Guest Blog post: Gareth Batowski

We love old pub screens so we asked our pal Gareth to help a group of volunteers build some, what Gareth doesn't know about wood isn't worth knowing. We didn't know Gareth until The Pilcrow project and now we can't imagine life without him and his Festool Jigsaw. Check out his work at Stunning. 



Allow me to introduce myself - my name is Gareth Batowski and I work out of a small wood working studio near Manchester. What do I do? I design and make furniture using English timbers focusing on their beauty and highlighting them in such a way which is respectful and joyful. Whether or not I AM successful in doing so is up to you but that is my aim. 

So, this all started after a great launch night when I met The Pilcrow team for the first time and was inspired to offer up my wood skills for a workshop of some kind.  After a few sit downs in pubs, staring around for inspiration, we came up with the idea of the pub screen**

They are quintessentially puby - (PUB-EE); being of pub. 

I wanted to do something where we could showcase the beautiful and original textures of English timbers and this idea seemed perfect to accommodate for pattern. There are so many wonderful types of wood and, once you start putting them next to one another, they really show themselves off.

**Pub screens - the stained glass of a pub booth divider, not flat - wavy, delicate. If you slammed a door they would probably rattle but strong enough to last years and years. The final outcome has to match the dividers in essence. Wood is not see-through. Where glass was once, there is now wood. Where was once lead is light. The old switcharoo. 

The first workshop was about an introduction to the materials with a couple of basic techniques.

Onto the workshop… 

In order to get 10 folk to make a consistent design we needed a constant. Joe made some ‘Manchester Angles’ based on the popular French curves as aids for the design. A set of different radius’ and straights edges.

The gang then went about drawing on A1 sheets to produce patterns and after cutting them out reassembled them to form a pleasing design. The patterns were transferred to the wood veneers and cut out with jigsaws. Parts of the design needed larger pieces of veneer than we had so I showed a technique to join them using a straight edge, jointing plane, glue and masking tape.

The final design would be mirrored around a central axis. Like a butterfly.  

The next step will be making the frames to mount the screens and with illustrator Rob Bailey, to aid with composition and layout, piece all the pieces together to create The Pilcrow Pub screen.