Trellis Collection by John Eadon
"I can make art without design but I can’t design without art" - John Eadon
How did you start out in design?
I grew up on a farm, and always found an interest in repairing, fixing and building things on the farm, and I used to draw tractor designs as a kid. But it was Art that I pursued. I went Norwich school of Art and Design to study Fine Art, graduated and found myself working as a carpenter on anything from art technician to houses, theatre sets to churches. I co-founded a not for profit artist studios and gallery called Stew, where I ran the wood workshop. From here I began learning fine joinery and furniture making before eventually moving back to the farm with my young family and renovating some of the old disused out buildings as a workshop. Wanting to make work of my own design rather than just commissions, I started JOHN EADON and began designing for the MIMA Collection.
What inspires you?
Inspiration comes from many different routes. I am inspired by furniture and design of the past, present and future, by traditional techniques, materials and methods as well as modern advances. I’m inspired by art, by work, by life, by the everyday, by the extraordinary. I’m inspired by people and what they do, the way they do it, differences and similarities with how they interact with objects and their environment. Nature’s incredible effortlessness to create beauty, chaos and incredible forms and textures. I could go on, there is so much which I feed off, trying to soak up like a sponge, these are just a few of the things that get me excited, make my eyes wide and my brain tick. Not sure if any of this comes out in my work yet, although it can be subtle, but it will.
"Don’t delay but take your time!" - John Eadon
Do you work from your own studio space?
I live next door to my studio/workshop which can be a blessing and a curse! I am always planning and dreaming of a bigger and better space. Seeds of ideas start out of the studio though, then they develop in many different ways before being played around with physically in the workshop.
What is the job of design in this current world we live in?
Design is so broad. I am often questioning greater morals and ethics with myself as I progress, to keep things in check. There are many problems in the world, and many people who could never dream to be, or maybe not want to be, in the position to consider which piece of furniture design they like. However, I see it as part of a larger melting pot, just one ingredient in a hugely diverse world of culture art and interest. As a species we have always made art and objects, you could say it is what defines us, anyone who does so is contributing to that historical and contemporary melting pot, be it paintings, food, tools or furniture. It all counts towards a greater mix which supports and nourishes a thriving environment in which good ideas for solving world or everyday problems, can develop and grow. I know I have taken inspiration from the most unlikely of sources at times, which starts a seed of an idea, maybe that is how the cure for cancer will start, or already has?
How does your design process work?
Loosely, the seed of an idea can come from wide ranging inspiration. Sometimes starting with end use, sometimes how it should, would, could be used, sometimes the making method first. Then it may develop via drawings and workshop mock-ups and research, in no particular order, until the initial prototypes are developed. Then it’s refining the product.
How do you connect with colour/materials?
Colour is not something I have worked with a lot, although I have ideas in the pipeline. Materials have also been limited to mainly wood. However, there is great scope within that. Going back to my Art school days, I found materials endlessly fascinating and have always enjoyed and taken to just picking up a material and discovering it, quickly learning it and trying to find the line between working with it and against it. That is how I ended up making with wood in the first place.
What do you do to relax?
I enjoy gardening but on level of just doing bits and feeling them out and enjoying observing nature. I like walks with family and friends and drinks in the sunshine with people, conversation and culture. We really like camping as a family, where everything runs around the campfire at its heart.
What’s your favourite song?
Not sure I have one. My music interests are extremely varied. I’m not one for a great deal of knowledge on music, I just like discovering and listening and dancing and feeling.
Three words that describe you?
Ask my friends.
Work, life, play – how do you balance them?
Not enough of each! It is tricky, I am always working in some way or other, it is always on the mind, but that can be a good thing too. There are many things I’d like to do in the play category, that work and life don’t allow for. My workshop is adjoined to the house so the family and kids are never far away, this can be good and bad, ha! It’s nice when the weather is good and doors are open, birds singing, bees buzzing and kids playing and the smell of bbq in the air… friends over later…cold beer… sounds alright that!
Futurism or classicism?
Definitely both and more besides, all part of the melting pot.
Art or design?
I don’t like to choose things in this way but I see the game so I’ll play. I can make art without design but I can’t design without art, so it has to be Art. Is design just part of art in that case?
Home or away?
I think it is often wherever the grass is greener! I’m at home A LOT, as I work there. I love it when I have the opportunity to go away, either for work, play or holiday. New sights, sounds and smells to inspire. Sounds like Away.
What advice do you have to any new designer?
Don’t delay but take your time! Helpful! Try not to panic – and observe. There seems to be so many routes to design and make and get things out into the world, there’s a thirst for it. That in itself may make it harder in different ways and I’m not finding it easy by any means, it takes a lot of work. One thing I wonder though is whether I would be better off having done a degree in Design rather than Art. Only time will tell though. Something someone told me was that a lot of things can be down to luck, but you should try and get yourself out there and put yourself in luck’s path as often as you can.
Trellis Collection by John Eadon
Can you tell us more about the new work you’ll be showing at Clerkenwell Design Week?
The new piece is very new, development only just finishing, and is called TRELLIS which is a modular freestanding shelving system. It’s an idea I’ve been developing since the MIMA wall hung shelving which is a classic ladder-based shelving system. They both use the spindles and joints familiar with Windsor chairs, and ladders, and create strong and lightweight forms as a result. The idea with TRELLIS is to have freestanding shelving that can be used as a room divider but keeps the room full of light thanks to the open structure, the array of spindles creating shadows and light play and the panels acting as partial screens. There is an interesting aspect to the construction too, the arches bolt to the side brackets but don’t offer a great deal of stiffness to the strong but flexible wood, so the panels and shelves work together to lock everything in. The panels slide in between the two sides pushing them outwards and keeping it square, whilst the shelves hook onto the spindles effectively pulling back into the panels. The panels and shelves can then be rearranged however you like. Something that has not been shown yet but will be on display at Clerkenwell, is that you can take a side bracket, bolt on an arch top and bottom, then a side bracket and another arch and another side bracket and another arch and so on, to create a much larger unit. It is then reminiscent of those tall viaducts with rows of arches holding them up. There is a lot of further potential with this product which I am very excited about.
Have you or would consider collaborating with another designer or maker?
Funny you should say that, I am itching for the right collaborative opportunity. In the past I have always enjoyed the dynamics of working closely with other creatives on projects, but I have been working alone for a while now, so would be nice to shake it up a little.
Ok John, Let’s do it. x