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“A wonderful combination of styles. Superb designs by exceptional makers.” [T, Bristol]

18th-27th August 2018

Thomas Whittingham Furniture

Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design


18th - 27th August 2018


Thomas Whittingham Furniture - A Workshop Visit

It was great to call in on Thomas Whittingham Furniture on the outskirts of Birmingham earlier this year and we were grateful for his time during a particularly busy period.  Tom won our student award, The Alan Peters Award for Excellence, back in 2013 after completing his training with Williams & Cleal.  He has been a fixture at CCD every year since with his familiar, free flowing, laminated curves and attentive use of timber grain enhancing his designs. 

2017 saw him explore veneers made from stone on his latest exhibition piece, a whiskey cabinet with concealed, self-lifting, storage shelf.  It is safe to say that it was very well received by our visitors who were impressed both by the mechanism and this unusual material.

              ‘Riven’ drinks cabinet in rippled Ash,                   Tom Whittingham working on a new mirror
                rippled Olive Ash and green slate

When we arrived at his workshop, Tom was busy finishing two mirrors which had been commissioned by visitors to CCD last year which was particularly enjoyable for us to see.  Once those were completed, he planned to start work on a console table commission, also realised at CCD, which is based on the design of his ‘Drift’ coffee table that he displayed in Cheltenham.  He has since completed the piece and the similarities in the designs (below) are obvious, yet the resulting tables are very different in terms of their day to day use.

 From top clockwise: ‘Drift’ coffee table in English Walnut
                                       'Drift’ console table in Oak and Tiger Oak
                         ‘Drift’ console table drawer detail

This is therefore an excellent example of the benefits of visiting a show such as Celebration of Craftsmanship & Design and commissioning a craftsperson, rather than buying from a shop.  Tom’s client saw his work, liked it, but wanted a completely different piece of furniture in that style.  Tom was able to offer them different timber choices, any size they wished for the fished piece and even additional features such as a drawer that was not on the table that the client had seen at CCD.

Over the years we have seen Tom’s love for particularly eye catching timber grain patterns on his veneered Olive Ash dressing table as well as several other pieces.  During our visit we saw a few wayney edge boards of spalted beech stacked in the corner of his workshop which had quite incredible figure, caused by a fungus within the tree.  These were in fact the last few boards left over from a kitchen that he had recently completed which looks quite something with every door being made from this unique timber.

Dressing table veneered in burr Olive Ash                    Spalted Beech kitchen (Image: Gavin Stewart)

Tom always pulls out the stops for CCD each year and we can’t wait to see what he brings along in August.  Perhaps it will have a bit of this spalted beech included somewhere in one of the designs!



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