This year the Puffers tea room and restaurant is having a re-vamp, to go alongside our new bench seating that was fitted at the beginning of the year we’re having bespoke, handmade tables and chairs made. You’ll see these tables and chairs creeping in and replacing our trusty old ones gradually throughout this year.
Mike MacKenzie, a craftsman living and working on Easdale Island is masterminding for us a completely unique range of tables and chairs, each chair is lovingly designed, crafted and created, and forms part of a set together with a beautiful table. Each table is made to lock into the next one, so that we can extend the functionality of them when we have large groups of people booking into the restaurant. Mike’s career has been in building houses, doors and windows, he’s been a successful MSP and his path has naturally graduated towards building furniture “Making furniture has kept me sane while I grappled with the ever increasing bureaucracy that appended itself to house building”
The restaurant now showcases 2 tables, and 6 chairs already in use in the tearoom, they grab the attention of locals and tourists alike, and have really begun to lift the atmosphere. The chunky, tactile and beautiful chairs provide conversation, a comfortable place to enjoy a coffee or dinner, and a wow factor when you walk into the small restaurant space.
We asked Mike a few questions about his work, and inspiration. Mike refers me to the book he is currently in the process of writing, a book about a passion of boat building (although he points out he is yet to build this dream – But he will, no doubt with determination and knowledge)
Q. Where does your love for woodwork and craft come from?
An extract from Mike’s book: “When I was young, joiners cut roofs, made windows and doors and staircases, built partitions, laid floors…They were competent across the whole range of joinery tasks required in house building…Many of them were craftsmen, with mind and body…men with magical hands…The true craftsman benefits greatly from his work.”
Q. Tell us about your inspiration and making pieces for individuals?
“Who knows where the inspiration for individual pieces comes from – Life I expect. Ideas and experiences are absorbed and then pop out of my subconscious. If I am making a piece for someone I like to know a little bit about them…Almost always some idea pops into my mind, I wish I understood this more.”
Q. How can people get in touch to order from you?
“People can get in touch via my email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Once I’ve finished the work for the puffer I’ll work on a website.”
Mike’s workshop is situated in the heart of Easdale Island, the old Coalree building, built in the 19th century to house an engineering workshop and stables. The Coalree still houses the bell that would have called the Quarry workers to let them know it was 5 minutes until the start or end of the day. Mike is often there, and enjoys a chat to locals and tourists alike. Mike’s bespoke furniture comes highly recommended from The Puffer!