Maker Project - Thinking through practice

Jeremy Bonner /  Leather Worker


Manchester Love Seat

Leather, Formed Plywood, Hardwood


I wanted to be part of the Maker Project immediately, having stopped to talk with Tom and seeing what it was all about. We had been lucky to take part in other furniture projects - the Heals Bodging Race in 2015 & 2016 - on the invitation of Chris Eckersley, and our role as leather workers supplemented the various designers and their work using chair parts donated by manufacturers.

Being passed from one designer to another made me realise the value of collaboration early in our career as makers; and I found the concept of using an existing chair frame extremely attractive as a result of this. I decided straight away that, for me, this project would have to be about describing our practice as makers, and also our relationship as a couple.

The format of a sofa or bench made for two was my starting point, specifically the Love Seat, and what could be more appropriate than a Love Seat that rocks - both intimate and romantic.

My favourite maxim, and one that I live by, is keep it simple. Our work is always an exercise in reductionism, and economy of materials is a priority, but ease of manufacture plays a very large part. Having been the recipient of a brain tumour in 2011 I fail to cope with complexity in any shape, form or situation.

On top of all this, like the Amish, I tend to eschew all type of extraneous decoration (as frippery, or at the very least, the work of the devil!). My love seat fulfils this criteria in its simplicity of design, but unfortunately belies how complex I found its making.

In order to fit the skis the leg format had to be changed to avoid the Love Seat having a bandy-legged appearance (the original front legs being closer together than the rear to enable stacking) This required my first brazing jig, along with those to bend the new plywood seat and back; six in all were made for this project.

I also decided to tidy up the welded joints with fillet brazing in recognition of Cox & Co., Watford being incorporated into Raleigh Industries in 1967. Fillet brazing being a sign of quality among bicycle frame makers. The leather covers also proved tricky, requiring careful pattern making, marking and stitch punching.

This project allowed me to rise to a challenge, regardless of outcome. And the requirement to record the process a timely reminder to check my methods and technique of making.

Project content to follow soon...


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