Top Ten favourite Designs No 5 – The Death Star

I know, it might sound a bit mad but one of my endearing memories of childhood was sitting in a cinema, mouth agape as an imperial starship flew over the screen with lasers flying and the seat below me shaking. Well it was all pretty new in 1977, this sort of thing.

Death Star

Death Star from Star Wars

The Star Wars franchise has expanded in recent years but I still recall the wait for the second and then the third film to be released, enjoying every viewing and finally, when we got our first house (and a video machine) getting them on video and seeing them again for the first time since they hit the cinema.

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Its been a while, a long while

It has been a long time since I last posted.

Having got really busy after taking up a new job managing construction projects and setting up a business to do this and also keeping the furniture going as well. This has kept me busy enough, but I also took up triathlon as well and therefore have been doing a lot of cycling, running and swimming in my spare time. It is amazing how much you can fit into a day when you really try.

Well I am going to try to do some more blogs now as part of my new years resolutions and let people know how things are going.

What I can say is that if you live in a country that does not have freezing rain, howling wind and cold weather all winter then you must be really lucky as since I have taken up triathlon I am getting a whole new lot of experiences with the Weather. It takes some serious will power to get up in the morning and go out that door for a run when the rain is pouring down.

Teaching, New designs and I’ve made it into print!

It’s been quite a while since I last blogged but I have a least some news to post.

I have started teaching at the National School of Furniture in Oxford part time, this takes the form of evening classes at the moment and is a great opportunity to encourage and excite people about crafting and making.  It’s good fun and hopefully I am teaching the students something along the way!

I have been waiting for confirmation of the design registration on a few pieces but this has come through now so I will be releasing some new flat pack pieces onto my ebay site, I just need to get some photography completed on them first, so I will blog the new work as soon as I have some images I am happy with.

And finally I have had an interview with myself published in Furniture and Cabinetmaker Magazine, pdf copy attached. Exciting stuff, after all it’s not everyday that you hear yourself in print.

20 Minutes with Ian Smith – F&C Jan 2013

Top Ten Favourite Designs – No 6 – Big Bridges

There are some things that always seem to look good no matter what is done to them, it is as if the natural standards of the object are intrinsically good and therefore it is almost impossible to make them look bad. When a bridge gets to a certain size it seems to be like this. It maybe something to do with the inevitable long slim proportion or simply to do with the structural requirements or maybe the impressive scale but I have found that a big bridge looks good.

Of course many bridges have been built over the years with lots of arches going between pillars but for me a bridge needs to have more scale than this, preferably with a large sweeping span or a carefully engineered design to cross the distance.

The Iron Bridge

The Iron Bridge

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Inspired Show Starts Next Weekend

It’s the final show of the year for me, I will be showing several pieces at the ‘Inspired’ show in Bristol. The show runs from the 20th to the 28th October and is held at the Ashton Court Mansion near Long Ashton.

It will be the usual pre-show week, checking things then delivering on Thursday; it’s a bit of a drive to Bristol for me but I can visit some friends in the process. I will be at the show on both weekends and if you visit it is just around the corner from the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge and also the SS Great Britain so could be combined with a great day out.

The Realisation of 1984; could it be just arriving?

I have always been intrigued by the ideas that writers come up with ideas that then become reality. Of course a well known one is the Star Trek flip open communicator that has been the basis of the mobile phone. But there are a lot of other ideas that seem to have come into fruition after being theorized as part of a book.

Some of these ideas seem quite innocuous to us today but if you go back to when they were created they were as far into the future as anyone could imagine. Take Arthur C Clarke and some of his ideas, the relatively well known one is the newspad, a flat, screened device the size of a foolscap sheet that downloaded news data via the computer network allowing it to be read. A blueprint for the iPad, even down to the name. This was in 2001, A Space Odyssey from 1968. However if you look to four years later and a document released by a Xerox  engineer Alan Kay it gives a complete blueprint for the iPad, including specs, prices and requirements. This Dynabook design was probably inspired by the 1968 film.

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I’ve become an Apple Cynic; but not for the same reasons as everyone else.

I have watched with quiet bemusement as the new iPhone is launched and bought like the latest toy at Christmas. What is it that makes all these people go out and spend half a thousand pounds on the latest gadget because it has a fruit logo on it?

The only thing it reminds me of is the Harrods sale when you see pictures of people in designer clothes fighting over some piece of crockery on the first of January. I still can’t fathom why they do it either.

Apple was an innovative and exciting technology company that re-invented music, then bought the tablet phenomenon to the world, but all that is in the past. The latest product is just a copy of all the developments that the other phone makers have introduced in the last 2-3 years, nothing original in it at all, even the look is a re-hash of the existing phone with a metal two-tone back. Presumably somewhere Apple have R&D department and they are coming up with new ideas but I can’t spot any.

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Now selling through a specialist furniture gallery

Doesn’t time fly, I must get back to more regular blogging. I shall make an effort to get up onto the computer and wait for it to slowly crank itself over and get going. Or is it just an excuse to make me buy an ipad, maybe one day.

Anyway, I have started selling through a specialist gallery, they saw my work at the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design show and invited me to put some work into the gallery. Artifex, based in Birmingham, well Sutton Coldfield just outside of Brum, have a large collection of work including pieces from some of the well known British makers.

I have supplied a Ribbon Table in maple and they have also got one of my new Round Twist Tables, the first time it has actually been shown in public. Interesting for them as the twist table is a pure design piece but designed to be easily affordable (ie. cheap), a difficult one for a gallery to market but they want to have a go.

I will also be supplying a Zig Zag Sideboard to them which will be down for delivery in the near future. The gallery has a good range of other pieces from paintings to jewelry so it’s a good mix for visitors.

Artifex website link here.

Ribbon Table in Maple by Ian Smith

We shall see how it goes but my work does give them something slightly different and I was pleased to see that my pricing is more than acceptable, so fingers crossed on sales. Next venture is a show late in October in Bristol, so getting everything ready for this, and I have also been invited for an interview with one of the monthly furniture magazines for a piece.

All this makes for an exciting couple of months.

Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design Show 2012

Well everything went well in the first weekend of the show. The launch evening was packed with lots of interest in the work on show. The first weekend was busy and 2 of my 3 pieces on show have now sold. As the show is on all this week and next weekend hopefully we will get lots more visitors.

The range of work on display is staggering with prices from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds I have attached a flyer below for anybody who is near Cheltenham and wants to visit. If you like design and craftsmanship and can get there then I suggest you do visit as it is without doubt the largest and best collection of this sort of furniture you will see.

I expect reviews will appear in the related magazines over the next few weeks with selected shots of some of the pieces. Link to the show website