Story by The Horse’s Mouth
One unrecorded day in 2020 I ventured into the upper loft of the studio to fetch some dry old barn-siding for splitting into kindling. While ascending the ladder I spotted a cluster of wood chairs in storage…all oldish ladderbacks and Windsors. Some were waiting for a repair — for years — others were pretty much old wrecks that had not quite been thrown out. Some were made by myself, and others made by whoever/wherever/whenever. Perhaps eight chairs in total.
Suddenly an a-ha moment…These old chairs are exactly what I didn’t know I needed to be the materials for my continuing exploration of painted wood sculpture.
< #1 - Circus
Downstairs I took a good look at This Old Chair. I’m guessing it could have been made between 1930 and 1960. It wasn’t pretty, so there was little harm in transforming it into something new.Wobbly joints. Straight back. Clunky proportions. Never was comfortable. I had no idea what to do next, so I stared at the old chair — on and off —for several days.
I began to realize that I would be sawing the chair into pieces, and then reassembling the pieces into something entirely non-chairlike. I had the tools and techniques to move forward., having made chairs and taught chair-making for forty years, I used a handsaw to yield almost random pieces. As I sawed, I began to like the new pieces. They ‘became mine.’ I started holding and clamping the pieces in different ways and at almost random angles, looking for relationships that were visually pleasing, interesting and not usual. I like surprises.
< #2 - Kanji