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Inside the Cherchbi studio: objects of use, beauty and curiosity


Our ‘no clutter = minimally efficient workspace’ rule has been broken not once but three times recently. In a paraphrase of the William Morris quote we have nothing in the studio that we do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful… or curious.

A pair of forged steel sheep shears, originally unearthed in a junk shop in south Cumbria have become a symbol for the company and a branding device for our Herdwyck No.10 cloth. Shears of this type continue to be made in England by Burgon & Ball of Sheffield and are preferred over electric clippers by some shearers. They’re beautifully simple: blades and all being forged entirely from a single piece of steel. The design has endured unchanged for centuries.

An oddly shaped and weighty item arrived recently. Its rounded form is a warm terracotta colour and it has a glazed surface. A maker’s mark, the date of ’20 4 71′ and ‘Made in England’ are stamped in black on the side. It has received many comments, but no successful identifications. For the record it’s a ceramic insulator, found in a field near Leeds. It would have once supported electricity cables on top of a wooden telegraph pole. It serves no useful purpose here, but is unusual and aesthetically pleasing, so it stays.

Mrs A recently liberated some beautiful metal cobblers lasts from a now defunct shoe repairer. They’re solid and weigh in at around three kilos each. In use they were mounted on metal uprights, sole facing upwards. Shoes and boots would be pulled onto them for stitching, gluing and other repair work. Years of use have developed a dark textured patina on the sole and at the toe the metal is worn smooth and shiny.
Studio Cherchbi is now operating a ‘one in, one out’ rule, the next interesting object presenting itself must be more useful, beautiful or curious than the above. We shall keep you informed as to how this progresses.