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Meet the… Chippie!

This month I had a chat with one of the carpenters (otherwise known as a ‘chippie’) who has been working most recently on the cladding of Beach House.

A local lad, who lives almost within of sight of the site, Tom Thornton has been keen for something to happen at North Quay for quite some time. Tom has been a fully trained carpenter for 12 years since completing his apprenticeship within the social housing sector. He was familiar with the derelict site and when the development took off, it was a project he was keen to get on board with.

Tom is usually to be found walking around the site at breaktimes with his Labrador, Forrest, who is a firm favourite around here and always visits the marketing suite for a biscuit! But what drew my attention to Tom was the realisation that there were some other strings to his bow…!

Tom is a keen participant in Waveski competitions (no, I didn’t know what that was either!) and was ranked #1 in the UK in 2014. Like many surfers and lovers of the sea, Tom has always been acutely aware of the environmental impact of disused and old or damaged surfboards. Made from almost exclusively non-recyclable materials, most old boards go into landfills, but Tom has found an ingenious way of giving these old boards a new lease of life, repurposing the unrecyclable.

He uses them to create unique pieces of large scale, striking artwork!

The pieces are quite tricky to create as he works with cut pieces of glass that are flat, and is fixing them onto a curved surfboard surface, so they initially took some problem solving to get right. He is now branching out into using pieces of copper that are salvaged from all manner of old household items such as water tanks or boilers, which he is hammering by hand and experimenting with different methods to achieve a patina effect. This mixed with the shimmering glass creates a stunning visual overall effect.

It’s hoped that many of our waterfront apartments will be proudly displaying one of these one-of-a-kind unique pieces of art on their walls, and it’s nice to know that you’re helping our planet with a little less landfill. Each piece often comes with its history so you may have something that has travelled the world…

Follow @Blackdogworkshops on Instagram & Facebook to see more of his work and to express interest in acquiring one for yourself.

Pictured: ‘Sirius’ (which is currently on display in the North Quay Marketing Suite! Pop down to have a look)