Feature

Since the late 50s Sir Terrance Conran has pioneered the changing aesthetic of modern British design. The Conran Shop is has always been the treasure trove of all things beautiful, combining radical new design with crafted traditions. We are really excited to have been asked to create a range of boards for The Conran Shop, each is signed and numbered in editions of 10. Guns, Logs and short boards to choose from available at their London and Paris stores. We wanted to create a series that showcased sterling British shaping and also relates to the furniture traditions that Conran has always supported. This is a peek into some of the production on the guns, a master class in tail block mitering and rail spraying, courtesy of Mr. Fluin at Phoenix.  

 

WIN A SWAMI'S BOARD!!!!
12 amazing prizes - don't miss out on your chance to win - buy tickets here:

http://www.sas.org.uk/shop/accessories/2013-raffle-tickets/

All money raised will go towards protecting the UK's oceans, waves & beaches.

The raffle draw is on 18 December 2013

------

Swami's X SAS - work in progress!

A Swami's collaboration with X-ray photographer Hugh Turvey (artist in residence at the British Institute of Radiology)

"I've collected shells from all the beaches I've sat and surfed on over the years, to me they represent the fragility of the ocean and a celebration of the good times too.
For me boards are always a combination of art, skill, shaping and finish. Surfing's unique, an art form in it's own right and that's always inspiring.
Having worked with Bro and Paul (Pheonix Glassing) for 5 years we've made some fairly unique boards, you're in the hands of masters when you're with them"
Swami's founder, Giles Dunn.

Outputting the prints, which are dye-sublimated onto rice paper, photos: Stephen Kemp (The Print Environment)

--

These are some shots of the board, shaped and glassing up, pre-sanding and finishing.  Images: Paul Fluin, Master Finisher (Phoenix)

--

 

 

 

Throughout the course of building Swami's, there have been few projects that we've been prouder of than Portrait of a Surfer.
Alan Aboud and I had been friends from our days at St. Martins School of Art, he's a creative director who has worked with Paul Smith for over 20 years. Coincidently through the Swami's x PS collaboration project we crossed paths on a work level for the first time.
I'd always wanted to make a surf movie that felt a little different and could give a more personal account of what it means to be a surfer. I'd mentioned this to Alan and whether or not he knew of anyone we could work with, to my surprise he said that he'd love to be involved. We'd been working with Sam (Bleakley) for a few years and for me I couldn't think of anyone that epitomises the committed life of a surfer / writer than Sam, he was the perfect person to build the project around and we were very stoked when he agreed to be involved.

Alan had been collaborating on some amazing film projects with the director Steve Langmanis, as soon as we saw his work we knew immediately that they would create the most incredible film. Steve has a natural sense of story telling and a very inquisitive nature, we talked through some ideas together and set about planning the shoot. Time wasn't on our side, we were all super busy and finding a slot to schedule the shoot in was getting tricky. So it wasn't until late November that we actually got the chance to get down to Cornwall. The shoot was scheduled for 3 days, it was going to be a challenge, we needed sun and hopefully some swell to at least create the sense of a fading summer.

Due to the limited time we'd have at the location Steve recommended that we should storyboard some ideas. Ilka and I went down a few days before to prep the shoot and hang out with Sam. Alan, Steve, Stefan (the steadicam and second camera) and Ian (Steve's assistant) arrived a few days later at sunset. We walked down the hill and straight to the house. Everyone was amazed by the location, the light and landscape, everything.. The house, perched right on the headland just above the beach was a mind blowing situation. I presented the script, he glanced over it, laid it down on the table and politely explained they needed to be much more free form..
They wanted to embed themselves down at the beach, get up at first light, capture everything they could, embrace the atmosphere, the elements, the colour etc.. the script was out but we had complete trust in both Alan's and Steve's vision, we could see that they were super inspired to be there and for us that was just about perfect.

The crew spent the next three days filming non stop, jumping from one scenario to the next, planning scenes as they went along. So much of what we could do was based on the weather, we were as far west as we could be in England and the weather and light changed almost every minute. Having been raised on the headland Sam could literally tell us when the best light would appear and miraculously it seemed to. Everything turned on including a great hefty swell to boot. After 3 days of filming they had cans of footage and we wrapped, packed the van and left for home, cautiously optimistic.

Previously I'd contacted Julius Brighton who Sam had introduced us to. Julius is the most amazing wild life photographer and we commissioned him to capture the surf footage that we wanted to weave into the film. They'd waited for the right swells throughout October and connected to film some beautiful slowmo footage. The board which we'd made especially for the shoot was finish just in time, in fact what you see in the film is the first session Sam had ever had with it.

Over the next few months the film was carefully knit together, the editing process saw the film come to life and miraculously made all the spontaneity of the filming flow seamlessly together, there had been a plan all along!
Sam's narrative brought an honest and personal tone that was amazing. The icing on the cake was the sound design created by Steve's brother Andrew at Radium Audio.

Our aim with everything to do with Swami's is to create ideas and products that come with a high level of integrity, thought and passion, that's what lead us to work with Alan, Steve, Sam and all the other photographers, designers and crafts people that we work with. Portrait of a Surfer went beyond what we'd ever expected as a film and somehow captured what we're attempting as a brand. To date over 34,000 people have seen it and I think it's a testament to the skill and passion that went into making it. We're very proud and grateful to everyone that was involved.
With many thanks,

Ilka and Giles

--

Alan Aboud, Aboud Creative 
Steve Langisman, Digital Pro
Andrew Diey, Radium Audio

left to right: Sandy and Sam Bleakley, Stefan Krt, Stephen Langmanis, Alan Aboud, Ilka and Giles Dunn.

Behind the scenes look at our Tee shirt production.
What is it about the smell of fresh screen printing ink?! I can't describe it but hopefully this series of stills gives an idea.
To me watching things come together at the production stage is always really inspiring: films output, screens made, colours mixed by hand, bright inks on squeegees, all of which are done by hand and sometimes in quite rudimentary ways which always seems reassuring to me especially in the hands of our master printer - Thanks Anita for your print perfection.

Filmed on location in West Cornwall, Swami's short film profiles multiple British and European longboard champion Sam Bleakley: surfer, explorer and writer.
An insightful glimpse into a surfer's state of mind, travel wonder lust and the ultimate draw back home. Directed by Stephen Langmanis and Alan Aboud.

Take a bunch of Swami's scarves and sarongs high up in the dunes over a peeling right on a crystal clear day.
Strange, unexplained things start to happen!

Summer begins to unfurl - let's get wrapped..

(Disclaimer: No trick photography was used, our styles and colours are genuinely this real!)

 

  

Freddie Meadows is an old friend of ours who's been with us from the early days. As joint adventurers on surfable shores, notably Portugal and Costa Rica, we've made his competition boards for several seasons which he's surfed with the trade marked Freddie "grace under pressure" swagger. Half Swedish half English, he's part of the Swedish national team and an ASP competition regular. Freddie is a continuing inspiration and we're proud to have him be a part of the ongoing Swami's adventure.

These are a some of the many performance boards that we've made for Freddie's quiver, we inlay the designs into the decks and hulls before they are wrapped, glassed, polished and ultimately get slotted into hollow barrels.

--

Mr. Meadows' musing...

Surfing's been an amazing, humbling, eye opening, hair raising and beautiful experience and adventure that has brought me to where I am today. Happy------"

When did you start surfing and why?

I was 13 or so, I had surfed once or twice before so I knew roughly what a ridable wave looked like. I was at home and strolled down to the beach on a summers day and it was glassy with maybe waist high peelers coming in. The sight of waves gave me so much joy that I hopped over the fence into the neighbours yard, borrowed their windsurf board without permission and gave it a go. I think that whole experience got me going properly.

What has been the biggest highlight of the past 12 months for you?

Scoring the "once in a decade" swell at home in Sweden last July. The winds switched offshore from gale force onshore and left us with groomed barreling rights for a few hours after... that never happens.

--
Photos: portraits - Chistopher Wilson, shaping - Swami's, surfing - Andreas Pastor


Check out Dispatches from Freddie http://freddiemeadows.blogspot.com/

The Fathoms Surfboard is the centre piece of our collaboration with Paul Smith. We are really excited about this collection and supremely stoked to be working with whom we consider to be this country's greatest fashion designer (www.paulsmith.co.uk/shop). 

This particular board was custom made in Cornwall for Sam Bleakley, it's more of a high performance shape with foiled out rails which suits the way he likes to ride.

Fathoms (the board name) is available as a Swami's Monk or Emperor shape, as all our boards are custom made any a personal tweaks to these shapes can be requested.
Here are a collection of stills that detail the board as well as out takes from the forth coming film that will launch in March.

Here are some production stills from the traditional weavers that we work with to create our very own Swami's travel blankets.
The mill has been associated with British weaving since 1570, so it was quite an experience and honor to work with them. The blankets are woven from 100% pure (Jacob sheep) wool, Jacob's are a very ancient breed that probably originated in Syria 3000 years ago, unique for their piebald (two colour) fleece. So what you have here is a yarn that's completely natural - no dyes or chemical treatments are used so the colors you see are those that grow on every Jacob fleece, it's about as natural as you can get.
Apart from of course the orange and blue "stringer" threads that are Merino wool. We love them, hope you do too.

Thanks David - Master Weaver (occasional photographer)

As far back as the 16th century Birmingham has been the centre of Britain's jewelry and silversmithing industry. With its reputation stretching far beyond England The Quarter radiates with historical relevance and tradition in every narrow lane and back street.

We work with a family of silversmiths renowned for their jewelry and metalworking heritage to make our own quality pieces. The workshop is a time capsule filled with ancient machines and tools. Every part of the process is done by hand from, origination, mold making, casting to polishing. Once the pieces are finished the final step is to send them down to the Assay Office for hall marking, embossed with Birmingham's famous anchor.

Subscribe to RSS - Feature