The WOW factor

Charlie Whinney steam bends wood

Like lots of other exhibitors for this year’s Cumbria Life Home and Garden Show, we’ve been planning our stand in recent weeks. It’s usually hard to think of something new that will make a big impact but, this year, we already had a good idea and just needed to make it happen.

In the past week or so, it’s all fitted into place … quite literally.

I’ve loved Charlie Whinney’s work for ages. He specialises in steam bending wood to create unusual structures for homes and gardens – you can tell that his background is in architecture because he creates the most amazing shapes and some are on a dramatic scale.

We decided that we’d love to take advantage of Charlie’s enthusiasm for teaching other people his techniques. We set up a workshop for our team to design and make a unique pergola that could be a WOW centrepiece for our stand at the Show.

Each member of our Wildroof Landscapes/Buzy Lizzie team has now spent time with Charlie at his workshop near Witherslack and we’ve learnt a huge amount. It’s not just about the skills but also the fact that steam bending is something so completely different. It’s lovely to be so hands on and then see 20 separate pieces of larch take new shapes that fit together to become a stunning structure.

We’re thrilled to bits with the resulting pergola, also jokingly known as the Whinney Wedding Arbour!

It’s going to have pride of place on our stand in the Mountain Hall at Rheged. The plan is to put it into a garden context with paving and grass beneath and around it so that you can see how it might work in a garden and also get the feel of its dream-like quality.

We’re excited about showing it off and I’d like to say a huge “Thank you” to Charlie and his team – we had a great time and I’d highly recommend his workshops if you’d like to try steam bending yourself.

I hope you’re looking forward to the Show in March – have a look at the Rheged website and book your tickets in advance at the early bird prices if you can. You also need to book in advance if you’d like to take part in any of the extra master classes and workshops.

Buzy Lizzie and Wildroof Landscapes will be downstairs in the Mountain Hall. We’re looking forward to meeting lots of people and you should be able to spot us. we’ll be the ones under the amazing pergola!

Scroll to Top