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'Dragon's Den' furniture designer hosts events

INNOVATIVE: Peter Morrison and his washing machine drum stool

AWARD-WINNING inventor Peter Morrison has been creating unique ideas and products for more than two decades, but his reservoir of inspiration is nowhere near drying up as he has just launched his Strictly Bespoke vision.

He is now combining enterprise and artistic expression to ‘redesign the status quo’ in a variety of eye-catching pieces of furniture and lighting, including an old washing machine drum which has been given a new lease of life as a leather-bound revolving seat, a retro-style coffee table and a smart speaker that can be linked to any stereo system.

Morrison’s eclectic range of lamps are also made from pieces of kit that have been given a different use - some lamps have been created from anything from a BMW 745i to an old electricity power line insulation disc. He also has an eye-catching collection of French polished driftwood in his River Harvest collection.

Morrison’s magnificent imagination complements his desire to support the community at both local and international levels. A natural mentor, he’s a charismatic entrepreneur who continually thinks outside the box to help young people struggling to find work or those who took the wrong turn and ended up in the prison system.

His latest passion (upcycling unwanted items into unique pieces of furniture) has taken off and Morrison is now planning a series of arts fairs which feature several other exhibitors.

The first, launched last month in Sutton Coldfield, was held in partnership with the Shropshire-based British Ironwork Centre, creator of the world famous Spoon Gorilla and Knife Angel, and well known Birmingham-based entrepreneurs Biddle & Webb.


UNIQUE: Peter Morrison and one of his lamp designs

He plans to hold two or three similar events a year in order for little-known but talented artists to showcase their wares.

Exhibitors at the recent art fair included J Valentino, Graham Henley Mouth & Foot Painters, Anwa the Artist, Paul Henry, Take 13, Silver Fish Jewellery and Baron Morrison.
Morrison told The Voice:

“These art fairs aim to be a reflection of the creative community with representations from artists with disabilities, and established and emerging artists who will feature alongside commercial giants such as British Ironworks and Biddle & Webb. It’s a wonderful collaboration between enterprise and expression, bringing people together from all backgrounds and genres.”

To further support his community ethos, Morrison is also supporting local charities with Strictly Bespoke. They include Headway Black Country, which delivers creative sessions for people with brain injuries; Treasured Foundation which delivers creative workshops in the developing world; and Light House, which is seen as a cultural beacon in the West Midlands, providing access to the arts for all.

Morrison’s first invention hit the headlines back in 1999 when he developed a football skills ring, known as the Technical Development Ring (TDR), which went on to score him two British Inventor of the Year Platinum Awards in 2003 and 2004. A year later he appeared with it on the popular BBC TV show Dragon’s Den. He originally invented the TDR for his son to help him develop his football skills after he was signed up to Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club Academy.

In essence, the TDR is a circle of wire netting about two to three metres high with eight life-size wooden cut out players linked to a computer. Patterns of play are analysed as all performance data is recorded, effectively doing away with the need for a football field when working out the pattern of moves in the game. Since its invention it has been used by many football clubs including AC Milan in Italy.

Up to 90 per cent of Morrison’s inventions have an ecological benefit such as the Leaf Log which has won several major awards. He took fallen autumn leaves as a potential fuel source, tapping into a previously ignored resource for eco-friendly green energy. This eco range is 70 per cent carbon neutral offering a more ecological alternative to burning conventional fuels such as wood and coal. Weight for weight, the Leaf Log burns longer than either coal or wood.

Morrison is proud to explain how he was commissioned by the microscopic artist Willard Wigan to create a special display stand complete with magnifying glass, for people to view Wigan’s tiny pieces of work where individual figures are no bigger than an eyelash.

Through programmes such as Eureka and his community interest company LIFE - Learning Initiatives For Employment, Morrison has helped to encourage hundreds of young people to overcome low self-esteem and bring viable products to market.

Constantly brimming with ideas, Morrison says:

“I simply want to create unique items that will inspire, while also inspiring others to be creative. We all have the ability – it’s just a case of showing people the way.”

For more details visit: www.strictlybespoke.com.

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