Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Inspiration Comes Full Circle and How Furniture Can Capture the Heart

James Krenov used to say that when someone falls in love with a piece of furniture, they’ll do anything to own it -- re-mortgage their house, sell their first-born – whatever it takes. They have to have it.
I guess that’s what a fine woodworker has to depend on if they’re going to survive. When a piece takes weeks, even months to complete, it needs to sell for a decent price if the craftsman who made it is going to be able to survive.
As it turns out, it’s not only ‘customers’ who can come under the spell of a piece of furniture.
Recently, one of our instructors at the College of the Redwoods, David, shared with us a mock-up for a chair he is building.
David said he hasn’t built much in recent years, and his creative bent has been fulfilled by helping us students get started on our own projects and careers. And he helps us immensely every day, from showing us how certain tools work, to parting with precious pieces of lumber he has collected over the years, to simply looking at a problem and saying “here, try this.”
But before he got into showing us his chair mock-up, David told us about one of the exceptional alumni at the school, Sarah Marriage (mentioned in an earlier post here), and showed us photos of some of her projects. She made some truly inspiring, beautiful pieces.
After going through the slides, David showed us a writing desk Sarah had built, and said he had fallen in love with it as she designed and built it in the shop at our school.
“So, I decided to save her the trouble of shipping it off to a gallery, and bought it from her myself,” he told us.
What a compliment. Anyhow, the writing desk has sat in his home for several years, but without a chair. Recently he was stirred, came up with a design, and began putting the model together.
David was inspired by the work of a student, and I, and others, were inspired by the realization that even someone who has seen literally thousands of pieces of beautiful furniture come through the school, could still be captivated by the simple lines contained in a writing desk conceived and built by a student.

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