Bodging Milano started in 2010 when Chris Eckersley and Rory Dodd got together a group of designers and went to Clissett Wood, Herefordshire for a week to learn the green woodworking principles of making a Windsor chair. The course was lead by Gudrun Leitz, a woman of immense knowledge and ability to share it, not to mention patience!
The project was such a success that Chris and Rory decided to organize another one. There were nine of us all doing woodwork and yet if you walked 20m down the track you could hear next to nothing. It was very special and a real treat to take time out to really appreciate the techniques of this tradition.
Following on from this there is an exhibition of chairs produced during both bodging projects at The Harley Gallery called The Bodging Project – before, during and after.
For my ‘after’ piece I decided to experiment, on a small scale, with steam bending and made the Bird Bender (a nesting box) – following guidelines from the RSPB and using sweet chestnut which is excellent for resistance to outdoor conditions.
Finally, I’m delighted that Sitting Firm have now included my bodged chair in their range. It’s called ‘Pembroke’ and its a fairly close, un-wonky version of the original! It’s called that because I was inspired by the Welsh tradition of ‘stick’ chairs. Apparently trees grown in Wales didn’t have the same girth as their English neighbours so the chair seats tended to be wider and not so deep.