What is Bespoke Furniture?
Furniture to me, is all about making something that the client wants. If furniture making is your job, then it is not art!
Opportunities for making Bespoke Period Furniture in Australia, are limited. Bespoke is an adjective, it describes the piece. Bespoke furniture as I understand it, is custom made furniture. Meaning that there is only one of its type or kind anywhere in the world. Whether it is a traditional or modern style piece, it is what a specific client wants. Bespoke refers to its uniqueness. It is not a name or style of furniture.
I designed and and made the cabinet above, in the early 90's, I think? The client loved Jarrah (a Western Australian timber), and gumnuts, which I carved on several other pieces for them as well.
This is a fine example of a real bespoke piece. When purchasing furniture, if the only choice on offer, is what colour you would like, dark, medium or light, then that is not bespoke. That’s Average!
The piece above is another bespoke item, a partners desk. I was approached by the "Furniture Association" asked to join, and to create a piece for their awards night. This was very much against my beliefs! However, I was convinced by friends (all in good faith) that I should, and that it would probably create more "Bespoke" work for me. Well what an expensive lesson it turned out to be!
The Association were not interested in fine furniture. Somebody who made a kitchen for low-cost housing, won the Best of the Best in Australia. What a joke! My friend, who attended the "so called Awards" evening, apologised to me, and admitted that the Association had nothing to do with fine furniture. I call most awards "Opinion Awards”, they are the opinion of a few people.
Clients who purchase bespoke pieces, understand that quality takes time, and craftsmen who design and create them, are passionate about what they do. It allows them to create pieces that will be admired for generations to come!
I create bespoke furniture that I am proud to date and put my name to. The initial motivation may come from the client, but the imagination and interpretation should come from within. If you love what you doing, you will be good at it!
I designed and made this bespoke Wall Table, in American Black Walnut. My brother Trevor is responsible for the walnut burl top. This is a fine example handmade furniture, as 98% of the work was done by hand. This is one of the very few designs, where I did a full scale sketch of the complete piece, before commencing the work. Usually just sketches of sections are needed. Furniture that is handcarved, has to be sketched or modelled in clay first. This is only done by the person making the actual table, or another very experienced woodcarver. Although time consuming, the end result is very rewarding and pleasing. I also signed and dated this table.