James makes headlines with new chair design

James Walker of Focal Point Furniture, Kelso with the old school chair which he has crafted pages from the Southern Reporter on to.

James Walker of Focal Point Furniture, Kelso with the old school chair which he has crafted pages from the Southern Reporter on to.

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SOME light fires with us, we’re regularly bedding in dog kennels – but now it seems we might be sat on.

Old copies of TheSouthern have a multitude of uses, but an inspired Kelso furniture retailer has come up with yet another.

For Focal Point Furniture’s James Walker has papered an old school chair with one.

It’s a work in progress and any hacks with egos will be dismayed because by the time Mr Walker is finished with it the newsprint will be faint and have stripes over the top of it.

“I got my inspiration from the American artist Jasper Johns’ Stars and Stripes. It’s going to be very subtle,” said Mr Walker.

The 1950s painting of the USA flag seems to be just that – the flag – but below the surface of Johns’ work are fragments of newspaper headlines and photographs. The “up-cycling” of the old-style school seats Mr Walker found in a barn has attracted keen interest.

The first of the 10 was hand-painted with flowers and snapped up for a bedroom. He already has a couple of commissions and otherwise thinks he might do a set of six as dining chairs.

“We did the first one for a laugh, but it got such a good response we kept going with the others. The reaction was fantastic,” said Mr Walker.

“We’re trying to take the industrial feel (of the chair) and make it reusable and put a twist to it.”

He rubs back the plywood before painting it with a base layer and – when not recycling a Southern – Heriot Watt textiles student Cheree Wexler, who works in the Horsemarket store on Saturdays, hand-paints the floral designs.

The chairs retain their practicality because they’re finished with a tough wax oil which means the design or TheSouthern’s print is not going to wear off, said Mr Walker.

So far he’s thinking the dining set will go floral, “but we’re open to suggestions”.