Ever wondered who built the amazing table in The Fumbally? Sam Gleeson followed a girl to Ireland from his native Devon where he met fellow carpenter Barry Rogerson. The pair shared a love of woodwork and have been producing beautifully bespoke furniture together out of their Dublin 8 workshop for the last few years. Their furniture is used in some of Ireland’s best food hubs, such as Ballymaloe Cookery School. They have made a move into creating wood art (such as a huge world map made out of pallet blocks) as well as their stunningly functional furniture created bespoke and made out of salvaged materials. We talked to Sam about where they find their materials, building at The Ballymaloe Lit Fest and about finding the connection to food in their work.
Tell us about the materials you use and where you find them (without giving away all your secrets)
We try and use as much recycled, salvaged and scrap material as possible. We both love being able to turn other peoples junk into beautiful things. We get phone calls from friends about skips they’ve seen with interesting stuff. There’s also some wonderful salvage yards in dublin and beyond. We’re constantly on the scout to see what we can find. Building site skips are also good for pallets stacks, and then there are hoardings, beach-found wood, sometimes even finding junked furniture which we pull to pieces and use the pieces to make something entirely different.
You make bespoke furniture. How does that work?
We like to go and meet the people we’re building a piece for. We see what they’re like, what their living/working space is like, what they like personally, what their inspirations are and what ideas they have for what they want. We then go away and have a play with ideas, build them a mood board and fill it full of nice things and ask them to do the same after which we come up with a few designs and look into possible materials. Then the fun begins in the workshop and it’s time to put everything together.
It’s a really enjoyable and interesting process. I love the interaction with clients. I think the way Barry and I work and the excitement we have in what we do brings something out in people and allows for some really interesting developments to take place and some lovely pieces to be produced.
Tell us about what you’ve built for The Fumbally.
The Fumbally project has been a joy, an adventure, a springboard to so many other things. And a lot of amazing food. I was in Ghana helping develop an eco lodge project with my friends (greenturtlelodge.com) waiting on a call from Ashling and Luca from The Fumbally to tell me if the cafe was going to go ahead. Barry was keeping things ticking over back in Dublin with a few projects like building pieces for the original 3fe cafe at Twisted Pepper. I’d just got out of the surf and was having a banana break when my phone rang. ‘We’ve got planning permission, when are you coming home?’ So one month later I’m back in Dublin, slightly chilly after 10 months in tropical Africa, building lovely things for our friends. Once The Fumbally was finished I spent 6 months cheffing in the kitchen a few days a week and building furniture the rest of the time. It was a nice combination of interaction with people in a buzzing cafe and a bit of solitude and exploration in the workshop. Then the furniture thing started to take more and more time…so now The Fumbally is strictly for eating. Although I do sneak back into the kitchen from time to time.
Ashling and Luca are old friends and Aisling is Barry’s sister. We’ve worked together a lot over the years, cooking, making things, eating, dinner parties, dancing…and now we’ve had a wonderful opportunity to help them build their dream.
Apart from large pieces of furniture, which of your work might be good for Christmas presents and where can people buy them from you?
For Christmas, we tend to put a few things together for the Christmas markets and work through some of the huge pile of interesting timbers that we have been accumulating throughout the year. Last year we did some lovely burnt wood boxes, tapas boards, candlesticks, some cool little tree decorations made from scrap wood off-cuts along with a few little coffee tables. We are keen to build on the wood art side of things so we may have a few pieces ready for this year’s markets. You’ll be able to find us at the Dublin Flea/ Block T Christmas market over in Smithfield, but if people can’t wait for that then they can get in touch through our website.
Of course, once you’ve got yourself a candlestick or two it would be rude not to get a lovely table built for them to sit on at some point 🙂
You’ll find Sam and Barry at next month’s Christmas Flea Market or you can contact them directly via www.thisiswhatwedo.ie Otherwise, call into them directly at their workshop on Mill Street and see what they can build for you.
This is What We Do Design
15 – 17 Mill Street
The Carpenter’s Lunch
Super tasty whole grain bread in nice fat slices
Good strong flavor cheddar
Lots of gerkin slices
Some nice ham or Gubeen salami
Spread the pesto on the bread slices.
Pile it all high with the rest of the ingredients. Try to keep it balanced before it all falls to pieces in your hands.
If you’re lucky enjoy the sandwich with some nice fresh soup, followed by a tasty maple pecan slice or a Fumbally flap jack.