Sladers Yard is an art gallery and cafe in West Bay, Dorset. Our art gallery showcases contemporary British Art, Furniture and Craft whilst the licensed cafe serves fresh, locally produced homecooked food and drinks.
The eco-pod is a unique garden room ready to install on your land. Inside there is space for a double bed, desk, chair and log burner which designer and maker Petter Southall can make in the same simple style to your requirements. The pod is free-standing and can be moved on a trailer and installed as a cosy outdoor spare room, writer’s retreat, self-isolation pod or potting shed.
Why pay for an extension to your house when you can take this room with you wherever you go!
We spent last winter making our most ambitious steam-bent structure yet, a pavilion for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019 called the Wave.
The steam-bent Wave is now available to buy at Sladers Yard Gallery and install in its permanent location. Made over last winter for the Chelsea Flower Show 2019 as part of Thomas Hoblyn’s Dubai Majlis show garden, as far as we are aware the Wave is the most radical steam-bent form ever made.
Thirty-foot lengths of solid Herefordshire Douglas Fir were bent using only skill, steam and man-power. This beautiful structure makes a remarkable feature in any garden.
With a glass back wall, it could frame a view and offer shelter from the prevailing wind. It could have a textured back wall as Tom Hoblyn used it, for shade and tranquility in the hectic Chelsea Flower Show. It could be a performance space or an elegant place to sit. Being Scandinavian, Petter imagines it surrounding a hot tub. It makes a remarkable feature and point of focus where ever it goes.
Could this be the structure you need?
The Wave at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019
Thomas Hoblyn’s Dubai Majlis Show Garden
If you are interested in the Wave or in Petter Southall’s steam-bent designs, please contact Sladers Yard Gallery on t: 01308 459511 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We have installed the Wave in the yard here at Sladers Yard with dry stone walls and a temporary wooden structure to anchor it in place however there are any number of potential ways this piece could be made to work in your space. Petter is happy to discuss ideas for its next installation.
Here we are at Chelsea! Very happy to see my sand-dune inspired pavilion arrive safely for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. We had good weather for the journey. Just need to get it in place before the heavens open later tonight.
Holding my breath while the first half is manoeuvred into position. Tom took the best photo.
The Majlis sitting place in the desert garden will soon be transformed by Thomas Hoblyn into a place of tranquility and shade. The magic of RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
First there were some mad bends, and then some successful smaller bends…
Before we finally got the process down almost to a fine art. Just in time for a visit from the Architectural Association students.
Something a bit different for them to see!
The curves were beginning to pile up.
Time to talk them through the process while the wood is steaming.
Very relieved to do a perfect bend in front of an audience! Here you can see the steam box cooling down after being hoisted on the pulleys off the hot plank. The steam bending arm has come all the way round and the end of the piece of wood is clamped round the former. The cell structure of the timber has now been altered and will cool to its new shape.
And here is one we did earlier. We just keep it clamped into shape until the design of the pavilion will do that for us.
Despite all resolutions to keep my blog up to date I have been very quiet because this project has really been a challenge! Here we were, ready to go. The bender was built and we turned on the burners.
Steam began to fill the steam box and the wood began to soften. We were about to realise that it doesn’t soften very much…
While the wood steams we wait anxiously and try to get ready.
But the wood was full of knots and it kept cracking. While we turned it around the former with tremendous effort – literally every ounce of strength we had – we could hear the gunshot sounds of the wood cracking.
After every failed attempt, we rebuilt the jig, looking for ways to channel the pressure smoothly. Jim Tory and I worked together for a long time. He is a tremendous help when ideas are bouncing around in my head!
Finally, finally we managed to get the shorter lengths to turn smoothly without cracking. What a relief!
I’m so pleased to be able to show full-length smooth bends at last. It has been a stressful few days trying to get this wood to bend without cracking. Our former is much stronger than it was and modified in many ways having been rebuilt after every attempt. Not sure why I always have to push the boundaries and set myself such very difficult targets!
The simplicity and strength of these lines are going to be very striking in the finished sand-dune inspired pavilion for Tom Hoblyn’s garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
All set to steam bend these beauties in an exciting project to design and build a pavilion for garden designer Tom Hoblyn at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Steam bending is an ancient boat building technique, I learnt building traditional wooden boats in Norway. For this project we have built a very long steam box which lifts off once the wood is up to heat. You can see the piece of wood inside the box and the pulley to lift the box off quickly. Once the wood is hot, it is very hard to handle but it is malleable – if you are strong and bend it quickly before it cools down.
This is the former we are bending the wood around with my good friend Jim Tory in action.
This is the arm we use to push the wood round. It gives good purchase but takes a lot of strength. Most of the rings and arcs I make for my furniture are turned with a mechanised Ringmaker which I built with my brother-in-law James Powell who is an engineer.
Here it is before the steam box went on. A lot of fine-tuning is going on now to get the wood to take the form without cracking. The knots in the wood are knot helpful.
Great to have this wonderful barn to work in and a great team with Jim, Christoph Kurzmann and some others who are coming along to add muscle power for the bends.
Love a challenge – especially if it involves steam bending solid timber!