• NickRDFowke

Starting blocks . . . lets do it!

Starting blocks . . . lets do it!


A bit of background for you.  Out of uni, I did a short stretch as a postie.  Why a postie?  Well, I met people every day, it was good exercise and despite the early and incredibly anti-social starts it gave me the afternoons to job hunt . . .

That job hunt resulted in landing a job with a local furniture company based in Swindon.  They started out with a focus on garden furniture.  This job combined with a love of woodworking inherited from my grandfather provided me we a hunger to design furniture.  I did leave that post after a few years to pursue other areas of design and ultimately experience different businesses, but that thirst of creating furniture I can promote as my own has never left me.

So after a couple of years of doodling, sketching and doing a lot of talking about ‘doing my own thing’ . . . I was working with someone I knew through my retail design job, he saw those sketches and asked me why I wasn't making it . . . even getting this far, I owe that chap a whole lot of thanks.  He put me in the right mind-set.

I settled on a chair design in my sketch book and went on to research what I needed to do to make it a reality.

I recreated it in CAD, produced the drawings of the first draft and placed an order with a local metal worker.  A week or so later I drove over to collect the parts for my first chair frame.  I remember sitting on the kitchen floor and positioning the bits and getting my lovely wife Hannah to hold them in place while I took a couple of photos. 

Seeing the chair as a sketch is one thing, seeing it in person and touching it is a whole new feeling!

Anyway . . . I spent a couple of evenings in the workshop with a MIG welder that was last called upon for a Morris Minor Traveller restoration (Story for another day) and set to tacking the portions together.  I will share the result in due course.  I loved it, couldn’t believe I had got it this far.

Well . . . after that, I went up to London town and spent a day in Maltby Street Market with a very good friend of mine, playing around with design ideas for the back of the chair and different fabrics that could be used on the seat pad.

Bacon sarnies and sketchbooks are a fond memory of that day . . . 

Following on from that, I spent a little time on mocking up a seat back and seat base but then life got busy, very busy.

Attentions were diverted back onto finishing the 1930’s house we call home.  It was made liveable when my girlfriend (now lovely wife) and I moved in in 2010 but it was time to finish off some rooms.  Now, we have a 3 year old daughter and we are expecting our second child which has involved more challenges and house prepping.

Adding to that, I have a new day job as a design engineer and 6 months in I love it, it’s great and they are the best employer I have ever had the pleasure of working for, but I still have that hunger . . .

Time to pick the furniture up again and this time set some goals to make it there . . .

Having re-evaluated the first chair frame, I had an honest chat with myself which resulted in some tweaks to further develop it and improve its structure.

Time to make it official!  I spent my lunch break submitting a design registration for the chair.  So, fingers crossed I will have it granted in a couple of weeks.  At which point I will share some photos.

So, my goal . . .

A design registration lasts for 5 years and then needs to be renewed, so I have set myself the target of making something happen with my furniture within that time frame.  "That's loads of time, I hear you say!"  

Not with our busy lifestyle and a young family!!

It’s not going to be easy, but I have determination and 24 hours in a day so off we go . . .

More updates to come . . .

Contact Info

Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15

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