Harestanes to host last major exhibition by woodworker Tim Stead

A MAJOR exhibition of furniture and sculpture by lauded artist-craftsman Tim Stead, likely to be the last on such a scale, takes place where he first had a studio at Harestanes near Jedburgh.

Curated by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Tim’s widow, Maggy Stead Lenert, With the Grain: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Tim Stead will include keynote pieces highlighting Tim Stead’s trademark use of burr elm such as the papal throne commissioned for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium in 1982. Also on view will be the handcrafted wooden axe-heads, sold to raise funds to buy Wooplaw near Stow, Scotland’s first community woodland.

After studying at Glasgow School of Art, Tim and Maggy Stead moved to Harestanes and opened Tim’s first workshop there in 1976. Five years later they moved to the Steading at Blainslie near Lauder where Tim worked for the next 18 years until his death from cancer, aged just 48.

Maggy and skilled craftsmen, who were apprenticed with him, have sustained his legacy as the Workshop of Tim Stead. But this year the workshop closes and the Steading will be sold, as Maggy retires to join her family in southern Europe.

She said: “Tim’s work blurred the lines between furniture design and sculpture, business and conservation, poetry and teaching. Until his death he worked tirelessly sustaining projects including the Borders Community Woodland and cultivating young woodworkers at his Woodschool in the use of Scotland’s rich native timber resources.

“It is so special to be returning to show his work once again at Harestanes, right beside our first marital home and Tim’s first workshop, and at a place that was such an inspiration for us.”

The free exhibition runs until Monday, May 27, and Maggy will talk about Tim’s life and work on Sunday, April 21.