Exhibitions and Events
Evolution of Tradition Exhibition 2-5 October
Angus was invited by The Furniture Makers Company, a City of London livery company to exhibit furniture at a new exhibition at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. This was their first selling exhibition of “exceptional furniture by British designers and makers” and the enormous atria of the Design Centre with it’s prestigious luxury interior design brands was a memorable location.
On 3rd October Angus gave a well attended talk about his steam bending practise explaining how he combines ancient steam bending, traditional woodwork and digital design and cutting to create his contemporary curvy furniture.
We were delighted to see our Forth Bench image used for the brochure!
Our Resilience Bench (used for our blog cover photo) has a beautiful steam-bent ash top rail.
As Angus is a great admirer of designer Thomas Heatherwick’s design through model making approach, and we were delighted to see him receive an Honorary Bespoke Guildmark for the ‘Friction Table”. Angus also met Thomas at No 10 earlier this year!
First and foremost Angus sees himself as a designer so it has been truly wonderful to be part of the new V&A Dundee, the first design museum in Scotland, which opened this weekend. We are absolutely thrilled to have our Unstable Stool feature in the Scottish Design Gallery.
This is our response to the museum after the opening evenings. At the heart of the building is a warm, welcoming, womb-like cavern and although huge it feels unexpectedly intimate and truly “a living room for Dundee” as conceived by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. Off this public core are the galleries, various nooks and crannies, teaching spaces and a dining room with long views over the bridges of Dundee and across the Firth of Tay to Fife.
Unlike many contemporary public buildings, the outside is not brought in with expanses of glass, but rather the interior is protected from the broad estuary landscape which will be welcome on a winter’s day in this East Coast Scottish city. But there is also a lightness to the building, and it appears to be floating in the water complimenting the RSS Discovery moored alongside.
Our relationship with the V&A Dundee started when Angus was invited to exhibit in the “Northern Lights” exhibition in the V&A (the Victoria and Albert Museum in London) during the 2016 London Design Festival. That celebration of contemporary Scottish design foreshadowed the opening of V&A Dundee. By September 2016 the exterior building was almost complete.
You can see a short film commissioned to accompany the Northern Lights exhibition here .
At that time we were explicitly invited into the warm and friendly V&A Dundee “family” and have felt the relationship like a gentle breeze in our back ever since. We have had the privilege of meeting Kengo Kuma and some of the remarkable people who had a dream, ten years ago, to have an international design museum on the waterfront of Dundee. They have had the tenacity to see that dream become reality.
Angus is a Design Champion for V&A Dundee.
Back in 2016 we were fortunate to hear Kengo Kuma share his past projects and thoughts on his new designs. He talked about: the importance of scale; maintaining a relationship with the landscape; humility; using local materials; transparency; social responsibility; wood; exquisite craftsmanship and simple uncluttered lines. All of this resonated well with us. He wanted the building to be a “living room for Dundee” welcoming everyone not just those used to visiting museums. Kuma speaks poetically and explained that he took inspiration from an image of Scottish cliff with striking horizontal layers, where he could see the “long relationship between the land and the sea”. This starting point was developed with the (typically Japanese) doorway through the building and the soaring boat like forms.
To coincide with the museum opening a new book has been published The History of Scottish Design book (edited by Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee and Joanna Norman of Victoria and Albert Museum and Curator of Scottish Design gallery) by Thames and Hudson and the V&A. With the inclusion of a wonderful piece about Angus by Tara Wainwright and a prominent image of our Forth Bench the gentle breeze of support felt like an uplifting wave.
If you plan to visit the museum arrive by train if possible as the station is literally across the road from the museum. There are hotels on the doorstep and it’s a very short walk into the city centre. To find out more visit the V&A Dundee website.
When we made our ash Unstable Stool for the Scottish Design gallery we made a Special Edition (engraved and numbered) of eight. These have sold out but the Unstable Stool can be ordered and we make it in oak or ash.
26th – 27th May
Our workshop in Aberfeldy, Perthshire will be open 10 – 5 both days.
To join the afternoon tours of the woodland please BOOK IN ADVANCE HERE.
Old Castle Wood is a privately owned beautiful mixed woodland near Aberfeldy. In late spring it has a wonderful under-storey of bluebells and wild flowers. Angus and Lorna Ross are part of a group of ten owners and for the past twelve years the woodland has been lightly managed to: improve access for the public; thin over crowded oak trees by selective felling; and control invasive and non-native plants and trees.
For more information and to join the woodland tours please BOOK IN ADVANCE HERE.
Tours start at our workshop at 2pm and will finish around 4pm.
The workshop will be open 10 – 5 Saturday and Sunday. There are examples of our furniture in the showroom and the cabinet shop will be open and you can speak to our furniture makers.
Many pieces of furniture and functional art on this website made from oak sourced from Old Castle Wood.
To read more about why we fell trees see an earlier blog post here.
For directions to our workshop please visit our contact page.
We had a lovely few days in London at the inspirational COLLECT. This is my third post about COLLECT but as it is the most prestigious event in the British Craft calendar I wanted another chance to talk about it. Here are a few of our highlights of the fair.
Rainforest (above) was-a beautiful immersive installation by Valeria Nascimento comprising thousands of white porcelain pieces http://www.valerianascimento.com
Our favourite gallery was Katie Jones presenting exquisite contemporary Japanese applied arts including: indigo dyed hemp wall hangings by Shihoko Fukumoto; mokume-gane vessels of folded and beaten precious metals by Ryuhei Sako and intricate knotted slinky like bamboo structures by Chikuunsia IV Tanabe. katiejonesjapan.com
We also love Steffen Dam’s extraordinary glass specimen collections presented by Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections joannabird.com
Our new Quercus Pods lighting vessels are on their way to COLLECT at London’s Saatchi Gallery, 22 – 25 February 2018.
“Collect brings together 40 galleries from four continents for a celebration of making, extraordinary in both scale and scope. Museum-quality works and installations from hundreds of the most talented makers in the UK, USA, South Korea, Japan, France, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden will offer visitors and collectors a multidisciplinary overview of the people, processes, materials and ideas defining international craft in 2018.”
For more information and tickets please visit
Angus will be speaking at COLLECT TALKS: featuring “leading voices from the worlds of craft, design, fashion, architecture and art and aims to inspire visitors and encourage debate.
TRADITIONS REIMAGINED. A panel of international makers and gallerists delve into how traditions from across the globe influence and enrich their practices. British Council’s Programme Manager for Design, Gian Luca Amadei is in discussion with gallerists, makers and curators, Bev Gibson, Piet Stockmans, Peter Ting and Angus Ross.Talks Space, second floor, 23 February 2018, 16:00 – 17:00
See the full programme of talks here.”
The Quercus Pods can be seen at
Scotland: Craft & Design : a collection of exquisitely crafted statement pieces from Scottish-based makers. Ground Floor, Gallery 3:4 on the right.
Craft Scotland https://www.craftscotland.org/about/projects/collect-2018/makers
Angus is making three new Quercus Pods for COLLECT. These vessels with lighting are made in Scottish oak (Quercus robur) and combine two signature techniques previously shown by Angus at Collect. Steam-bending as seen in the Forth Bench and building a curved cabinet with slats and beads of solid wood as seen in the Whisky Collectors Cabinet. This time both these techniques are combined with computer aided design added to the mix.
The oval Whisky Collectors Cabinet was constructed by slicing solid wood into narrow slats and connecting them with a bead slat (like tongue and groove) which allows the wood to expand and contract. Cabinets are usually constructed from a stable substrate such as ply which can be veneered (a thin layer of wood glued on top). Angus prefers to work in solid wood and is always pushing against the boundaries of traditional wood work practise. Creating an oval cabinet in solid wood was one test. In the Forth Bench the challenge was to steam bending a spiral from a single length of wood and then fixing it into position using hand turned spindles. It was challenging to glue this up and required lot’s of head scratching, manipulating the components on the bench and building up in stages.
The Quercus Pods are constructed from bead and slat lengths of wood which have been steam-bent into curved shapes and which are then gradually built together to form a vessel. The vessels is a bit like an orange where a sphere is made from a number of curved segments. The computer aided design (CAD) makes it possible to work out the shape of each segment to be cut from flat planes of wood, and assists with the moulds for steam-bending and drying jigs.
We were fortunate that brilliant photographer James Millar has been back in Aberfeldy to capture these images of work on the Quercus Pods. A couple of years ago James spent a month in and around Aberfeldy and some of his landscapes were gathered into a book called A Winter Journey: Aberfeldy, Glen Lyon and Perthshire in photographs. This limited book is currently available from James’s website at a Special Price – see here.
Lovely article by our friends at Homes and Interiors Scotland magazine about the craft makers going to COLLECT with Craft Scotland in February. COLLECT is the premier British craft event organised by the Crafts Council (UK). Selected galleries from across the globe present museum quality craft.
read the article link
Angus has previously exhibited at Collect,
in 2015 with Contemporary Applied Arts Gallery London when he showcased the Whisky Collectors Cabinet and the Forth Bench. COLLECT is a fantastic opportunity for makers to show new innovative, speculative work to the world’s most discerning craft collectors, curators and commentators.
images of both
22 – 25 February 2018
We are particularly looking forward to seeing;
Sarah Myerscough Gallery who specialises in wood and they will be showing John Makepeace, Gareth Neal and David Gates.
Japanpage/Craftmeet who will be presenting traditional Japanese crafts including exquisite lacquerwork by “National Living Treasure” artist Toshiaki Tateno
Ting Ying Gallery who present traditional and contemporary Blanc de Chine porcelain, being made in Dehua, Fujian Province, China, where it has been made since the Ming Dynasty. Some of the makers are fourth generation Blanc de Chine sculptors.
Ting-Ying was established in 2016 by ceramic designer Peter Ting and writer Ying Jian.
Craftscotland are showcasing makers across wide range of disciplines including glass, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, silversmithing, wood and furniture. Angus will be presenting some lighting vessels combining two craft techniques. The bead and slat detail found in the Whisky Collectors Cabinet (shown below) is developed with steam-bending and computer aided design to create gorgeous curvaceous vessels.