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The Little Red Chair: Inspired by The Graham Norton Show

The little red chair, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

I’m guessing you’ve come here because you’re curious about the little red chair? What is it? How did I come to make it? So, let me explain…

Firstly, this is only really going to make some sort of sense to you if you know about the Graham Norton Show. If you don’t, then, it’s basically a chat show that airs on the BBC on a Friday night, here in the UK. But it is also viewed worldwide. Graham Norton is ‘the host with the most’. He keeps us entertained with interviews with a panel of stars who join him on the sofa in his studio each week.

Guests range from ‘local’ stars of stage and screen in the UK, to Hollywood legends. After the chat, we are treated to a live musical performance. Then, comes the Red Chair.

Audience members are invited to come and sit in the Red Chair and share an amusing story with us all. If the story is sufficiently entertaining, the narrator gets to walk away in one piece. However, if Graham and the panel of guests are not entertained, they will ‘flip’ the chair, sending the unfortunate narrator toppling backwards to be seen no more.

(And it is all perfectly safe, I promise!)

So, that gives you the context for this little piece of silliness.

The Little Red Chair studio set, Katie Dean, Beadflowers

Why did I make The Little Red Chair?

Good question. Why do I make anything? Basically, the idea caught my attention. I felt it would be a challenge to see if I could make a ‘mechanical’ piece of beadwork. (Yes, it does actually work just like the Big Red Chair). And, I guess, since CFS/ME brought me to beading back in 2003, I’ve used beads as a way to work through ‘stuff’, on some level.

Why now? Well, in lock-down, we’ve all had to evolve. Normally, Graham’s show would take place in a studio with a live audience. There is absolutely nothing socially distanced about any of it.

But, happily, modern technology being what it is, the production team have managed to adapt the format to work in lock-down. So, rather than sitting next to one another on a real sofa, Graham now interviews the guests via video chat. (Bonus: we get to see inside the homes of our favourite stars!…check out the latest shows here).

Naturally, Graham’s new studio is rather smaller. Plus, with no ‘real’ audience, how can the Red Chair work? Well, again, via video direct from the home of a member of the public, from somewhere in the world. And I won’t spoil how they’ve managed to ‘flip’ anyone with a sub-standard story.

Lovely as this new format is, I thought we all needed a reminder of how things used to be…

What’s the point of all this?

Do you need anything extra? If this made you smile today, then possibly not.

But if, like me, you’re sitting at home and wondering how you can help in all this mess, then, I have a few ideas.

I did think about setting this up with a donations page to raise money to help people in need right now. But then I got to wondering where on earth to start. I mean, there are just so many people who could do with some help.

All the existing charities are pushed to the limits, just like any other business. So, if you already support a charity, maybe remember to give them a little extra help if you can.

We have the healthcare heroes who are treating the sick and risking their own lives in the process. So, maybe that’s a charity to be supported?

Then, there are the people who are struggling to deal with the loss of their normal lives. So, maybe we should be supporting some mental health charities?

Or what about those for whom home is not a safe place? There are charities struggling to help these people right now.

What about those who have lost their jobs? Is there a way to help them?

And that’s before you even start on the animal charities…

So, I’m inviting you to…

…do a good deed today. Maybe it’s making a donation to a charity of your choice.

Or, maybe you just call a friend and check that they’re ok.

Perhaps you do something to make a stranger smile.

Or, if you’re struggling today, then reach out and ask someone for help. We’re all in this together.

It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Just remember, every little deed of kindness you do will make today lighter for someone. And if we all do something, together we can achieve miracles.

Post script: Beading Facts

And finally, for anyone who has landed here and isn’t (yet) addicted to beading, maybe you’re curious about the process behind making this?

(For any beaders out there, I’m afraid there won’t be a tutorial for this project…sorry!)

In the video, I mentioned a few beading terms: seed beads, Cubic Right Angle Weave and Peyote stitch.


Well, this is the ‘bread and butter’ of my job. I create things from seed beads. In the case of this project, mostly size 8 seed beads. Although I did use a few size 11 delicas for the star and the lever. Then, the little man is made with size 11 and size 15 seed beads. And if you want some enlightenment about those materials, check out this article.


Now, there are so many ways in which you can create with beads. But for this project, I just used bead-weaving techniques. What does that mean? It basically covers all the ways in which you can use needle and thread to stitch individual beads into some kind of fabric. Some techniques will give you a flexible fabric. Some will create rigid structures.

So, for the Little Red Chair and its surrounding ‘studio’, I needed techniques that would give me a solid structure. Same goes for the little man. (I did have grand ambitions to give him moveable joints, but I think that’s for another project on another day…). Anyway, back to those techniques. The vast majority of this is stitched in Cubic Right Angle Weave. But I did add some parts (the star is an example) using Peyote stitch. So, if you want to learn more about what those entail, check this out.

And, if that has inspired you to start learning how to work with beads, then I have a few online classes you can try. After all, beading is great for your mental health and the perfect candidate for a new hobby during lock-down. You can check out the classes at this link.

2 thoughts on “The Little Red Chair: Inspired by The Graham Norton Show

  1. Hi, Katie… I love the story of the red chair.. I would love to make just the chair & a man & lady as several of my friends & family have recliners.. I also have one & that is where I do all of my beading.. so, if you do decide to make a pattern, please let me know.. Thank you for all of your hard work creating these beautiful patterns.. Ann

    1. Thank you Ann! I definitely won’t be making patterns for this, but you never know, I may do something similar in a tutorial in future, so I’ll be sure to let you know if I do!

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