I have been designing and making unique, original pieces of furniture by hand for over 22 years now. I live in the heart of Ipswich and my workshop is in Stratford St. Mary, 10 miles out in the sticks.
Benches have become quite an obsession for me- I spend a lot of time looking at them, sitting on them, thinking about them, talking about them, studying them. I believe some of them could be more comfortable, others more visually interesting, some more long-lasting, others more practical, some more conversation-friendly……. and many could actually be more of all of these things!
I am Blue King, a freelance arts and heritage project manager working with and commissioning local artists and craftspeople.
During the last 30 years I have managed projects for the Arts Council, English Heritage, Churches Conservation Trust, Suffolk County Council, Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service and the Cultural Olympiad.
I started collaborating with Tim Germain in 2008 during a Creative Partnerships project to design an outdoor classroom area featuring Tim’s multi-function story telling chair.
We then worked together with local primary schools during 2015/16 to create new furnishings and play equipment for a Heritage Lottery funded project at Quay Place in Ipswich.
Our latest adventure has been with children from Cliff Lane Primary to design a new bench for Holywells Park in Ipswich.
James and his wonderful team of volunteers are responsible for the protection and management of around 100 square kilometres of green spaces around Ipswich and Suffolk. As part of their work, occasionally they come across fallen trees and, with the help of their new mobile sawmill….. and plenty of blood, sweat and tears…… they convert it into usable planks for our benches. We only use true English oak, sweet chestnut or holm/evergreen oak, as they are the native timbers that last longest out of doors. They provide us with truly local, sustainable, minimal-transport-miles timber and we are proud to pay them for it, thus financially supporting their great work.