How quick?…

It’s not often I’m staggered. But I am. VisitEastofEngland.com got this all done in less than a day.

So we’re officially a Beccles tourist attraction…I wonder if I can get a reduction in business rates for that?

http://www.visiteastofengland.com/thedms.aspx?dms=13&venue=0721490

And the local newspaper and the Eastern Daily Press have done interviews and the article should be in this week or next…

If only everybody worked so quickly we might all be better off.

Two days of hard graft and no turning…

We spent the last two days cleaning, sweeping, making good, some more sweeping, painting, painting, painting, landscaping, sitting with hot feet in the river, putting in new lighting, and lots more besides. Shattered.

I nice gem of information which I forgot to mention…and shouldn’t have…the building is the original office building for Derby’s Timber Yard, which was a feature of Beccles for many, many years. In fact, my F.I.L. use to have his turnery for sale in the cabinet of Derby’s office, and my own woodturning club still has an annual trophy donated by Derby’s. Full circle.

Over the past two days we’ve had half a dozen people wanting to book a ferry trip…and the ferry stopped over eighteen months ago…maybe we should buy a boat!…and today, rather sweetly….and elderly German lady wanted to know where the thirteenth century three-arched stone bridge was…”Sorry, but it was replaced in 1880. And it was nothing to do with me!”…And she’d come specifically to see it…

I guess if you fly ryanair you’re bound to be late for something!

I’ve already had visitors! Roger came to offer help. Which was nice of him, but I can’t have somebody take holiday days to help. Paul came and lacerated his arms removing a monster rose-bush that was blocking the light. And some recent customers came to see me before they return home…sadly I was at the DIY shed buying blackboard paint, and missed them. Next time.

Glass of wine in the sun now.

Moving…

The reason for much of my preoccupation can now be made public…although it will interest only a few people…

I’m moving the workshop and gallery. As I’ve mentioned here in a number of posts over the last twelve months, the craft centre has been all but dead. This is largely due to it not being advertised as a craft centre, and this situation was not likely to change any time soon, so I came to the decision to move out some time ago. The problem was to where.

I must have viewed a dozen places, considered a few more, chased one to no avail, and fell upon one that I thought was perfect.  But there were problems and complexities that had to be overcome. None of which I can detail here. Anyway, they’re all sorted out now and I’ll be moving at the end of July.

The building is old and characterful, and sits right beside the Waveney river on the Norfolk Broads at Beccles. It has everything I need, and after some TLC should make a lovely place to work. It has been a working boat yard workshop, an artists’ gallery, and latterly a ferry building, and will now become cobwebcrafts.

the new cobwebcrafts workshop and gallery

This is the building, and you can just see the boats to the left. The sign is a paintshopped sign just to give an idea of what it might look like and remove the old ferry sign. Work begins next week prior to the awful job of moving everything over there! I’m dreading it.

And that’s the news!…

But it’s not the only news…

Joining me at cobwebcrafts is a friend of mine, John Wilson of Village Stained Glass. John will have his own workshop and we’ll combine the gallery space. I think it will work fine and we should even get the chance of the odd day off and still have the gallery open to the public.

For those turners who have visited me at the craft centre, and especially those who return each year when on holiday, it’s no further away in real terms, and has the benefit of being in Beccles town, close to the quay, and there are lovely walks along the river to Geldeston lock. And there’s good coffee across the water at the Quay!

So that’s it…

if you want to see where I’ll be, check here on google maps

We will be open on August 1st 2010.

The Market…

I have only done four outside events a year since I too on the workshop/gallery, having taken it to allow me the opportunity to cut down on shows and fairs. I kept the best events (for me at least) and the plan has worked well overall.

At weekend I had one of my best shows at Wisset Vineyard. It was a worthwhile weekend, and significantly better than the first event this year, but certainly not as good as recent years. What was encouraging was that the two best sales, of “top end” pieces, went to repeat customers. There’s nothing more encouraging than this for me.

What was also interesting was that all the other sales were at the “low end”. Nothing in the middle. My conclusions are these…

the credit crunch continues. Those who have always had plenty of disposable income still have it, and will spend it if they feel like it. Those that haven’t always had a lot of disposable income have significantly less, and are only willing to spend small amounts as a “treat”.

No exactly LSE stuff. But that’s how I read it.

Quite a few traders/makers didn’t sell a single thing all weekend. And this at an event where traders/makers are vetted for quality. Quite worrying.

But I have an awful lot to do this week. Commissions to be completed, or started in some cases! So back to the grind and let someone else worry about the financial climate. It just struck me that it’s ironic that in this time of global warming the financial climate is decidedly frosty.

Kitchenware…

I know some people think it’s a step back, but I do like making functional woodware for general use. There also seems to be a growing market for it which is a good thing. I’ve been making dinner plates in sycamore today, and also made a salt & pepper bowl out of an offcut as a gift to the customer which will go along with the four dinner plates.

Plates 10 3/4″ by 1 1/4″ deep, simmered in oil for an hour and buffed dry.

Another quick and easy kitchenware item that I keep getting asked for is the mortar and pestel. Here’s one in ash.

I have so much to do this week before an event at weekend that I don’t know if I’ll complete it all. But I can only try…

Not AWOL…

I haven’t gone missing, I’ve just been busy making mundane things which don’t inspire posting about them. I’ve also had a few things on my mind of late, which also don’t inspire posting about. So not missing, just missing topics for inclusion here. But I should have something to post about later in the week with any luck…

happy and safe turning

Parcel…

I while ago on the greenwood workers’ forum, Robin Wood was asking for suggestions for a name to give the new device he had developed for holding bowls whilst carving them with an adze. There were lots of suggestions, but surprisingly mine was selected. I had suggested BowlMate. The name has an obvious heritage, and I had just thrown it in with a raft of others. But that’s the one that Rob and Nicola chose, and so I won a prize. Already owning Robin’s book, I opted for a polelathe turned bowl. And it arrived yesterday morning.

 

Turned on a foot powered lathe, with the handles cut and shaped with axe and knife, and not a piece of abrasive ever near the bowl, it is a wonderful object to hold. The fine, regular tooling marks are a textural delight, and add a very earthy feel to the wood. I think it’s a fabulous item to own and use, and I’ll cherish it. So, thank you, Robin. I think I got the better part of the deal.

And it brings me right back to one of my boring old questions…

Why are we powerlathe turners so afraid of tool marks?