Skip to main content


Working in 3D, visual input is more a process of winnowing than lack of stimulus. We live in cultures saturated in the visual; static or otherwise. Built environments from the remarkable ugliness of Parramatta Road to the bucolic beauty of Central Tilba. Architecture imposes its influence both in the solidity of its external form, but also within the internal spaces it defines. Coming across an image of Elizabeth Bay House, I wondered about the subtle influence that such places impose upon one's aesthetic.

Now surrounded by a high density urban enclave, Elizabeth Bay House was built for the Scottish administrator Alexander Macleay, Colonial Secretary of the colony of New South Wales. Something of a folly to high Victorian obsessions of caste, learning and compulsive collecting, its history includes neglect and decline, the loss of its original 28 hectare curtilage, and division into sixteen flats during World War II.

As a young child, I visited the house as an old friend of my mother's had the upstairs Eastern flat. Aunt Mickey would position an overstuffed chair at one of the windows, and I would spend hours happily watching the buzz and hurry of a working port from the heads back up the harbour. I also remember the joinery - vast cedar skirting boards and door architraves laughingly enormous in comparison to the mean painted 1960s joinery of home. But what I remember with all of a child's awe is the staircase.

Flats had been created by erecting fibro walls, like so many film sets, but the sheer scale and form of the stairwell could not be subsumed. It creaked, it was somewhat worse for wear but it was an extraordinary march up and up and up to Aunt Mickey's flat for a small child sliding her hand on the handrail, grasping her mother's hand in the other.


Popular posts from this blog

Social media - useful or evil necessity?

There are many many people much better placed to discuss this topic than I am, but my usual state of annoyance with any form of social media is at a particularly high pitch of late so I thought it terribly helpful for the state of the planet to share my thoughts on this weighty topic from the perceptive of a maker who feebly attempts to use it to 'boost her presence."
Firstly, it always seems to be slightly last year. Yes there are committed users, rather like the ageing fans of Happy Days who still think the Fonz  is the epitomeof cool, not to mention the marketing specialists who can roll out hundreds of excellent reasons as to why you should, including compelling examples of fortunes made, reputations enhanced and products sold in their, well, dozens but what if, at the end of the day, you're just pretty rubbish at it.
Allow me to snap at the hand that one day may offer crumbs from its table...
FacebookThis is obviously modelled on the second circle of hell. You have no c…

An Anniversary

Gazelle table, Judy Kensley McKie - Mahogany, paint, glass, 34"H x 60"W x 18" D

Pritam & Eames Gallery in East Hampton, New York is perhaps the best known commercial gallery focusing on studio furniture in the US today. Since 1981, the gallery has shown just about all of the major makers in the States.

Over June, the gallery held an Anniversary show which included Judy Kensley McKie, Wendy Maruyama and Rich Tannen. Bear with the rather odd layout of the Pritam website - for whatever reason they seem very reluctant to use Flash to display the images...

They will also be holding a show, Seating, from August 6 which should also be very interesting....
"Eggo" Wall vessel, Don Miller - Bleached white oak, 31"H x 18"W x 7.5"D

Raw linseed oil is not a furniture or joinery finish

Repeat after me.....

Raw linseed oil is not a furniture or joinery finish
Raw linseed oil is not a furniture or joinery finish
Raw linseed oil is not a furniture or joinery finish

Raw linseed oil, if it dries at all, dries very very slowly over many months. You might be lucky if you apply it and then rub it all off, but most of time it will linger on the surface, gradually becoming stickier and stickier.

Nor is it temperature or UV resistant. In areas under windows or near stovetops, it will break down or blister. On furniture, it will darken over time til it's almost black, particularly on areas where the piece might be handled such as the back of chairs.

And it will be sticky. And extremely difficult to remove later on.

Oil finishes either have to rely on the oil being modified during its manufacture with the addition of driers or being able to polymerise themselves. Polymerisation means that within hopefully less than 4-6 weeks, the oil's solvent has evaporated, it's ox…