We are delighted to introduce the Selwood Chair and Side Table created by Bill Amberg Studio for The New Craftsmen. Our collection of unique pieces is rooted in craftsmanship and narrative. Made using douglas fir felled from the forest local to Bill in Somerset each piece is created from a single plank by local craftsman Jim Blackburn. The natural fill leather seat pad is handcrafted in our North London workshop.
The Selwood Collection is a dedication to the ancient Selwood Forest and designed to stand the test of time. “I‘m interested in the lifespan, repairability and durability of a product. It’s important that we make things that will have a very long life and can be easily repaired if needed,” Bill noted.
The chair and side table are the product of collaboration between Bill and craftsman, Jim Blackburn, based just outside of Bruton, Somerset. Their first encounter quickly revealed their shared respect of and passion for their local woodlands and inspired Bill’s thoughts about timber: “Our conversations made me think about the use of timber, utilising every part that you possibly can and not overly working it. If you try to control it, you waste an enormous percentage of the actual tree.”
The design process started with the chair’s structure and Bill’s idea of a very simple, sculptural shape crafted from local douglas fir yet with minimal intervention. The result is an elemental yet exquisitely constructed piece of furniture with a nod to Japanese joinery and architecture. With no visible fixings, the pieces are beautifully made, cleverly made, simply made, with poetic robustness.
For the seat, Bill developed a leather pad using an entirely natural fill made from organic coir and wool, to give a feeling of balance and support that foam doesn’t provide. He opted for thick saddle flank leather which has been drummed to both soften it and raise its natural grain. He reflected that the leather’s texture sits very well alongside the douglas fir grain, with the two complementing each other.
The deeply historic landscape of the Selwood Forest is steeped in legend, with only a few areas of the ancient woodland now surviving in comparison to once stretching east to west, from Warminster to Bruton, and north to south, from Frome to Shaftesbury. The collection is a dedication to the ancient forest and designed to stand the test of time, traversing generations and becoming part of the rich, venerable saga of the woodland. “I‘m interested in the lifespan, repairability and durability of a product. It’s important that we make things that will have a very long life and can be easily repaired if needed,” Bill noted.
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