History and pre-history in unique blanket box

Making great furniture is about balancing form and function to create something that looks good and works well. Sometimes, also, it’s about giving it character and personality – or, even better, a tangible link to its owner.

Functional and historic
Functional and historic

That’s what a Scottish woodworker has achieved in a commission to make a blanket box. Not content with fashioning a functional box from quarter sawn oak, he wanted to infuse it with a personal and unique statement about its new owners.

The result from David McLean, of Furniture by McLean, is a motif fashioned in the shape of a belted Galloway cow and inlaid with goniatites, an early relative of the better-known ammonite, dating back some 400 million years.

David, a graduate of the renowned Chippendale International School of Furniture who continues to work from incubation space at the East Lothian school, wanted to incorporate something personal about the blanket box’s new owners into his functional design.

The box was commissioned by a married couple, with the husband coming from Galloway in south-west Scotland, hence the cow, and his geologist wife – hence the pre-historic goniatite fossils from the high Atlas mountains in Morocco.

The motif itself was made from an inlaid piece of marble with a cherry wood background. The distinctive white cow’s belt was fashioned from sycamore. The veneer was glued over the marble then finished with a clear epoxy resin, carefully sanded to give it a glassy appearance.

Even the oak box has historical resonance, with the wood coming from Lennoxlove, only a mile from David’s workshop. Lennoxlove is one of Scotland’s most iconic stately homes, and dates back to the early middle ages. It was probably visited by Mary, Queen of Scots and was the 17th century home of Frances Teresa Stuart, the original model for Britannia.

A unique and personal motif
A unique and personal motif

“Hand-crafted furniture should be about creating something unique; in this case taking an everyday blanket box and transforming it into a piece infused with history and the lives of the people who commissioned it,” said David McLean.

“I would be delighted to work with other customers wanting unique designs, or incorporating their life stories into beautiful hand-crafted wood,” he said.

David can be contacted on +44 (0) 131 554 1913 or furniturebymclean@hotmail.com

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