Tuesday, June 10, 2008

making a chair

OK.
I must, first and foremost give huge props to Sam Maloof. If you have neared the perimeter of the furniture world his name rings clear.
Sam began his furniture career using old railroad pallets because he couldn't afford to buy nice hardwood. He lost money on his first few commissions and wanted to throw in the towel. His lovely wife Freda supported him 100% and today, nearly 5 decades later, Sam is considered to be the preeminent person in furniture.
I heard of Sam eight years ago, before I even started making my own pieces. I saw him and thought 'those chairs are the bomb, but I could never make something like that', even though I wanted to and LOVE chairs.
Then 3 weeks ago another special aired on PBS featuring Sam and his life. I went away from this viewing telling myself 'OK Scott, you must make a chair'.
Here's my thing about chairs. Chairs are special in that coming up with a good sitting chair which is well-designed, functional and comfy is like running a 4-minute mile. It's an alchemical thing where many different aspects come together, not to mention attention to detail.
So I began. I bought some cherry, made a few miniatures and jumped into the real deal. 2 weeks later, I have an awesome start. It was an incredible journey. I allowed the chair to evolve, to guide me.
One day I was baffled at where to go with it so I put it in front of me, sat down and studied it. I let it talk to me. Oh yea, I happened to be watching Charlie Rose and he was doing a retrospective on Sidney Pollack, who had died that week. Halfway through the program Charlie asked Sidney 'Do we deserve better ?' Sidney responded 'Of course we deserve better. We deserve better chairs.................things that are handmade'.
I was floored, almost weepy. Anyway, a chair is a beautiful thing and to create a well-made piece that has great utility is where I want to go.
I'll post photos of it soon and you can see for yourself.
peaceout, scott

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