Talking Arts – Coventry Woodworks


A look at the Coventry Woodworks logo reveals a traditional cabinetmaker’s joinery saw overlaid with an array of automotive gauges. This strange combination is explained by the two main types of work that flow from the Cobble Hill studio-workshop of Karen Trickett and Cam Russell.

The husband-wife couple work together on a combination of furniture and wooden items on one hand and automotive woodwork on the other. “It’s a bit of a seasonal thing”, explains Russell, ”the fall and winter months being the busiest time for automotive woodwork as owners of vintage cars take them off the road for restoration work. We take in everything from dashboards and interior trim in burled walnut to one of our current jobs, the structural frame pieces for a 1949 Jaguar.” Fittingly, the name Coventry originates from the English city where Jaguar cars are made.

CabinetIn between automotive work, the couple takes on varied furniture commissions and projects, some of which will be on exhibition at the Portals gallery from March 8th to 23rd . “One of our recent pieces is a card table, built for a pair of very avid bridge players” describes Trickett. It has the usual green felt playing surface, but also folds up to reveal a mahogany surface and folds again to compact in a semi-circle so it could be used as a hall table.

One of the shop’s specialties is Karen’s marquetry scenes. Marquetry is the nearly lost art of making pictures from small, accurately fitted pieces of thin wood veneer. “I particularly like working with all of the natural colours that wood comes in as my colour palate.” she explains. A life-sized chickadee in one of her pictures required seven species of wood in twenty-two separate pieces to complete. The Portals exhibition, “See What We Saw”, will feature some of Trickett’s detailed work including a bed headboard where a cherry branch passes through four panels and takes the viewer through each of the seasons, from intricate spring cherry blossoms to winter rain make of mother-of-pearl inlay.