Linke many of my fellow furniture buffs, I have always been interested in contemporary work. Most of us are no longer satisfied with a purely academic approach to furniture history and want some level of workshop experience, be it supervising restoration and or conservation in discussion with an experienced craftsman or a more direct approach in getting our hands dirty! I was able to take this to a higher level myself in July 2009 when I made a Windsor chair under the excellent tuition and supervision of Tom Thakray. I was so proud of my achievement that Fiona Bruce insisted on me bringing the chair to the B.B.C. Antiques Roadshow recording at the Bowes Museum in County Durham and my efforts were broadcast to millions of viewers!
Over the last fifteen years I have been asked by clients to commission new furniture for certain rooms or for a specific purpose. These projects have been very rewarding and one soon realises that it is not simply a question of working into a workshop and saying what one wants. In each case there has been considerable discussion and I have been lucky enough to have been involved in the design and specification stages with frequent visits to the makers’ workshops to check on progress and discuss intricate matters of detail. One project took over three years to achieve from concept to installation. In each case the work involved has greatly helped my appreciation and understanding of the way furniture is made now and was made in the past.