Under the spotlight: hand-carving the Juliette’s legs.
We recognise the entrance to the carving section of the workshop before it’s pointed out to us. Stacks of legs for our Juliette bench sit piled up on either side of the door, giving it away better than any sign could. They arrive turned, ready for our artisans to artfully carve out the details that give this Gustavian-style bench its neoclassical flair.
The room is filled with natural light and set far away from the clanking of hammers and the groan of electric saws. Our artisan places a leg for the Juliette on his workbench, set between two pieces of wood shaped especially to hold it steady. Taking a chisel in one hand and a block in the other, he begins to chip away at the oak.
He presses down, putting all his weight on his hands and his arms, revealing that carving by hand doesn’t just require a deftness of touch, it takes physical strength. Chisels in varying shapes and sizes lie within easy reach, the artisan switching between them depending on the definition of the design. Wood chips flick out and the pattern starts to appear.
The wood shavings are collected and made into a paste-like mixture, used to correct errors of which there are almost none. “It takes several years to become a skilled carver,” Jian Bing tells us when we point out the flowers in the workbench. “I’ve been doing it for over a decade and can carve anything, but flowers are my favourite.”
Take a closer look at our Juliette bench collection