm believer of quality over quantity. 

Chair, stool, shaker oval box and bucket making classes were all a blast and well attended, for which we are really grateful too. This year is proving to be busy too with most classes booked up already. Another great addition to our business is that Brodie, who has worked for us in the shop for some time, is now also teaching the Shaker Oval Box Class too. She's a great talent and is proving to be just as capable an instructor too. I'm looking forward to working with her more in the workshop throughout the year.

A highlight of chairs I made this year, was a Marigold Yellow Continuous Arm Rocking Chair I made for our very good friends, David and Claire who live here in town. The chair was made for nursing their second daughter, Ella who was born late last year. It's a great thing to visit and see the chair in Ella's room and know that it's being used to rock her off to sleep most nights.

In fact I'm finding that more and more parents are ordering that chair for that very reason. 3 or possibly 4 of them in 2014. Including the last one I just finished off a few days ago.

Photo by Ian Hill

There was also a very tall four legged bar stool I made for a local graphic designer. Designed to sit him at the same height or line of sight as when he's standing, it was a stool that I made a prototype of first, just to ensure we got it right. Unlike a standard barstool which has a fairly flat seating platform, this stool also had a seat which was raked forward, like the 3 legged Perch. This was due to the client having a bad back and wanting the benefit of the Perches ergonomic seating position. So there were a lot of prerequisites, but in the end the client was thrilled and I'm pretty pleased with the end product too.

All buckled up and ready for the voyage….

Then there's chairs that have travelled a little father abroad than Kyneton too. This Continuous Arm Rocker was crated up and sent across Bass Straight to it's new home in Launceston. 

Photo by Ian Hill

And here's the pair of Continuous Arm chairs from the last post. They ended up in Victoria's Western District.

And lastly the thing that has occupied a lot of mine, and almost all of Lisa's time, is the impending 2015 Lost Trades Fair. Only 60 odd days away on the 7th & 8th of March, there's still a heck of a lot of work to do but it's shaping up to be something quite exceptional. Last count we have over 70 demonstrators that will be there for the weekend, all working at or demonstrating their unique and mostly rare trades and crafts. We're really quite excited about the whole thing. Another exciting development is the ability this year to book on line and avoid the long queues of last years Fair. 

You can follow the link here and follow the prompts, there's also family tickets at reduced rates. The response so far has been great, so if you know or think you'd like to go, grab a ticket on line and save the possibility of it being sold out…..

You can also follow Lisa's Facebook page dedicated entirely to the Fair. She posts every few days about various demonstrators who can be seen at the Fair this year, and the following already is immense.
Click here, Lost Trades Fair to have a look! 

I know I've said it a lot of late, but I do intend to post a lot more content on the blog this year. And the Lost Trades Fair will feature pretty heavily too in the lead up.

But for now, I wanted to say thank you to all who have followed the blog ( and Instagram - Rundellandrundell ) over the past year and longer. Your support is valued and I hope you enjoy following along with myself, Lisa and Toms' journey here in Kyneton and about the place. Happy new year and I hope 2015 is a great year for you all.

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