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.”


“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.


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.


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.


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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


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.


“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.


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


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.


“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.”


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.”


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.”


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.


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.


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.


Walthamstow Wetlands Wonder


In two days time, just ten minutes from the Workshop and a stone’s throw from SIDESHOW, London’s largest urban wetland nature reserve will be opening. The brand new Walthamstow Wetlands project will  house London’s largest open spaces in the Thames Water owned reservoirs and these reservoirs supply up to a third of London’s drinking water.


The main feature of the Wetlands will be a new cafe and environmental education centre after the conversion of the derelict Victorian built Marine Engine House.

Blackhorse Workshop was approached by the council who were looking for local makers to come forward to make the servery for the new visitors centre cafe. Blackhorse member Odel Jeffries, along with the help of  Christina French and Enrique Melin, got the opportunity to take on this project with Witherford Watson Mann Architects as it’s designers and Rooff as it’s contractors.


Jeffries, used reclaimed iroko wood for the worktops to give a more aged feel to the counter, almost like it was part of the original existing building. This long counter is 4.4m and oak panelling has been used around the front and sides. The idea for this was to use the original oak panelling that had been reclaimed, however he found it challenging sourcing the amount they needed that was good enough to use, so new oak panelling was made especially and stained to match the existing panelling. All in all, creating a rather beautiful finish.


The Walthsmstow Wetlands offers a unique resource for everyone to access and for free too. The upgraded access to nature and leisure activities that the wetlands will provide, aims to enhance the health, wellbeing and quality of life for the local area and the estimated rise in the number of visitors will also lead to a exposure for visitor economy and help reinforce physical regeneration plans in the neighbouring area –  we’re  looking forward to paying a visit!

For more details on the project, visit their website:

All Aboard!

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The Workshop has seen a number of great changes this year – the new office space and Wood St Coffee‘s bright new, cactus filled café, to the education space. One of the other notable changes that has played a big part in the use of the workshop for our members has been the new outdoor working area.

Consisting of four bays each measuring  11.5sqm, that can be used right up until 8pm, three of these bays have been let out long term to some of our existing members who work on larger projects including La Maison de Furniture, who as well as having access to the workshop, now has more  space to sand and assemble. The remaining work bay is available to book up to a week in advance on a short term let for anyone needing space for larger projects at the same day rate as a bench.

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If you’ve ever been to the Workshop or come to the café, you may have noticed – and it’s hard not to miss – a boat being built. We spoke to the man behind the boat David Vivian, one of our long term members to ask all about the wonder that has had people blown away.

I went to boat building college in 2008 after deciding a practical skill was the way forward, so I was a boat builder for 5 years and then moved on to make furniture but have always wanted to come back to making boats and the new outdoor space at Blackhorse seemed like the perfect opportunity to make a boat. I had an idea of this prototype I wanted to try that I had been working on the computer with for around six months and I put the pieces together and here we are!”

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Deciding that you want to start building a prototype boat isn’t as easy as it sounds. Finding the space that can accommodate such a large build is challenging.

There were a couple of other places that I could have gone too. My old boss Mark Edwards from boat building college who I apprenticed with, owns a ramshackle boat yard in Richmond, right underneath Richmond Bridge where he makes traditional canoes, and setting up a space there would have been an option. The other idea was to move out of London into a friend’s barn but I didn’t go with that option either and then there was Blackhorse, where there is always access to the machines and I was already a member which all-in-all made it a tempting place.”

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Knowing how much space you’ll have has been good. In the workshop it can be hit or miss during the week, not knowing if it’ll be full with people or have few people, plus having more space has of course been useful. The access hours have been helpful as well, as I’ve had some late nights. More importantly, with a project like this, you don’t have to worry so much about getting dust over everyone else as you’re in outside in your own space.”

Before commencing with the actual building of the boat, David had to first build a covering for the boat. The process of assembling the boat has involved lots of gluing, clamping and waiting. David has been using a mix of Douglas Fir, Pine, Timber and Accoya which is a trademark product, using a treatment like process that increases the resistance of wood like pine and timber, to protect it against things like rocks and water. The process was perfected by a dutch company who take fairly, widely available and sustainable wood and turn them into more useful, durable material.

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Once the prototype is finished, what happens next?

Ideally, I’d like to make more of them if I can find some people to pay me to make them. I still have the furniture side of the business and I have tried to maintain some contracts I had in the industry, so if a boat order doesn’t come through, I’ll always fall back onto furniture. There is a good market of Thames boat users and in the home counties. Eco-conscience people are a good market as well because of the electric side of it boats. All of these demographics tend to prize antique and historic boats because no one seems to be producing anything that can match the elegance and cache of those older boats in more modern boats, they just tend to be boring plastic boats so hopefully that’s something I can offer. We shall see.

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We asked for David’s final thoughts on using the outdoor working bay and whether it has the same feel of being in the Workshop and we think he summed it up very well.

“The fact that there are a couple of more permanent sharers of the space does give you a feel of being inside the workshop. It’s got a similar sharing and caring vibe. Sharing tools, sharing advice, is what Blackhorse does well.”

London Design Week, 16th-24th Sep


London Design Week is finally upon us – the best time of the year to explore some of the work of London’s best architects, artists, designers and retailers. Over the duration of this week long festival, parts of London have been adorned in large scale creative installations, events and exhibitions.

Looking out for something to visit? Some of our very own Blackhorse Workshop residents will be showcasing their work as part of the Design Festival.

MARC WOOD STUDIO: Come and join lighting designer Marc Wood on Thurs 21st September from 8pm at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, for a private view of the new Pleated Crystal Collection where there will be a mixture of pendant lights, floor standing lamps and desk lamps, made from Czech blown crystal glass. The night will be his official studio launch, which marks the beginning of his company officially so it is a big night all round and we have some exclusive free tickets to give away.

A printable version of the ticket to show attendants at the door can be downloaded here – admittance is only one ticket holder with one guest.

FLYNN TALBOT at the V&A Museum: An immersive, coloured light experience called Reflection Room made by former Blackhorse Member Flynn Talbot, will be the first London Design Festival installation to be housed in the V&A Museum’s Prince Consort Gallery.

The 35m long gallery has been transformed with orange lighting tubes that have been installed at one end of the gallery and blue lighting at the opposite end, making the entire space flood in a gradient of colour. One not to miss.


TIM SUMMERS DESIGNThe Wobbly Peyote designed and made by Tim Summers will be making an appearance as part of Cass Starters at SCP where students of The Cass were briefed by SCP to create small, simple, attractive and easily-shipped domestic products. After graduating, with the help of the London Met Accelerator (The University’s Student Enterprise Programme), they created Cass Starters was a series of individual Kickstarter campaigns, launched in October 2016 all of which were successfully funded, with some of the products now in full production.

A stand of the products of the Cass Starters designers will feature at SCP for the whole week and customers will have the opportunity to purchase these products through SCP.

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SIDESHOW: Architecture is a big part of design week as well and in the last few years, London has had an increasing number of pop-up spaces and installations dotted around the city. In a piece, discovering and celebrating designs that make London a more fun place to be, Time Out London have featured Sideshow along with Villa Walala in Broadgate’s Exchange Square and Modified Social Benches at the Southbank Centre as places to visit this Design Week.

On Saturday, Sideshow will be hosting a Musical Mobiles Workshop where multi-disciplinary artist and designer Lola Lely will guide people in creating a beautiful sculptural object using an assortment of materials, and how to combine colour, shape and texture to create a finished mobile that responds to it’s environment – perfect to display in your own home or give away as a gift. More info and booking here.

Sideshow opening times for LDF are Mon – Fri 9.30am-11am, Sat 10am-2pm, Bar open Thurs & Fri 6.30-11pm.



DARKDOOM: A Graphic Installation of foliage named GREEN ROOM will be at Old Shoreditch station, launching the new collection of planters. Join them on Tuesday 19th from 6pm-10pm for drinks and dancing, sitting amongst the leaves, browsing the mini Darkroom pop-up shop and enjoying a coffee at the relaxing festival pitstop.

Co-founder of Darkroom Rhonda Drakeford, will be hosting a workshop at Sideshow next month in making your own stylish chopping board. Details and tickets can be found here.



Do try to pop along to some of these and there is an array of other things to see across London. It’s weeks like this that give people the opportunity to salute the creativity in London and remind us of the incredible the talent around this vibrant city we live in.


Join us for Open House Weekend

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We are delighted to be a part of Open House London this year.

Open House celebrates London’s architectural wonders across the city, by giving free access museums, churches, public buildings and private houses that would usually be closed to the public. Over the course of the weekend, people can go on guided walks, tours and take part in activities, learning something new about some of London’s most beautifully built buildings.

Not only will the Workshop be opening it’s doors for Open House but so will SIDESHOW this year.

Architect Mathew Leung from the Turner Prize winning  collective Assemble will be hosting a tour of the Workshop and its recent developments at 2pm. Click here to book.  You’ll get to hear directly from Mathew about its initial stages to the development of the project and how the extension has responded to the ever-growing needs of the workshop and it’s facilities to it’s 800+ members.


Meanwhile, over at SIDESHOW ehk! architects who designed the ‘stage set’ that forms the backdrop of SIDESHOW, will be running a workshop making your very own paper cut diorama stage set of Walthamstow’s industrial past and bright future. In their design for SIDESHOW, they drew on the area’s industrial past and the skyline that this produced and are fascinated by how the buildings that form the backdrop to our lives can tell a story about the way we live through time. Tickets can be booked here.

The Workshop and SIDESHOW will be open to visitors from 10am to 4pm.

For more about Open House and other intriguing places to search out, visit: