Our new featured maker is Saturday regular Andrew Lim. You can expect to see him in the workshop every Saturday working on his unique designs, in fact you could almost say he is part of the furniture! Ahem
We asked him about what inspires him and how he got into making.
‘I have always enjoyed art even in school but I wasn’t confident in making a career out of it so I studied marketing in university. I have been working in marketing for 10 years now, where I have worked in a digital agency, PR, events and strategy.
‘My story of making furniture only started when I found myself having to make a display table for my sister’s pet store. Realising that I actually enjoy designing and making furniture, I signed up to a fine furniture making course at the famous Cass School in East London so I guess my journey in art and design has come full circle.
‘After I’ve completed the furniture course, the tutor recommended Blackhorse Workshop to me so I could continue learning and I haven’t stopped making furniture ever since.’
What are you working on?
‘I am making a dining chair at the moment because I want to learn how to make a piece that has its own design rules and method of making. I use solid wood and join them together using the highly preferred but laborious way, the mortise & tenon joints.
Over the past few years Andrew has created a very special design feature on his furniture pieces by finishing the furniture legs with ballet feet.
‘The dining chair will join the rest of a collection of pieces in my flat, from tables and stool to cabinets and all of their legs have a variety of ballet feet on their toes which makes them look like they are always dancing and striking poses in the rooms.’
What do you enjoy about woodworking?
‘I started to appreciate quality pieces of furniture when I was visiting some furniture stores. I would place my head close to the displays and enjoy how the light bounces back from the beautiful grain on the surface. It is why I lean towards making pieces the way master craftspeople approach their work. Meanwhile, making pieces using my hands and hand tools is very therapeutic and to see a piece come together at the end brings me joy that comes from doing something with intense effort and a vision of my own aesthetic.
‘I came to realise that I have found my passion in life. It’s this very sense of comfort and being at Blackhorse that unexpectedly kept me going while I was grieving for my dad.’
Andrew’s work has gradually become more conceptual as his confidence has grown.
‘From merely woodworking, I’m now starting to explore conceptual aspects and I am really enjoying making quirky pieces using different materials and push the boundaries of how furniture could look like. I’m starting to see furniture as my medium of creative expression and I am excited about all the ideas such as placing mannequin hands on top of a storage unit to hold jewellery or wrapping a belt around a cabinet to lock the doors instead of using a locking device.
What are the benefits to working at Blackhorse?
Blackhorse fulfills many things for me – the place to learn a respected skill, a source of inspiration and the sense of community. I’ve been coming here on Saturdays for three and a half years. It’s a place where I can practice building my furniture making skills because Rob, who is one of the technicians, has taught me so much.
In the meantime, Enrique, who is another technician, has given me unconditional support and encouragement to push my limits as a maker. I’ve also found like-minded people who I love spending time with and we would have beers in the yard in the summer at the end of the day.