ONCE UPON A TIME….

Long ago in the dim and distant past there was an empty warehouse, a dirty yard, some old machinery and an enthusiastic bunch of makers who built a workshop.

Unbelievably now it’s time to celebrate our 4th birthday…so SAVE THE DATE for Saturday 10th March as we prepare for a night of revelry to mark this occasion. We’re looking forward to some musical mischief with live music from band King Hutch with DJs throughout the night courtesy of Dubroot, Bring the Beat Back and Vital Sound. Don’t miss the big reveal as we kick start proceedings at 7.30pm in spectacular fashion. And what’s more its free – and everyone welcome, so hope you can join us.

As usual we will be building a suitably fantastical structure to mark the occasion, and are calling for young hands to make light work of it. So on Saturday 3rd March we’ll be hosting a special afternoon activity for kids to get involved in bringing this magnificent FOUR-A-SAURUS to life…..click here to sign up for your ticket. 

‘I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few…’ William Morris

Blackhorse members Lola Lely and Laura Anderson have just been announced as the William Morris Gallery’s artists in residence for 2018. Lola, a multi-disciplinary designer/maker with a particular interest in using plants and other natural materials and Laura, a sculptor and professional woodcarver share a studio at the workshop. Laura has also recently started a Woodcarving for Beginners course at Blackhorse.

It was perhaps inevitable that a collaboration between the artists was on the cards. The joint residency came about when Laura and Lola’s use of traditional techniques shared a similar working process to the practices of William Morris. This unique opportunity will bring together their respective skills in design, textiles, woodcarving, drawing and modelling in new ways.

They will engage with the public with workshops and demonstrations that will celebrate the work and influence of William Morris but with a contemporary and local focus.

“Using the extensive archive collection of woodblocks, tapestries, textiles, stained glass and wallpapers as a starting point, we will experiment with different ways of using traditional processes – including carving, painting, casting and glasswork – to create a new set of handmade Morris-inspired designs in colours and objects which reflect something of the vibrant community of Walthamstow today.”

We look forward to following their journey over the coming months and sharing more details.

A Slice of Herb Palmer

Furniture maker Herb Palmer has been working with Homeslice Pizza on their newest restaurant, creating a glorious feast of burnt Douglas fir and steel. Their partnership began through the synergy of mutual homelands and friendships. Herb explains, I first met Ry Jessup, who started Homeslice, in 2015 or 2016. He is another Kiwi and when you come from that tiny island the whole ‘six degrees of separation’ theory can be whittled down to about two degrees.’

After graduating from The Cass, Herb started a furniture design business with Uni friend Thom Wilson, working from Blackhorse Workshop, it was at this time that he reconnected with Ry. ‘A few weeks after meeting him, Ry got in touch about getting me to make a new table base for their table that was falling apart.  I did that in an evening and from there more work started trickling in.

Clearly happy customers, Herb started making birch plywood pizza boards then oak tables, working up to a copper bar and then the courtyard seating area at the Old Street branch. In 2017 Thom moved to Brighton and Herb decided to go it alone.

‘Homeslice City quickly followed the Old St project and was my first solo undertaking. I think it was a bit of a leap of faith on the part of Ry and his business partners to give me the job – but I guess I had earned enough trust by that point.

Benefitting from the multi-talented members of Blackhorse Workshop, Herb joined forces with his fellow makers and set to work creating and delivering the main fit out with architects Path. The restaurant features simple and contemporary furniture which also manages to feel nostalgic, a modern take on an old diner classic. Booths made with Valchromat seating and burnt Douglas Fir tabletops sit alongside curved banquettes, functional and fun steel pizza box dispensers are suspended over the gantry.

With several projects are on the horizon, (and not just with Kiwis), Herb Palmer has a busy year ahead which he credits to word of mouth, but also the work clearly speaks for itself.

Visit www.herbpalmer.co.uk and follow him on instagram @herb_palmer_furniture

Blackhorse Burns Night

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Just to ensure excitement levels are kept high during this bleak midwinter, we’re celebrating Burns Night at the workshop on Thursday 25th January. Join us for a ceilidh with dancing, haggis and all round revelry. Tickets £20, and dress code strictly tartan (!), so hold onto those xmas scarves and socks…See you on the workshop dance floor.

Click here to book

Marquetry Mastery

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Blackhorse Member Jack Relton has been at it at again, with his signiture geometric designs. You may remember a post on the website we did in November 2016 about the tumbling tables he made for Crate Brewery – which you can read here – and this time, he has made these double wardrobes for  a client constructed from birch plywood, featuring geometric marquetry doors.

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“I made these double wardrobes using a geometric marquetry technique that I’ve been tinkering with for a few years. I’ve experimented with all sorts of raw materials: mild steel, reclaimed pallet slats, copper, brass, planed hardwoods. And I’ve tried out various processes: using jigsaws, chop saws and CNC machines; along with different concoctions of resins, fillers and oils.”

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“I have found myself using birch ply for more and more projects. The rigidity and clean lines make it a pleasure to work with, and I like the light, airy tone of the wood. On past projects I used an assortment of wood species. The varied tones, hues and patterns created an interesting effect when arranged together. For this project, I have tried to recreate a subtler vertion of that variegation using just one material. I cut all the triangles from the sheet in the same orientation, so that the grain runs in one direction. When the pieces are then arranged into a repeating geometric pattern, the light catches the grain at different angles. Each triangle takes on a slightly different tone, giving the impression of depth and texture, and causes the doors to subtly shimmer as you walk across the room. The marquetry pieces were laser cut for this project. The slight charring from the laser along the cut lines creates the illusion of a fine shadow gap between the pieces.”

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Jack has most recently been working on a birch ply dressing table for another client, which, of course featured more geometric marquetry and we’ve seen glimpses of it in the Workshop and the shapes he has pulled are looking ‘on point’. You can keep up to date with Jack’s designs via his instagram account at @jack_relton_design.

Christmas 20’E17

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The festive season is upon us and boy do we have a treat for you that could give Santa a run for his money! If you’re not feeling festive yet, you will be at the end of this post. Here’s what we have lined up this season.

The final Showcase exhibition at SIDESHOW called Makers Presents, will continue the theme of games and play on a big scale in homage to the enormously popular giant marble run. This exhibition has transformed SIDESHOW into a sparkling celebration of creativity, with giant suspended “glitter tool” decorations made by Rebecca Philips and fairground style games.

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The annual Blackhorse Workshop Christmas Market will take place at SIDESHOW this THURS 6TH DEC. Discover gifts and products by local designers and makers. As ever there will be an impressive range of materials and craftsmanship on show from leatherwork by Made of a Kind, to illustrations by Jenny Robbins, and terracotta homeware to wooden toys. From 5pm-9pm, come and feast your eyes and make some great purchases.

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The market isn’t the only opportunity to find unique Christmas gifts because you can come and give “The Nifty Gifter” a spin. A wheel-of-fortune style game that helps you select the right present from a loved one from an array of high quality products made from some of Blackhorse Workshop’s profilic makers including, beautiful wooden bowls by Dusty Waters and little house incense burners by Herb Palmer Furniture, the infamous ‘Wobbly Peyote’ by Tim Summers and hexagonal tealight holders by [M]odel Maker. If you’re still undecided, you can give our lucky dip a try for just £3!

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It wouldn’t be Christmas without festive activities too. You can bring the kids along to a ceramic tile tree decoration workshop next week or to our xylophone making workshop on Sat 16th Dec. For the adults, come and join us and Stow Film Lounge for an outdoor screening for the Christmas comedy Bad Santa on Thurs 14th Dec, stocked with mulled cider, street food and popcorn.

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And finally, it really woulnd’t be Christmas without a good party. The ever wonderful WheelpUp Sound System will be back to help us bid Sideshow a farewell with DJs Henry DubRoot Alderson, Jimmy Thunder, Axel Lewis and Vital Sound also on the decks. This will be the last night that the bar will be open at SIDESHOW. The last day coffee is served will be on Wed 20th Dec.

So, feeling festive? Hope to see you at some of our events as we say goodbye to SIDESHOW.

HAVE A NIFTY GIFTY CHRISTMAS

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To mark this first day of advent, we’re presenting, The Nifty Gifterdesigned to take the panic out of your Christmas Shopping.  Spin the wheel to match makers product to friend type. Then simply pay for your gift, and walk away happy!

This genius game alongside a Lucky Dip and Make-O-Meter that tests your strength as a maker (are you a Champion Chiseler or Rookie Router?) are all on display at our pop up Sideshow  until the 23rd December.

And if you fancy a stress free Christmas shop, then come along to our Christmas Makers Market, next Thursday 7th December from 5-9pm also at Sideshow. Mulled Wine and Hot Dogs on tap to keep you suitably nourished.

For full details, click here

P.s.Thanks to Lauren Edmondson for her marvellous paint job.

“Pop-Up to Grown Up?” Matzine Debate

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London. The fast-paced city, full of renowned historical architecture to architecture that is every changing.  The editors of the radical architecture publication Matzine will be opening up a discussion on Wed 6th Dec about the views of temporary use and the long-term effects that the current ‘pop-up’ culture has had in cities over the recent years.

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“From temporary cinemas to community gardens, to retail mini cities of stacked containers, out cities have seen an influx of projects that make use of temporary spaces. What do these short-term projects serve? Are they ever in the public benefit? Could we make better use of vacant spaces in the city? And what is left behind once they disappear?”

In debate, we’ll look at the bigger picture and consider the challenges that face those trying to increase community pride, mutual values and encourage perpetuation. The debate and themes that spin-off from it will go on to be the content for Matine’s 14th edition.

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Our panel for the evening includes:

Dr Olivia Horsfall Turner
Senior Curator Designs V&A + RIBA Architecture Partnership Lead Curator
Tim Abrahams
Curator of the ‘Style: In Defence of… talks at the Sir John Soane’s Museum
Dr Crystal Bennes
Artist, Writer and Curator
Eddie Blake
Architect at Sam Jacob Studio
Lee Ivett
Director of Baxendale

Book tickets here.

The Man in the Moon

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We’ve had a great stream of new designers and makers joining the workshop over the last six months. It’s been incredible getting to see the diversity in the work that gets created under the same roof, so we thought we’d introduce you to Adam of Azmy Anything. Adam has worked in the film industry for over 10 years, most notably as part of the Oscar winning VFX team behind Gravity. Drifting from the digital world into the physical has been a way to combine an endless enthusiasm to figure out how things work – with how to make things work.

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“I’ve always been making and love making, so its hard for me to define what made me start. Part of it is a thirst to know all of the skills! (impossible) It’s the main reason I love working in film, which I see as the ultimate coming together of people from very different expertise. But my move into making the furniture and objects I do, came whilst going through a long building depression and the realisation that design and making works, for me, as a form of therapy, slowing me down and keeping me balanced. Its been a great way to focus and unlike film, have an outlet that is selfishly, mine.”

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Adam has had a huge ongoing interest in space and science, which has inspired the globes which he is currently making; an idea that came to him quite suddenly whilst looking through a telescope.

“I had the urge to hold it, and rotate it. Whilst I love to make things that have a use, the idea of having a Moon globe was too exciting. 3D printing came up as an option for a way to make a very accurate depiction of the moon, but I really wanted to make this by hand, out of more natural materials and also get away from the computer side of things for a bit. Whilst that made me sacrifice it being scale perfect, it did let me go after the texture and feeling of seeing the moon up close.”

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Making a globe by hand? Impossible you’re probably thinking. Not for Adam – he wouldn’t be called Azmy Anything if he didn’t think it were possible. In order to achieve what he wanted, he built a device to help him get an almost perfect sphere out of bowl blanks that laminate together.

“It’s a plywood lathe, powered by a sewing machine motor, with a router on an arm that arcs around the centre of the spinning piece. I also use this to make the craters once I have the sphere, by tacking on a colour coded map I made of the Moons surface using data from NASA. Adding this to the steam bent frame with a built in light, really enhances the texture of the surface. Peoples reaction is to touch it and move it around, its quite a childlike reaction, which I love.”

“The lamps in comparison, are quite a simple concept, which for me is a rare thing. I liked the idea of them being a single object (no base or angle arm), that you could either face out or away or even hang. A large part of its design came through necessity of the recycled solid oak flooring I wanted to use.”

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It’s not often you have people making their own wood lathes and using the in the workshop space. Having the space to do that with access to woodworking machinery was crucial to the building and creating of these globes as well as the lamps. He first came to Blackhorse Workshop very soon after we opened, but had onlt really been using it regularly over the past year. The more his projects progresses, the more we wanted to be at the Workshop and now has a dedicated space here. He’s currently making a couple of moon globes to sell, some solid wood spheres for photo-shoots as well as a number of lamps.

“I’m also in the design stage for a couple of commissioned pieces of furniture. An expanding sewing and pattern cutting table and a unique drinks cabinet. Having access to equipment, knowledge and space is quite invaluable and unique, along with no longer infuriating my neighbours at home by sanding, sawing and sphere-making on my roof.”

To stay in ‘orbit’ with what Adam gets up to, head on over to his profile page on our Members Directory for links to website and other pages online.

We Need Your Votes!

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If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you might have seen that we have been approved for the Aviva Community Fund line-up – a funding opportunity that helps fund an important community cause. Financing over 500 projects UK wide, they are looking for organisations to make a positive difference in the community and we need your help in securing our place in the finals.

Day 2 of the Barbican's Summer Garden Party in Lloyd Park, Wathamstow in London on Sunday, 27 July 2014. Photo by Mark Allan

We have entered a proposal for our children’s Make Stuff Club – a series of kids workshops here at Blackhorse Workshop. It was piloted earlier this year in August with funding from William Morris Big Local and was hugely successful. Since then, we have run a string of kids and family activities at our pop-up venue space SIDESHOW and now we plan to run these types of classes regularly at the workshop.

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Our proposal is to trial a new monthly half-day weekend making session in both woodwork and metalwork for kids and adults to partake in together –  a bonding experience through making.

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Please support us by voting for the project. Click on the link below for full project information, where you’ll be asked to register and cast up to 10 votes.

With your help, we can continue to encourage the designers, makers and creators of the future.

Voting is open until midday on 21st November.

VOTE HERE: https://community-fund.aviva.co.uk/