A commission from luxury British furniture brand Linley.
Working in collaboration with Linley’s creative team, we designed the ‘Appleton’ console. Using skills and techniques for carving letterforms, I worked the top surface of the table - a large slab of welsh slate. The design required the exact woodgrain pattern of the Maple which formed the base of the table to be cut in the slate. To create a trompe l'oeil, both the slate and the wood needed to share the same grain pattern.
First stage, carefully taking a map of the wood grain which was then transferred on to the slate. The Maple base is formed of two leaves, which as they meet appear in a mirror image. Care was taken so that this too was reflected in the cut surface. To ensure consistency across the stone, it was worked in sections, carving a small section of one line then carving this line as reversed in the mirror section. As the width of grain pattern varies, it is matched on the stone, using different depths of cut to convey this detail.
The original Maple leaf.
Woodgrain trace for the slate.
This section when cut in the slate.
As the face of the slate was worked, dynamic patterns begin to show in the stone, bringing out the flow of the grain. The v-cuts work to make the most of this, varying depths to give movement to pattern across what will become the console top. Usually, when cut slate is painted, it's to give visibility to the cut. When the carving is fresh, the contrast is clear, the cut being lighter than the face of the stone. A light coat of paint is often applied to maintain the contracts as the stone weathers.
This slate is referenced the stained Maple that formed the base of the console, where the grain is the darker feature. With the surface completed, a smooth coat of almost black enamel was applied. To ensure they are fully covered, the cuts are flood painted. Sometimes going outside of the lines is good, and here it ensures that the v-cuts get an even covering of thin paint.
When the paint is dry the excess enamel is removed by gently rubbing down the stone. This creates a huge amount of slurry, which has to be completely removed before a second thin coat of paint can be applied and the process repeated.
The console table was assembled at the Linley workshop, before being featured in their Mayfair showroom.