TALK: ‘A Life in Design’ with Chris Eckersley

Wednesday 8 August 2018, 6:30pm, free event

Chris Eckersley is an artist and designer from Birmingham who originally studied Sculpture at Gloucestershire College of Art, and subsequently Design at Central Saint Martins where he became a Visiting Tutor. His work covers drawing, three-dimensional design and object-making, research into measurement and proportion, sculpture, and designs for furniture. Chris is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Extra Ordinary Objects.

Chris will tell the story of the ‘Bodging Project’ that he set up in 2010. This was a back-to-basics research trip for a group of designers, looking at the ancient art of ‘bodging’ (a.k.a. greenwood chair-making). They spent a week in the ash woods of Herefordshire, then took the results to the Milan Furniture Fair, and were then inundated with enquiries from manufacturers and the press.

From this woodland origin the project – like Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival – went electric. Out went the pole-lathes, the draw-horses, and unseasoned timber, and in came power tools, off-the-shelf dowel, and workshop offcuts. The project is based very definitely in contemporary design and not, as is sometimes thought, in craft revival. The one lesson learnt in the woods was the importance of design-through-making – ‘bodge-thinking’ if you like – and it is this coupled with a sort of art-school experimentation that fuels the project and keeps it moving forward.

Chris’ illustrated talk will also introduce his 2.5 day chairmaking workshop here at Messums Wiltshire, a design-led making course that will see all participants guided through the process of designing and making their own ‘Wiltshire’ chair to take home at the end of the course.

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