Sunday, 9 October 2011

Inspiration on the road.

Sitting in a New York Hotel in Midtown Manhattan is probably an odd place to feel inspired about traditional woodworking techniques, but not for me. I see it everywhere, whether its in the coopered and banded old wooden water tanks that perch on the roof tops of most buildings or the fine details in their period buildings, it cant be denied that the Americans are certainly up there in the fine building stakes
( or were ). They had a sense of scale, proportion and detail in their buildings that I've seen rarely in late 19th and early 20th century buildings anywhere else.

I'm here on my way across the U.S. with my family to take a chair class with a great windsor chair maker, Peter Galbert. On the way we stopped at Disneyland for Tom ( 4 ) so that he could get his fill of highly processed sugar and strange individuals in furry suits. Having said that, the place still amazes me and not for the spinning tea cups... it's the detail and what detail it is!

Case in point is this old railway station house. Sorry, new-ish station house. This one is at the rear of the platform where visitors don't even get to tread, on the ye-olde Disney train but the attention to detail is still there. It's visible in the verandah posts, fret work and corbals. The shingles on the roof, the detail in the ridge line, the pickets that line the end of the gable under the eaves, the double hung windows etc etc etc.

 So while everyone else was madly snapping photos of largish individuals eating their own body weight in 'cotton candy' and Coke with silly black ears, I was zooming in on pretty much every old replica building in Main St, Disneyland. I think of it as a scrap book of pic's to draw inspiration from for our up and coming renovation of our little cottage and the new build of our shop in Piper Street, Kyneton. No, the shop is not going to be a fairy tale pastiche building, ( watch this space soon for a sneak preview of the plans ) in fact just the opposite, but I do think that appropriate application of traditional design can add just what's needed to some buildings and renovations.

Similarly Peter Galbert's new windsor chair designs do just that. Take the best of traditional techniques and design and flow into contemporary chairs that are the finest of their type. So next week the camera will be blowing a fuse and glowing red with all the photos I'm planning on taking of the Crested Rocker I'll be making. But I have my new 16GB memory card which allows me to snap about 3700 photos before I run out of I should be OK. I'll whack some up on here as I go. Let me know what you think.

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