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First blog!

This is the post excerpt.

I always fancied starting a blog, but saw it as a big scary commitment that I wasn’t ready for. After years of folk saying “you should blog”…. I’m doing it, finally!!! 

I’m planning to do regular short updates, think that’s best for my brain, the longer I leave it the scarier it will seem. 

Going to leave this first one as a super short and sweet intro! Here’s me hanging about inside a big wall we built on the last DCA install. 🙂 

Tea Green Tables for VA Dundee

Two years… twoooo years, I can not believe it has been almost two years since I last posted on my blog… sorry guys :-/

2019 was my busiest year yet! Tayberry Gallery turned 10 in August, I held more workshops than ever before, launched a new collection of spoons, lead the install of Dundee Design Festival and completed my biggest project to date, making forty four tables for the best design market of the year!

I have worked with Jo of Tea Green Events lots over the last few years, installing her various pop up shops and it’s always been ace! (It also helps that we are really good pals!!) Jo’s big goal was to host the first design market at the V&A Dundee, and in 2019 she made it happen!

Jo wanted to make this market different from any she had organised before and came to me with a vision of making bespoke display tables. We went through loads of options, and settled on wooden A-frame tables, that would give designers loads of ways to display their work.

The first task was to decide sizes and build a prototype. Here it is… (and Jo!!)

Once we had our prototype we tweaked the size and a few details, then got all of the measurements for the final design.

Since it’s been almost two years since my last post there’s something I should catch you up on… in May 2018 I started working at Dundee University one day a week as the Architecture support specialist. It’s a really fun job helping students turn their drawings into 3D objects or models. One of the many benefits of the job is having access to the workshop – it’s huge and full of the best tools!! This has allowed me to take on projects that would have been impossible to do in my own workshop, I’m super lucky!

At the start of October the wood started to arrive, by the lorry load!!

The first to do list was pretty daunting…

Cut 44 table tops

Cut 90 plinth tops

176 legs to be cut to size

132 dowels to cut

132 under table supports to cut

Drill 1320 holes (my Dad did 176 of them – thanks Dad!!)

Above – 44 table tops.

Below – 88 plinth tops

Here’s my Dad and one of the big piles of wood waiting to be drilled… 2 holes done only 174 to go!!

Whilst Dad made his way through the pile, I used a jig I made to fix the supports to the underside of the table tops. When making lots of the same thing, spending time making jigs to ensure every element is identical is so worthwhile.

Once the two end pieces were fixed on I removed the jig and fitted a middle piece to help strengthen the tops. Then they were ready to head to the spray factory to be transformed.

Next up was the dowels, I cut them all to size, then took them back to the workshop to be sanded. Jo got local jeweller Christina Vernon and her sister Hannah in to help with the never ending sanding!! They were great!!

The legs were next, they needed to be drilled in two places with a 29mm drill bit, to make it as easy as possible I made a jig that had two stop points. Pic below..

I love this big old pillar drill, it’s a joy to use. I plugged my headphones in and danced whilst drilling – made it loads more fun! Once these were all drilled we moved them all back to my workshop for sanding.

I then took the sanded dowels back to the big workshop to drill the holes for the metal pins. They needed split in to 3 bundles of 44 and each bundle drilled in slightly different places. Pic below..

Once they were done we were almost there. The only thing left to cut and drill was the diagonal supports for across the back of each table. There was only 44 of those to cut, piece of piss! Hehe!

Next up we went to collect the table tops from the spray factory. Here they are on the drying rack waiting to be wrapped.

The day before the show Jo and I got Marc (install tech pal and fellow interior design graduate) in to help. We rented a van and filled it, and Jo’s car and Marc’s van… van Tetris is one of my favourite games, check out the satisfaction below…

Install day arrived. We had Marc again for the whole day and Jo had her trusty helper Ken, and her lovely sister Lauren and her husband Andy who all got stuck in right from the start – such a top bunch!! We arrived at the V&A first thing and unloaded all the vehicles. We got to drive in to their massive loading bay, it was affa exciting!!

Marc and I built the tables whilst the rest of the gang made up hundreds of storage boxes and bigger boxes that were used as plinths. Could have made the best box fort ever… but didn’t have time 😦

This was over the half way point. I loved seeing them all lined up like a wee army! Was super satisfying seeing the giant piles of materials dwindle and the army of tables growing!! And the moment we put the spirit level on a table and it was perfect – that was pretty great!

The V&A had an event on that evening, so once all of the tables were built and boxes erected we headed out for dinner and returned at 10pm when the event was finishing up. We still had Marc and our helpers, and this time my parents came along too! (They bought me my dinner too – they’re the best!)

Once the event was cleared we started taking tables out and getting them in place.

Once all of the tables were in place we hung festoon lighting all along the tops.

And each table got a plinth and a couple of storage boxes. My Dad had had a few pints with dinner and got really in to the box carrying challenge… here he is with the biggest stack.

We had everything set up and looking lovely by 2am, all ready for the designers arriving in the morning!!

I arrived early on the Saturday morning with Jo to do some last minute checks and make sure everything was as it should be.

Then it was time to take off my Tea Green hat and put my Louise Forbes Design hat back on. Me and Islay had a wee area of our own, I had a table with my spoons and boards, Islay had a table for her jewellery and kilt pins and then we had a table between us for our Man Pins. Here’s our set up…

The market was a great success, and great fun to be at! It was my best market ever by a long shot, lots of spoons and Man Pins went off to their new homes 👍

The market finished at 5pm on the Sunday, and it was time to take everything down and have another game of van Tetris! This time we had a load of Dundee based exhibitors and pals stay to help.. legends!! We had it all down and packed away by just after 9pm and I couldn’t have been happier!!

One of our legend helpers, Annie Marrs, came with a massive van!! This meant we only had to pack one van instead of the three we’d arrived in, was a tight fit, but we got it all in!!

Before we left we took an end of night team snap in front of the biggest lift I’ve ever seen!! Here’s the Tea Green Dream Team!!

Had such a good time working on this project and really grateful to Jo for believing in me and trusting me with making it all.

If you missed the design market and a chance to see the tables, don’t worry, Jo has more planned in 2020!! Keep an eye out on Tea Green Events for more info, website below 🙂

https://www.teagreen.co.uk

Spoon Carving at Guardswell Farm

Back in October I went to the lovely Guardswell Farm near Kinnaird and held a spoon carving workshop for the wonderful family that own and run the impressive venue.

We had a brilliant day in the sunshine testing the workshop, they were top class students and all made unique, characterful spoons.

They enjoyed it so much Anna asked me to come back and run workshops for the public. Our first group workshop was one Sunday in January. We had 8 enthusiastic carvers come for the 5 hour workshop.

Anna put on the most glorious lunch (turns out there’s always delicious food at Guardswell!!) we stopped half way through our day to refuel. Although getting the gang to down tools and leave their spoons for a break was hard, they were all so keen!

After our amazing lunch the team got stuck in finishing their creations. Some of the super fast carvers were able to make wee butter knives too! The results were brilliant… check out all the happy faces!

Such a variety of designs! One of the reasons I love wooden spoons is that they all seem to take on a character, in groups they are like family portraits, each having their own style but all with one purpose. Was super impressed with the results!!

I’ve recently been back at Guardswell doing another carving class, this time over two evenings… which meant we got fed twice, did I mention how good the food is?! Ha! It was a smaller group this time, only 5 people. Two of them had been at the first course and loved it so much they came back again! It was great to have such enthusiasm in the room.

By the end of the first evening their spoons were taking shape, loads of different ideas. The spoon on the right was made by a chap who is left handed and wanted to make a left handed spoon he could use to get right in to the corners of his pans, he actually had time to make a second spoon, which had a spatula scraper type bit at the end. Super practical!

By the end of the night last night the team had (almost all) finished their spoons.

Ann and Graeme, the top pair were the couple who’d returned for another go. Graeme had brought along his Purple Heart spoon and his wee knife from the previous session. Check out his beautiful collection…

Ann hadn’t quite finished her spoon last night when we finished, but I woke up this morning to a lovely email and she’d gone straight home for some late night spooning and completed her spoon and sent me a pic. Also sent me one of their extending family of spoons – how cool is their collection?!

Anna and I will be getting more dates sorted soon for more carving classes! They are brilliant fun, can’t wait for the next one already!! If you fancy coming along there is a link on my website that takes you to the Guardswell site and you can check if they have any dates up. To be the first to know you can join their mailing list and follow them on Instagram 🙂 @guardswellfarm

www.getsomewood.com for more info on the classes 🙂

Spoon and Ring Workshop

So much fun!!!  

We (me, Sarah and Islay Spalding) had Mip and her lovely family up to the workshop last week for this brilliant class. It was Mip’s birthday and she wanted to do something special with her family, and decided this was fun for everyone! 

Mip, her boyfriend Callum and her mum Liz went with Sarah and Islay, they played and experimented with copper and then went on to make themselves a unique silver ring each. 

Mip’s Dad, Den, came with me and made himself a new coffee scoop for his morning routine. 

To start the spoon Den carved out the bowl, this is probably the most tricky bit. Hook knives are amazing once you get the hang of them, but getting a feel for the motion can sometimes take a while. Den picked it up pretty quickly and got scooping. I did a spoon alongside him so he could watch me and my technique. 

Blow torch fun being had by the metal makers…

Lots of bashing too..

And some careful sawing. 

Once Den had scooped out the bowl, I asked him to draw out the shape of the rest of the spoon, then we cut it out on the band saw.

When the rough shape is cut it’s back to the hand tools. Using a rasp and then a couple of files Den got the rough edges and saw blade marks off his cute wee spoon. 

Then it’s sanding time! This bit always takes a while!!! Working up the grades of paper to make sure it’s super smooth at the end!  

Working away.

Getting the saw blade changed. 

Rubbing.

Just as Den was finishing up the spoon, a couple of wee marks in the grain got exposed and Den didn’t like them and wondered if we could cover them or fill them. We suggested a bit of brass rod and he was right up for it, so Islay took Den to the metal side and sorted him out with a couple of wee bits of brass. It’s a lovely wee detail!! 

Once Den had sanded the spoon up the grades of paper to about half way we went and soaked the spoon, let it dry, then continued up the grades. This raises the grain of the wood to the surface, then when you sand it again and then oil it, it stays super smooth!! 

Almost there…

Den’s coffee scoop along side my spoon. 

Happy faces!! They all did such a brilliant job and were a pleasure to have in the workshop! Thanks for coming guys! 

Check out their finished pieces below!! 👌🏼

If you fancy joining us for a workshop with your family or friends, just get in touch and we will get one organised! 

louiseforbesdesign@gmail.com

Urban Market


Yesterday we headed to Glasgow to sell our Man Pins at the Urban Market at Drygate Brewery.  It’s a great venue, they do markets every couple of weeks, check it out if you get the chance. 

Here’s a few pictures of our set up…


I design and make the Man Pins with my workshop buddy, jeweller, Islay Spalding. To see more about what we do have a look at our instagram @pinsformen. 

We got some great feedback at the market and sold a few pins to men :). Here’s the very handsome G sporting a notched Man Pin from the Scottish Collection. 


If you would like a Man Pin head to www.getsomewood.com or pop in to Tayberry Gallery in Perth!  

Mara’s Room


My latest interior project was a really fun one! I was asked to design and make a bed and bedroom furniture for a lovely wee lass called Mara who is 13. Mara and her Mum initially were going to fit out her room with furniture from IKEA, but decided they would get something much more unique (for the same cost) hiring me instead. 

We had a great wee consultation and locked down colours and spoke about the general feel of the room. We planned to make as much as possible out of recycled material and using pallets to make the bed. 

Another element of the bed was using the space underneath. I decided to use one side as a storage side, and make the other side in to a brilliant wee den for Mara to chill out and read her books. 

I spent a fun week in my workshop designing the bed and making the wardrobe, the wee shelves, a shoe rack, loads of cushions and the two storage creates for under the bed. 

The bed was too big to make in my workshop, so I headed out to my friend Sarah’s house and built it in her garden. 


Then dismantled it and managed to fit it all in my Vauxhall Combo… it was a good game of van Tetris!! Check it out…


Mara and her Dad painted the bed whilst it was in bits and I came round a few days later and built it in situ. 


All of the other elements of the design were made in my workshop, I had such good fun picking the colours for the shelf brackets (I painted them all different colours) and picked complementary colours for the cushions. 


Once all the furniture was fitted, I left Mara to make herself at home and get all her bits and bobs in their new places. I went back a few days ago with my photographer pal, Chris Lyon (@sealy0n on Instagram – check out his ace photos!!) and took some shots of the finished room! I am super chuffed with how it turned out, and thankfully so is Mara. She loves it!! 🙂 

Here are a selection of shots by Chris Lyon.