Alan Flannery Furniture Design

Website detailing the bespoke furniture design and making business of Alan Flannery, Bristol, UK

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Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design 2019, a makers perspective.

As we come towards the end of July and the start of August certain annual patterns are noticeable in the workshop. The roller door is open fully to usher in welcome light and fresh air, and the fans busily turn their heads, keeping an eye on the work being done. It is not just the fans that are busy, the makers too are pulling out all the stops working towards an important deadline.

Over the last number of years, this time of year has for me, become synonymous with the preparation for the Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design, the largest selling exhibition of designer/maker furniture in the UK.

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2019 will be my fourth year exhibiting at the show and so it is starting to become a tradition, a yearly ritual where the summer months are a busy time spent designing and creating new pieces to be completed in time for the shows launch.

The exhibition requires makers to present work which has not been included in previous years ensuring no two visits to the Neo Classical Thirlestaine long gallery at Cheltenham College are the same. From a maker’s perspective, this stipulation creates an opportunity to get our thinking caps on, to create new work and to expand our portfolios. For those of us who do not have time to be as proactive as we would like in the creation of new pieces, the exhibition affords us the chance to design without the constraints of a brief, to make pieces that have been waiting patiently on the pages of our sketchbook since that day we were meant to be doing something more important.

An image from celebration of Craftsmanship 2016

An image from celebration of Craftsmanship 2016

This year’s exhibition is extra special as it is the 25th installment and its longevity is a testament to the organisers and the hard work they put in year round to ensure that the show not only survives but goes from strength to strength and in my opinion improves yearly. Bringing together the work of more than seventy makers the exhibition comprises mostly of bespoke furniture pieces and these are complimented by pieces of jewellery, sculpture art and glass. In total the number of exhibits exceed three hundred spread over five rooms. Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design is an excellent day out for those who have an interest in bespoke furniture or in craft in general. It provides a great opportunity to meet craftspeople and speak to them about their pieces and the stories behind them. Similarly for the makers it is a welcome break from the workshop, to spend a few dust free days meeting visitors who take an interest in and appreciate what you do and among a great community of craftspeople, the long evenings and weekends spent preparing seem very much worthwhile.

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Celebration and Craftsmanship 2019 runs from Saturday August 17th to Monday August 26th at the Thirlestaine Long Gallery in the grounds of Cheltenham College, bath road Cheltenham. The show runs each day from 10 Am until 4 Pm and it would great to see you there.

Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design 2018

The celebration of craftsmanship and design returns to Cheltenham again this year for its 24th instalment. This is the largest exhibition of contemporary designer maker furniture is the UK runs from the 18th to 27th August 2018 in the Thirlestaine Long gallery at Cheltenham college.

The show brings together 70 of the best designer makers of bespoke furniture in the country which is complimented by craftspeople who work in other disciplines such as ceramics, jewellery and glass.

Exhibits are carefully curated within the impressive buildings of Cheltenham college offering visitors the opportunity to view over 200 pieces from makers in the UK, Ireland and even further afield.  Each year, exhibitors only present work which is new to the exhibition ensuring that the show offers a different experience each year.

The Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design also offers visitors the chance to meet and chat with the makers, to find out more about them and their practice. It also enables them to learn first hand about pieces they may be interested in purchasing or about the commissioning process 


I am very happy to be exhibitions at the show again this year as I have done each year since establishing my practice. Exhibiting at the show is a yearly goal to aspire towards, enabling me to design and create three new pieces.

 For me personally it is a highlight of the working year for a number of reasons. It is always very enjoyable to catch up with fellow makers and see what new creations they have been working on. It is also an excellent opportunity to chat with visitors, to discuss the work on display and to gain feedback about my own pieces.

Fleure Side Table in Oak will be on display at this years Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design

Fleure Side Table in Oak will be on display at this years Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design

This year I will be exhibiting the following pieces:

Fleure Side Table

A single-legged side table created from European Oak. Supported by its waterfall inspired leg this piece reflects the erosive properties of flowing water and its ability to shape our landscape. (shown above)

Amplex Chair

A lounge chair created from European Oak with an ebonised finish clad with a grey leather seat and backrest. Designed with the intention of catching the users eye, inviting  them to sit, relax and enjoy their surroundings.

Eala Lamp

Mid Century Modern in style, this table lamp takes its name from the Irish word for swan in reference to its avian aesthetic. It is created from European Oak with an ebonised finish adorned with a turned Oak lampshade. The lampshade is finished on its internal face with gilded copper providing a warm glowing reflection.

Website Launch

It is with great excitement that I write the first post on this new website. The website is not all that is new, it is reflective of a new location, a new working environment in a new workshop and hopefully the creation of many new pieces of furniture. 

The first three months of 2016 have been very busy getting set up in the Vale Lane workshop in Bristol and planning projects for the quickly approaching summer months. As the evenings increase in length so too does the list of projects that are in the pipeline. The progress of these new products will be documented here as they pass through the design stages and move towards completion. 

Also in the pipeline is news regarding one of Britain's leading craft and design exhibitions which which will follow in the coming days.