For over 20 years, Katie Walker has been producing original pieces of beautifully crafted furniture. Having gained great success with her iconic, modern and classic designs, her work – which often relies on WEST SYSTEM® epoxy – can be found throughout galleries and retailers across the UK. Here she tells us about the creation of the stunning Ribbon rocking chair.
Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself and your designs?
Having studied at the Royal College of Art in London, I decided on a fine-art based approach to my work. I strive to create pieces which are as beautiful as they are functional, often with an added element of surprise.
How did the project come about?
I designed the Ribbon rocking chair so that it consists of three main component parts: the laminated ash ‘ribbon’, the leather covered plywood seat shell and the stainless steel rod framework. Whilst none of the three component parts are independently strong, together they work to produce a rigid structure of great strength. The backrests, armrests and runners are made from one continuous piece of ash, creating a single fluid form that is light, both visually and physically.
Which WEST SYSTEM or PRO-SET epoxy products did you use? How did they help?
The laminated ash band is constructed from layers of 1.5 mm ash veneer and the ‘lightness’ achieved is, in part, due to the use of WEST SYSTEM epoxy – 105 Resin and 205 Hardener. Not only is WEST SYSTEM epoxy incredibly strong but the long curing time enables the laminates to be laid up and clamped in position before the onset of curing.
Due to the quantities involved, the epoxy is mixed and applied by hand with rollers to both sides of the sanded laminates. The mould itself was constructed of a continuous band of sprung steel. The process would not have been possible without the advantages that WEST SYSTEM epoxy provides.
What was the most rewarding part of the project?
I’m proud that the Ribbon rocking chair has won so many awards. It won the Wesley Barrell Craft Award in 2006, the Wood Awards in 2006 (both the furniture and the innovation categories), a Guild Mark from the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and The Grand Designs Furniture and Product of the year awards in 2007. Also, in 2011, it was a great honour that Manchester Art Gallery purchased one of the chairs for their permanent collection.
If you want to learn more about Katie’s furniture designs, visit her website.
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