Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blacksmith David Capes dies

Norfolk UK - DAVID Capes, the Norfolk blacksmith, was killed in a road accident with a car whilst riding his black Honda VT Shadow early on the morning of Sunday 19th April 2009 at Hockering, Norfolk. He was 60.

Born in Heveringham, Norfolk, David trained as a farrier under Jack Barber of Heydon. He was an active member of the British Artist Blacksmiths Association for twenty years, during which time he was their chairman. For several years he worked for Sam Coster of Mongers. Sam said, "David was one of those rare breed of craftspeople for whom even the most humble never became mundane, he put as much of his skill and character into every coat hook as he did into a large commission for a pair of gates. His latches, hinges, handles and curtain poles were wonderful, each an expression of the blacksmith's art. He was a unique and generous character and all of us will miss him greatly."

David was keen on country sports, and would spend much of the shooting season beating and running his dogs. He helped young people wanting to train as blacksmiths. David did demonstrations at fairs and country shows, including The Royal Norfolk Show for many years. He came with Mongers to Salvo Fair 2006 bringing a hand forge which was constantly in operation despite the blistering heat (see photo).

He leaves his wife, Sue, two children, Verity and Marcus, and two grandchildren.

The funeral will be at St. Faiths Crenatorium, Manor Road, Horsham St Faiths, Norwich. NR10 3LF at 12 noon, Monday 11th May followed by a wake at The Fox and Hounds, Lyng, Norfolk NR9 5AL

Please feel free to post a comment (click the link below).

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

300 year old, one ton, reclaimed German oak waterwheel shaft coming to Salvo Fair

Above: This 300 yr old oak waterwheel shaft will be for sale at Salvo Fair. It is currently at Thomas Knapp Historiche in Germany priced at €3,800.

Thomas Knapp Historiche are exhibiting at Salvo Fair for the first time this year and are planning to bring along a HUGE piece of oak. The beam came from Kirchzarten in the Black Forest. It was the shaft of an old waterwheel which was deconstructed a few years ago. The tree trunk was probably first used more than 300 years and the tree was about 250-300 years old when it was felled. So it began life whilst Germany was midway through Roman occupation.

It is 300 cm (118ins) long and the diameter is 70 cm (27.5ins), volume is 1.155 mcb (more than 40 cubicfeet) and weighs more than 900kg.

And what could someone do with it now? Thomas suggests 'First, I think, it would work as an advertising column in the foyer of a restaurant or a park.... Or maybe, a carpenter needs a very big beam for restoring a timber house. Perhaps someone could design a garden house with the oak as the central beam in the middle of the house. And of course you could always use it as a waterwheel again!'


Antique Garden Furniture Show

Antique Garden Furniture Show
The New York Botanical Garden, May 1 - 3 2009 10am - 5pm
In the End A. Haupt Conservatory Tent

Above: photo by John Peden 2008 AGF

America’s most celebrated garden antiques show returns for a 17th year. During the three-day event, more than 30 of the country’s leading dealers offer their finest quality pieces, including fountains, statues, benches, urns, sundials, birdbaths, and botanical prints.

Throughout the weekend, antiques experts and designers provide informative demonstrations and talks. Guest speakers include 'Eclecticism in the Garden' with Judith Milne of Judith and James Milne, 'In the Garden with Cleopatra, Josephine and Barbie' with Show Director Catherine Sweeney Singer and 'Appropriate Ornament for Your Garden' with Barbara Israel of Barbara Israel Garden Antiques.

Antique Garden Furniture Show and Sale

Judith & James Milne

Barbara Israel Garden Antiques

The Reclaimed Beam Bed

indigofurniture, Grand Designs Live

The Indigo Reclaimed Bed made from solid reclaimed beams from old mills, factories and barns; this Reclaimed Beam Bed is handmade from different size and shaped beams making each bed unique.

indigofurniture are exhibiting at Grand Designs Live in London Excel 25 April - 4 May.

indigo furniture

Kamelot Auctions results

Kamelot Auctions, Philadelphia USA, April 18 2009

An annual Antique Garden and Architectural Auction 700+ lots, including architectural building elements, wrought iron balconies and gates, lighting, stained windows and doors, fireplace mantles and finely carved woood sideboards and tables.

Above: A set of four classical cast stone corbels with scrolled sides and a shell and acanthus leaf decoration circa 1920. Dimensions: Ht: 46" Width: 15" Depth: 31" Sold for $ 1,400

Above: Pair of Victorian cast iron urns with reticulated top edge over fluted bowl socle raised on stepped base with fret work design circa 1890 Dimensions: Ht: 25" Diameter: 21" Sold for $ 800.

Above: Two cast stone classical garden statues of putti representing two of the four seasons circa 1960. Dimensions: Ht: 35.5" Width: 15" Depth: 12" Sold for $ 800.

Above: Monumental marble urn with acanthus carved bowl having carved figures and rams' head handles. Dimensions: Ht: 44" Width: 48" Sold for $ 1,200

Above: A nice pair of cast stone corbels with scroll and shell decoration circa 1930. Dimensions: Ht: 43" Width: 12" Depth: 15" Sold for $ 1,000

Above: Nice architectural cast stone bird house with unusual roof line over classical facade, seated on metal industrial base circa 1940. Dimensions: Ht: 87" Width: 38" Depth: 26" Sold for $ 1,000

Kamelot Auctions

Minchinhampton and Damien Hirst go head to head with Stroud District council

Two companies - Leda Properties and Squirrel Storage - are appealing against decisions made by Stroud District Council and Cotswold District Council to refuse retrospective planning permission on land used as business premises at the vast 136-acre aerodrome.

The two companies did not originally apply for planning permission to use the site because they acquired the land from the MoD, which does not need planning approval for any of its sites. Government inspector David Baldock heard arguments for and against allowing the land to be used for business purposes during the two week hearing.

If the companies do not receive planning permission more than 40 firms renting the site from the two businesses will be forced to leave. Including Steve Tomlin, who runs Minchinhampton Architectural Salvage Company on the site, Mr Tomlin said, "300 jobs could be lost if the decision went against them."

Artist Damien Hirst also rents a hangar on the airfield and would be affected if the appeal was lost.

The inspector will then consider the evidence and is expected to make a decision in the autumn.

Stroud News & Journal

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Kirstie Allsopp at the Architectural Forum

Iskington, London UK - KIRSTIE Allsopp advises the Tories on housing policy but is more famous for making Location, Location, Location for Channel Four. Episode 2 of Homemade Homes has her creating two bathrooms for her seaside house in north Devon, making screen-printed wallpaper, a stained glass hanger and some candles. She buys doorknobs and glass specimen bottles from Jason Davies, whose cameo appearance is his small screen debut. Jason Davies will be exhibiting at this year's Salvo Fair.

Architectural Forum

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lamps from WWII helmets at Salvo 2009

Above: Piglet feeder l
ights made by Guy Trench from Antiques By Design

Above: Guy Trench's innovative lamps made from WWII helmets.

Antique by Design are exhibiting at Salvo this summer for the second time. They use a combination of antiques, reclaimed items and old materials to create unique interior and exterior pieces. Lighting is made from reclaimed sporting and musical memorabilia, antique farming equipment, handcrafted into lamps and chandeliers of all sizes. Victorian and Georgian iron and wooden windows are converted to strikingly different decorative mirrors. Aged cattle water tanks are converted into console, coffee, kitchen and pub tables. Antiques By Design visit up to 12 auctions a week and are constantly on the look out in Europe and the sub continent for items to add to the impressive collection.

This is what Guy Trench said about last years fair:

"What a wonderful fair, good business, weather held up and a big thank you to the Salvo team who really pulled the stops out and bought a good amount of quality customers to the fair, thank you all for a couple of special days. My sporting memorabilia lighting went down very well along with my reclaimed window mirrors with good sales. People were so surprised to see what i could turn into a lamp. The Elephant (6ft tall wooden decorative elephant) I think had more pictures taken of it than David Beckham on a good hair day. Thank you once again. We will be back next year."

- Antiques By Design website
- Guy Trench interviewed by Salvo's Colleen Gowlett at Newark Antiques Fair

Costa Rican Airplane Hotel Takes Flight

If you have fantasies of living like the Swiss Family Robinson or even the characters in Lost, this rainforest resort near Quepos, Costa Rica may be just the ticket. Situated on the edge of the Manuel Antonio National Park, the Costa Verde Resort features an incredible hotel suite set inside a 1965 Boeing 727 airplane. In its former life the airplane transported globetrotters on South Africa Air and Avianca Airlines, and it now serves as a two bedroom suite perched on the edge of the rainforest overlooking the beach and ocean. The finished project is a stunning example of adaptive reuse.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Change your email address to save the planet

Today McAfee has released The Carbon Footprint of Email Spam Report. The study looks at the global energy expended to create, store, view, and filter spam across 11 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The report correlates the electricity spent on spam with its carbon footprint, because fossil fuels are by far the largest source of electricity in the world today. Since emissions cannot be isolated to one country, the study averages its findings to arrive at the global impact.

The average greenhouse gas (GHG) emission associated with a single spam message is 0.3 grams of CO2. That’s like driving three feet (one meter); but when multiplied by the yearly volume of spam, that amount is equivalent to driving around the earth 1.6 million times.

Much of the energy consumption associated with spam (nearly 80 percent) comes from users deleting spam and searching for legitimate email (false-positives). Spam filtering accounts for just 16 percent of spam-related energy use. Spam filtering saves 135 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity per year. That is equivalent to taking 13 million cars off the road.

Countries with greater Internet connectivity and more users, such as the United States and India, tend to have proportionately higher emissions per email user. The United States, for example, had emissions that were 38 times that of Spain. While Canada, China, Brazil, India, the United States and the United Kingdom showed similar energy use for spam by country, Australia, Germany, France, Mexico, and Spain came in about 10 percent lower. Spain had the lowest figure, with both the smallest amount of email that was received as spam and the smallest amount of energy use for spam per email user.


register to download full report

The Herculean task to improve housing energy effiency

Improving energy efficiency in existing housing is a 'Herculean' task, according to both the Economic and Social Research Council and Technology Strategy Board. A report produced highlights 'How people use and 'misuse' buildings,' this coincides with a report from the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee calling on the government to make retrofitting existing buildings a priority in the its £535m green stimulus plan. The report also claims that 27% of UK carbon emissions come from people's homes- twice the emissions of commercial and public buildings and five times that of industrial buildings.

However, to improve the energy efficiency, virtually all the 24m existing buildings in the UK would need some attention to reduce their emissions by just 40%.

One of the report's authors Professor Kevin Lomas from the University of Loughborough said: "To complete the task in 40 years we would need to refurbish an entire city the size of Cambridge every month. If we assume each intervention would take a team of trained workers two weeks, we would need 23,000 teams of people to work at this rate non-stop for the next 500 months."


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Salvaged sixties school stools at Salvo 09

Richard from Period House Hardware in Derby will be exhibiting for the second time at Salvo Fair 2009, Knebworth House this summer. As well as the collection of hardware and door funiture, Richard will be bringing along some salvages stools.

"I've got some 1960's stools (no jokes, please) recently salvaged from a school science lab. They have a solid beech seat pad on a steel frame with footrest are complete with graffiti and even chewing gum stuck underneath! With some tlc they would look great in a kitchen breakfast bar and, of course, have an interesting history.
The provenance is 100 percent guaranteed because I work there part-time and brought them home as they were only going to be scrapped otherwise."

- Period House Hardware website

Scottish environment watchdog brushes up on waste paint regulations

Community groups will now be able to mix waste paints for reuse thanks to new guidelines issued by Scotland's environmental watchdog.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has published an interim position statement declaring not-for-profit organisation need not apply for a licence to mix non-hazardous waste paint for reuse.

Maureen Menzies, of RePaint Scotland, which collects and stores waste paints from households, businesses and DIY store end-of-lines, welcomed the move. She said: "This is welcome news indeed. It is not only a tremendous cost saving for RePaint Scotland but means we can go ahead and bulk up our recycled paint, as can those other organisations who want to top up half full tins, knowing that we are all compliant with SEPA regulations."

The storage and mixing of waste paint that is labelled as hazardous and is therefore special waste remains a licensable activity. Community groups unsure if their activities are affected by waste management licensing regulations should contact their SEPA for guidance.



Homemade home

Kirsty's Homemade Homes, begins Thursday 16 April 8pm, ch4

In this brand new series Location, Location, Location's Kirstie Allsopp sets out to inspire viewers to explore the world of crafts as she transforms a dilapidated country cottage in Devon in to the ultimate 'homemade' home.

Kirstie realises that in the current economic climate, everyone is feeling the pinch. She, herself, loves a bargain, and has been searching out the free stuff and looking for unwanted items in skips!

Kirstie seeks inspiration from some English dream interiors: from lavish stately homes, to country cottages and quirky town houses. She hunts for the best handmade craft and design, visits auction houses to reclaim and restore furniture, and learns how to create unique and exclusive pieces - from homemade soap and candles, to pillow cases and table cloths. Kirstie also finds out more about the trades of a range of artisans who keep the great British tradition for crafts alive - from furniture makers and antique restorers to glass blowers and flower arrangers.

As the nation retreats home during the recession, Kirstie's Homemade Home embraces the concept of renovation and restoration and aims to show that, with a little creativity and inspiration, it is possible to not only make do with what you've got, but to make it even better.

As far as Salvo is aware the first episode will feature salvage, SalvoWEB and a cameo appearance from Jason Davies of Architectural Forum.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Open your eyes to reuse

Nick Page founded Fe26 after studying sculpture at Bath Academy of Arts and later a masters degree at Manchester Metropolitan University. Nick currently works from his studio in central Manchester on exciting projects which are dedicated to reusing salvaged materials in innovative and interesting ways. Nick said, "Initially when I started out making sculpture, salvage was a practical and cheap source of materials. For instance for the larger carvings I would use storm or lightning felled trees - the land owners would generally be happy for me to take them for free to clear the space. It also enabled me to answer the question about the ethics of using such a large quantity of natural resource with a clear conscience. Where I needed steel, I would use car panels and things like that.

From those initially pragmatic reasons, I adopted the use of salvage on a more conscious basis. I remember seeing how quickly a whole valley near Bristol that had been designated for landfill filled up. It made me realise that we need to think before we discard something and consider whether it still has a useful life.

I think that the biggest benefit of reuse design is that every piece you see, is one (or more) less thing being put in a hole in the ground. The corallary to that is that it is potentially one less thing made in a sweatshop abroad and then shipped around the world. It's a simple way to reduce our carbon footprint.

Another reason for using salvaged materials is that they carry the marks of time and sometimes traces of the people that last worked or used them. Non-ferrous metals for instance often have a beautiful patina of greens and ochres due to oxidisation over time. It gives things a 'one off' value. However, if you need to manufacture in multiples, this becomes a problem. In that case, sourcing materials suitable for reuse can add greatly to cost.

Nowadays, I source my salvage from a variety of places. I do keep an eye on some of the salvage yards, usually looking for the things that are one short step away from the skip. A good example is decorative architectural cast iron. Often it cannot be repaired for use in its original purpose because of inherent weakness. However, it provides a great basis for a new object, especially when combined with other materials. The plant stands, table and candlesticks are an example of this.

Anywhere renovation work is going on is another good source. Copper boilers, timber and stonework can always be reworked into something useful. Copper is great for lighting because of the quality of light it gives. The warm quality of light used in mannerist paintings such as Caravaggio's was achieved using copper mirrors.

Other than that it's a question of keeping your eyes open and looking at things as they could be rather than what they are."

With so much scope to reuse materials it is interesting to question what Nick's method is for creating an object from start to finish and if the salvaged items dictate what he is going to make or if he starts with an idea and then sources materials for its purpose. "I suppose the answer is both" said Nick, "Sometimes I find some materials that look interesting and full of potential, but I may not be sure what exactly. Then I might come across something else a few months later and think - if I put that with the other, it'd make a great lamp, or table or whatever.

In other cases, the boiler lamps are a good example, I'll make one and then think copper boilers are readily available, so why not make a range of lamps?. The average boiler provides enough material for between three to five lamps. The domed top makes a good desk lamp and the main cylinder makes a great lampshade. Often they have a patina of verdi gris on the inside so I'll turn them inside out to make a feature of that.

The other thing that sometimes happens is that a client will come to me and say, 'I've got such and such. It's useless but I really like the look of it. Can you make it into something useful or decorative?'.

A variation on that is when you get a trade customer. They may be refitting a bar for instance which has a particular theme maybe nautical or industrial. They'll come to me for a range of items, designed using salvaged materials that relate to the theme.

The benefit I have is that I'm equipped in my studio to work in a wide range of methods. This includes welding, carving, woodturning, joinery and general manipulation of stuff."

Nick's work is obviously inspired by predecessors who reused materials such as Duchamp's vitrine turned into 'Fountain' and Picasso's bull's head made from a bicycle saddle and handlebars. His work takes objects which are destined for landfill and breaths new life into them. "That's all a bit grand" said Nick "most of the time I get inspirations from the objects themselves. That's particularly true with carving large pieces of wood. Things like the grain, pockets of rot damage, the initial shape, any damage all suggest the final form. Sometimes a particular setting will inspire something to be put in it. I find that particularly so with outdoor settings. I think though, that the most honest answer to that is that inspiration comes from keeping your eyes and mind open and being receptive to it when it comes."

Nick brought a few pieces to last years Salvo fair where he managed to sneak a bit of space on the In Situ stand. Visitors were very interested in his work and it has given him the encouragement to broaden his scope, he is currently trying to build up stock so he can spread his work further afield.

Nick has noticed that his cliental are a mixed bunch; "Obviously what I do appeals to a particular kind of person, it's hardly mass market appeal. Generally though, I think the people who buy my work are those who want something unique, that appreciate the wit of the out-of-context objects. I also think that my clientelle, first and foremost are interested in the piece itself. I think the salvage aspect is secondary, although most do appreciate the salvage element and it does add value.

I've also noticed there's a slight difference between commercial and private clients. Commercial clients - let's say they're kitting out a bar - will tend to go for the pieces where the provenence is more obvious. They go for the instant 'got it' response. A lamp made from a sewing machine with the box as a lampshade for instance. Private clients are more like to prefer the pieces where there's more manipulation of the source material - more 'craft' or 'design' perhaps.

I believe the customers have a responsibility to question the provenance and sustainability of what they buy, and be prepared to pay more. After all, it's what the customer demands and rejects that determines what is made and sold and in what way.

By the same token, producers and manufacturers need to find solutions to the problems of manufacture and also to devise new business models to make this work. Obviously some markets are going to change quicker than others. It's possible that with the current climate, it is emerging economies with less entrenched practices that will provide new models to make this work."

Above: Salvaged Victorian Gothic stairparts, the wooden steps and pots are from re-worked salvaged timber. Nick said, "They reminded me a bit of those Victorian 'ruin' follies that always seem to have greenery growing from between the stonework."

Salvo Recraft site

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Reuse of the week: Cardboard box art robot helped across New York

Photo: Kacie Kinzer

New York USA - 'I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots,' Kacie Kinzer writes. The robots were made from old cardboard boxes.

'Given their extreme vulnerability, the vastness of city space, the dangers posed by traffic, suspicion of terrorism, and the possibility that no one would be interested in helping a lost little robot, I initially conceived the Tweenbots as disposable creatures which were more likely to struggle and die in the city than to reach their destination. Because I built them with minimal technology, I had no way of tracking the Tweenbot’s progress, and so I set out on the first test with a video camera hidden in my purse. I placed the Tweenbot down on the sidewalk, and walked far enough away that I would not be observed as the Tweenbot––a smiling 10-inch tall cardboard missionary––bumped along towards his inevitable fate. The results were unexpected. Over the course of the following months, throughout numerous missions, the Tweenbots were successful in rolling from their start point to their far-away destination assisted only by strangers,' she says.

Art student Kacie Kinzer created Tweenbots

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Reuse for children

Rafinesse & Tristesse Philosophy is to reuse as many items as possible. The website says, 'Some people may view an empty olive tin as trash, but for us it was the inspiration to start ‚ Rafinesse & Tristesse’ in 2006. Our products are based on the concept of using as many recycled items as possible. We rework them into high quality furniture pieces and miniature kitchens complete with accessories. . .so why forget childrens toys when you are thinking about reuse.'

Rafinesse & Tristesse

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Good things but not enough bidders

Mongers Grand Architectural Salvage Sale, Hingham Norfolk
Sunday 5 April 2009

Mongers Grand Architectural Salvage Sale was 'reasonable', commented Carl Willows after the sale.

"There was a good mixture of trade and private buyers at the sale, but unfortunately on the day there just wasn't quite enough of them. Sam Coster [the proprietor of Mongers] achieved his objective of selling the large machinery from his workshop. A Danckaert spindle moulder with maggi automatic feed sold for £600 and a Wadkin commercial thicheneser/planer 300mm blade fetched £550. Because of the sale of these big items he will be able to move out of the warehouse, but it would have been nice for some more things go. The prices were mixed and a reasonable percentage was sold, however in a sale where many pieces had no reserve you would have expected more to have sold, but if nobody bids the items will not sell.

Sections were disappointing such as reclaimed timber. There was however a healthy interest in fireplaces and most of them managed to find homes. A limestone inlaid Sicilian marble fire surround with fluted columns and frieze and urns to flanks of under mantle from the late 18th Century sold for £2600 and a Carrara marble fire surround reached £420. Furniture also seemed to do well which contrasted the Gaze Sale the day before which might have been an indication of the type of buyers who were there. The large gates Sam brought to Salvo fair remain unsold and are therefore still available, if anyone has a house big enough they would be a magnificent feature.

There was interest from a couple of Canadian buyers but no one from the continent or USA. A few things doubled their bottom estimate such as the 35ft Edwardian oak paneling which sold to a telephone bidder for £800 against an estimate of £400-600. All of the doors sold, including Six pine doors 33"x81" from Windsor Convent which fetched £270." Said Carl Willows.

Above: Six pine doors 33"x81" - ex Windsor Convent. Sale price: £270

Above: An early Victorian wrought iron garden gate from Barton Bendish Hall circa 1840. Sale Price £290

Above: A limestone inlaid Sicilian marble fire surround with fluted columns and frieze and urns to flanks of under mantle - late 18th Century. Sale price: £2600

Above: A cast iron hand basin support with dragon flanks and tiled back with basin. Sale price: £160

Above: An elm base pine top refectory table. Sale price: £280

Above: A Victorian cast iron urn. Sale price: £240


York stone record set at Gaze

Gaze, Architectural and Garden Antiques, Diss Norfolk
4 April 2009

'Garden things are doing the best,' said Carl Willows of Gaze auction rooms at the recent Architectural and Antiques sale. The 1132 lot auction took place on a beautiful Spring day to Mr Willow's disgust as he openly prefers the rain and says that it brings with it more trade. Thankfully he was wrong on this occasion as it was 'a great sale'.

Mr Willows said, "It was a nice sale with a good mixture of trade and private buyers many of whom were willing to spend. We reached a new record for York Stone paving as it fetched £110 per square yard. A good quantity of 16th/17th Century oak floor boards approx 15sq yards sold well for £2200. The nicest sandstone trough I have seen in a long time reached £1500. A four poster bed which had been up for auction three times finally sold on the third attempt, and it will be nice to have that out of the way. Perhaps one of the most surprising results of the day was that a well weathered composition frog sold for £600. It was a pleasant little thing but that was well above expectations so obviously someone had their heart set on it.

On the other hand a Coalbrookdale nasturtium pattern garden bench only managed to reach a disappointing £1400. Ecclesiastical monuments did not sell very well. Fireplaces and cast iron inserts were slow, not that there was anything of fantastic merit but we expected better. Similarly the revolving summer house from Thelveton Hall, Norfolk only fetched £480, even though it was missing its track we still expected it to do better.

Modern pieces fared well a bronze study of a striding gorilla sold to a lady bidder for £1700, after the sale I thought I should have enquired if it was a present for a partner!! A circular zinc top table on pine and cast iron base sold for a respectable £520. It was a nice table and this is the type of modern piece I like having in the sale."

Above: A circular zinc top table on pine and cast iron base, 5ft diameter. Sale price: £520

Above: A good quantity of 16th/17th Century oak floor boards approx 15sq yards. Sale price: £2200

Above: A Coalbrookdale nasturtium pattern garden bench approximately 53" long. Sale price: £1400

Above: A bronze study of a striding gorilla. Sale price: £1700

Above: A well weathered composition frog. Sale price: £600


Reclaimed brick tricycle cargo carrier

Above: This looks like around 150 bricks, or half a ton, or 500kg of reclaimed bricks, spotted in the streets of Xi'an in China. It could be electric assisted but we could not tell from the angle of the photo. Anyone know of manufacturers of heavy duty load carrying trikes and their maximum load?

Photo Bill and Carla's Chinese Adventure

Salvo Fair 2009: Buy yourself a tudor model village.

Above: One of 8 large houses, a chapel and 3 cottages from a 1930's model village available for sale at Olliff's Architectural, Bristol, priced at £3,000 each.

Bristol, UK: I arrive at Bristol Temple Meads station on an overcast mild March morning. Marcus Olliff meets me in his blue pick-up and we drive 10 minutes up the road to visit his yard in St Werburghs Road, which is open by appointment only. I had done a little research on Google street, which shows it is in a quiet residential road with a few small warehouses. What you can't see is that the yard is very close to St Werburgs city farm (nice organic cafe) and a recent eco-housing development (did they use any Olliff reclaimed materials?). We pass a string of little school kids off to visit the goats and go to see what goodies Marcus has in stock to bring along to Salvo Fair 2009 at Knebworth. When we go through the gates, I am visually bombarded and I realise how hard to it is for dealers to decide which of all the stock to bring along to fairs and exhibitions. And then once they have decided, shifting things around to get to the lucky items, and then loading them up, takes Herculean effort. One of his first comments is that 'obviously if somebody wants to buy something before the summer that I was planning to bring along, I'll have to sell it to them'.

There are lots of pallets of stone flooring outside, and stacks of timber flooring inside, that Marcus will bring samples of along. Then I spot some model village cottages. He explains that they are early 1930's and from a West Lake District coastal model village. He bought them through another dealer. There are 8 big houses, 1 chapel and 3 small cottages. They are 'Cromwellian' style, made from composition stone inside, but decorated externally with real stone roof tiles, and real pieces of oak for the timber stud frames. Each of the big houses lives on a pallet, is about 3ft high and 4ft long and very heavy. He almost sold them last summer to a lady from a Hampshire pile. Marcus decides that he may be able to bring along a few houses for the central avenue at Salvo. . . result! He is really hoping to find a home for the whole lot together.

Just behind the houses is a Coalbrookdale cast iron fountain that I recognise from the Olliff website. It has three dolphins intertwined propping up a plate with their tails. Marcus and I have a quick discussion about dolphins, which is what lots of people seem to call fishy looking things on garden ornament. But these dolphins have scales and big pouty lips, and are definitely not mammals! The fish have lovely big heads and there's lots of moss, which people always like. Hopefully this will make it up to Knebworth too.

Inside the warehouse is a hotch potch of cabinets full of antique door hardware, grand chimneypieces, hob grates, simple fireplaces, some bathroom gear, lots of quirky furniture and wooden flooring. Marcus will almost definitely be bringing a few fireplaces with him to the fair, some furniture and he has a collection of five 1930's bevelled edged mirrors that will be making an appearance.

Above: Coalbrookdale fountain of three fish £4,800

Above: Matching pair of mid-late Victorian Lion door knockers, bronze with original strickers £750 for the pair

Above: Georgian front door rim lock with original keep and key, 12ins long £800 (has been polished)

Above: 1780 - 1790 Georgian chimneypiece of white statuary marble with Sienna and Portor marble ingrounds £15,000. Georgian 'hour glass' hob grate, not original to chimneypiece, £1500.

Above: Late Victorian cast iron decorative wash stand with original mirror, tiles and towel rail and taps £2,200.

Above: Pair of lions, made from cast fired brick, from about 1900. £1,800 for the pair.

Above: Marcus Olliff in the warehouse: What is it they say about boys and never growing up!

- Olliff's
- Salvo Fair