“Between the experience of living a normal life at this moment on the planet and the public narratives being offered to give a sense to that life, the empty space, the gap, is enormous.” John Berger

unspecifiedThe astute among you might notice a couple of things; the photography in this post is of an unusually high standard for this blog, and there also seems to be a prominent retailer presence making its mark.

unspecified-4Every now and then, our good designer friend Justin Hutchinson calls on us to help him midwife design intent through to finished prototype… So last winter for Denn Fair inunspecified-3 Melbourne we threw some late nights and early mornings in order to squeeze out the three pieces on show here.

I am biased as I sweated for this one, but the simple handsome detailing you can see here is
Justin’s hallmark.

I particularly like the dining table ‘leg to rail’ relationship which is a hard detail to make genuinely pleasing, striking and original.

It is worth expanding the image to the right to see the crisp subtle curve that sweeps away under the table edge and shows itself most clearly where it meets the vertical line of the leg which fully penetrates the rail and is attached with an ingenious knock down system of steel plate and threaded rod…


Three legged poor boy round table above was maybe the most fun as we had to work out how to execute an exact, dangerous cut on a massive knife while running  against the usual ‘safe’ direction of feed (makers – you know what I mean)…

Good work Justin – also Cosh Living get my approval for pushing upstream in a very competitive market and making the effort to source and make these pieces locally. At least at this stage… lets hope we see more work like this – Australia is rich and dense in design innovation and we know a few decent makers around too these days…

Cheers Justin!

– John.



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Details, details…


Going over old photos, I had to put up a few more detail shots of the last batch of img_9743Leatherback chairs – Getting the upholstery right was not at  all plain sailingimg_9708 – some of the seats had to go back and get re-bound onto the substrates so that the degree of ‘squish’ was just right for the inserts.

Its a very fine line between too tight and too slack…

After much staring,I think my favourite view of these is from the back – it shows the strong rear rail that gives the piece its strength… I’m not sure I’m done tweaking yet though.

 – John

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“Your library is your portrait” – Holbrook Jackson


Any chance I get to make storage for books, I jump at these days. There is something honest and considered about bookshelves, and when I was asked to make a small library for an academic img_5808with eclectic tastes who lives less than a mile from the workshop, I couldn’t have been happier.

Using all solid White Oak timber and solid copper accents all through the unit, we’ve img_5780-1
made a wall of book and record storage, with a handmade ladder that hangs on a rail. The sliding doors are frame and panel with copper handles and there is a small built in wardrobe with enough room for a suit, shirts and a couple of pairs of shoes for the weekend guest.img_5878

In this study/library, there is a built in wine rack as well as a standing height desk along the side wall in all the same rich materials…


More library work please!


– John

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“The discontented man finds no easy chair.” – Benjamin Franklin.


A long while in the making, these 6 dining chairs are an upgrade from IMG_9711the quite OK version we have put into cafe’s at times, but these have been made a deal more kindly on the derriere…

IMG_9721Our patient patron also requested a coat of white oil to bring out the grain – We think she made a good call.

A while back we quoted a 19 Century industrialist saying ‘there’s no money in chairs..’ Now while that is mostly true and they remain one of the trickiest of objects to get right, they are also possibly the most satisfying thing to deliver  – seeing the individual you’ve made them for settle in and relax is worth the effort.

 – John


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Time heals all wounds…


In the holographic cosmos, all of life is right here, now – past, present, future.

Growth rings mark time and times passing, showing each years face unique for those who stoop low to look close and slow and sweetly at the clues.

Each one anew – some bold, marked by strong clear lines – a good year, a growth year – full of sunlight and water and seeds blown along brother wind, sap pulled along tiny pipelines by sister moon; all of this held in our slow spinning home from where we see the stars and stillness and void from our pygmy’s eye.

Others faint and blurred as though He looked away from his work that year, this cosmic sandplay lost awhile in creationist thoughts of other stars, of matters black and gravitationally mysterious, Hidden between the lines of what we might measure.

And radially, piercing through the timelines, the medullary ray – the thread of meaning; a golden note running straight from hidden source to waney edge, like the honesty in a friend that tells you hard truths with love or the songs in nature that remind you to remember that all this,

Just is

and is glorious.


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“When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool” – African proverb

IMG_2671There is clearly something missing from this shot – something we have just delivered in healthy quantities to our good friends at Tivoli Rd Bakery South Yarra.

IMG_2644And it is always a pleasure to remind ourselves of the excellent IMG_2638standards in pastries they keep, but delivering 20 stools in the heat of a
lunchtime frenzy was one of my more memorable deliveries in recent times.

Swiping the rather hideous old form ply stools right from under unsuspecting patrons, and smartly presenting them with a handsome, handmade, fresh off the press, brand new design, got us some bemused looks, some happy faces, and a couple of new jobs right off the bat.

It is with a small dose of pride we introduce leather boys’ tougher, straighter, cousin Timbertop.

Long may he be.




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“The need of the immaterial is the most deeply rooted of all needs. One must have bread; but before bread, one must have the ideal.” – Victor Hugo

IMG_2586We’ve been moving back up the chain recently… Before we had coffee, we had bread.

Having worked ourselves hard on the Filter build for Andrew Kelly at Auction rooms lastIMG_2590 year, one of their good friends and an essential part of the IMG_2604network of extremely high quality producers in Melbourne  – Pippa and Michael of Tivoli Road Bakery asked us to help re-envision their space at Tivoli Rd South Yarra…

Well this is one of my happiest moments really – when we get asked to put our creative faculties to work for good people who know how to trust the process, and are putting their own integrity on the line to make the best productIMG_2593 they know how to… Well that feels like good business.

IMG_2602We got to make and install a heap of beatiful materials – American oak, solid copper, perforated folded copper sheet…
One of the key characteristics of this build is that all the materials are easily re-usable, and everything we made and installed could be easily de-mounted and moved to another space in half a day….

Beyond sweet bread, the way to judge an IMG_2600outfit like this is by the employees – and at Tivoli Rd, we are always pleased to hang out with aIMG_2612 gang of hard working, happy folk.


Thanks people – its been great!

– John

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