I recently went on a course down in Charente Maritime. I have been to Denis Guerin before to learn how to re-cane chairs. He also runs courses on rempaillage - don't ask me the English word...I've thought and thought but can't find it. It isn't rush seating and in England you don't talk about straw chairs. Any ideas would be gratefully received.
There are several different techniques (two more courses too!) and the first chair I did was using herbe de mer. Slightly course and quite thick, it is a variegated green/cream colour that changes over time. Of course, I forgot the camera and the chair is back with its owner.
However, the owner's husband is a very good artist and when she offered to pay me for the work I suggested instead that I do a second chair and he painted our dog. Whilst caning is straight forward and just takes time, if you follow the rules the end result is good; rempaillage is harder to get perfect and I knew that it would not be possible to start charging for my work until I had more practice. So this arrangement seemed ideal - and they were happy with the idea too.
The only problem was that she asked me to use a technique I have not yet learnt! Fortunately Denis has a book which I was able to study in detail. I was pleased with the result although, inevitably, I was able to criticise it for hours!
When working on the chair it is mounted on a neat apparatus to raise it off the floor and make turning it easy.
The start went well. The angle is straight and the straw was wrapping well. Unfortunately it gets harder as you go along and the wrapping needs to cover a longer piece of raffia! Patience is something that's worth investing in before you start.