Saturday, May 9, 2009
In 1974 I came back to my home town in the Midwest after being gone for three years. I had just completed my tour of duty as a Marine Sgt. (Embassy Guard and Machine gunner). I returned to my home town Traveling throughout France, Italy, Living in Tunisia North Africa for a year and then passed through Israel, India, Thailand and spent a year in war the torn south Vietnam. Wow what a contrast to come back home to my house on the block after traveling the world.
I had the unique privilege of traveling at Uncle Sam's expense from country to country and as a past time I developed an eye for local architecture, Customs,cultures, and unique art and collectibles.
When I came back home, my eyes were all the sudden opened to what I always took for granite as normal way of life. Then it hit me...my eyes were opened and I could not understand why we as a creative intelligent, industrial, wealthy, educated, artistic, imaginative nation(America), who had access to the most sophisticated computerized power tools turned out what I call “Sears $49.95 junk furniture" which shamefully graced every home that I went into as well as a TV surrounded by unkempt spaces called living rooms and dining rooms full of nonessential items. Fortunately my parents did not buy into the TV or the cheap furniture and non essentials. Whereas in the poor countries the local populations were turning out detailed masterpieces with small crude hand tools.
One afternoon I decided to look into purchasing some furniture of my own. After a few disappointing visits to a local furniture store I decided to set out to build some of my own furniture with my own designs.
Designing Furniture is somewhat like using a box of crayons, as you open the box there are many colorful options to choose from and to satisfy your imagination just like it is in decor and furniture designs from the past to the present and future.
One comment that I've herd on several occasions is, "if you wanted a couch, why not just go to the store and buy one instead of spending all this time making one"? Obviously they missed the point. Today my living room maintains that original design which I labeled “the Spiral design".
The "barley twist" was popular with traditional old English furniture known as the “sugar Barley twist” or some of the Flemish or Spanish furniture designs using the open Helix which is made by having several twist cut into the center of design until it exposes the other side.
Creating furniture for yourself does not have to be what others have or want but rather what comes out of your own gut and creativity. You're the one who will stare at it in the morning and come home to it in the evenings, so like a canvas with oils at your finger tips, you work an ideas until you finally say, "there that's It". I concluded you might as well enjoy your own creativity it as you only pass through this world "once".
Being inspired to create something unique can be the result of a simple request to build a bird house for a family member such as my solid Mahogany had carved "Executive Bird house" which sold in an Art Gallery for $3,000.00 within the first five minutes of opening it's doors. While developing it I mixed several designs such as an Oriental rug at the base, a Gothic and flemish pedisatal,a chinese magic ball(egg)under the house and a tenge of fantasy and realizim to display my ideas.
There is a small carved door on the left side of the house which allows the "little Hobit styled people" a discreate side way out as they walk down wooden steps and over to the perch to the awaiting prehistoric bird to fly away.
The Art pedestal called "TO The Top", is yet another idea of mine which is a result of attending an art gallery and seeing several pedestals wrapped in carpet which inspired me to create a steam punk pedestal with functionality and meaning. As it turned out clients became more interested in the pedistal than the art displayed on top. So it then became the registry podium for the guess book.
The pedestal shows several ways to the top, and yet the traditional front door college approach dead ends abruptly(when you open the front door there is an internal stairwell all the way to the top but abruptly stops short of being on the top).
The pressure indicator shows that all artists are under some sort of pressure and have some release valve to release stress.
The antenna on top shows that each artist has a radar of sorts, constantly scoping out what others think of their work.
The windows signify the fact that as an artist you are either looking at other artists work or they are looking at yours.
The smoke stack and the sewer vent shows that allot of smoke and gas are bellowing any time the art is being discussed with potential customers or the admiration society.
This has become my "Oak room collection" (which i did not make)which reflects a simular taste in the English influences in the useage of the Barley twist.
My Light House
has it's root's in my ability to skillfully craft various items on the lathe each item including the Ash wooden flag and the detailed deck on the dock is wood.
This is one of those projects that i did at work during my lunch period or during my spare time. Each little detailed stair baluster and brick had to be carved just right to make the over all picture what it is. Naturally you could never recoup the compensation for such a project because it took months to finish. However, such projects are enjoyed by others for many years to come.
Traditionally i have always thought of furniture as a household item that was bought to appease the taste of most department store enthusiast namely women even though most Furniture has been designed by men for women. My "steelchair53" line of furniture has evolved from a slab of rough sawn oak which was taken from a barn loft stash from a friend of mine. In the process i designed and made a large desk
and a chair that matched, with a sofa and lamps
and coffee table
which will have end tables to match. this furniture smacks of "Steam punk", "Mad max", "Post Man, Water World and a smidgen of Dinatopia.