Chinese Chairs and a Coffee Table or what has Furniture to do with Art? (part 1)
July 15, 2008
What has furniture to do with art – you might ask? A lot – is my answer.
Designing your own furniture, the choice of the material, the working process and practical application helps a lot regarding control and understanding of your creative process. While you create something so trite (such as furniture 😀 and test it by using it you will gain not only a lot of technical knowledge (learning by doing) but you will understand much quicker how design, composition, colour, materials can work together to build the perfect unit no matter what you create.
I think the following ensemble is something special and you won’t find it anywhere (of course not – because it’s an original) in a designer shop. But I want to give you an idea what I am talking about.
I also want to show that art and creative processes can very well go hand in hand with crafts and that the differentiation is fluent. There is no need to top one above the other.
First I created 2 different chairs which were originally meant as decoration rather than for usage – you will soon realize why.
In the meanwhile they ARE USED especially when we do not want a visitor to stay too long 👿 . These chairs are literally a pain in the a.. i.e. simply so uncomfortable that you’ll get a sore b… after sitting on them for some time but I wanted them exactly to look like that, being reminiscent of the traditional Chinese chairs in the last centuries. I was simply fascinated by that kind of style and wanted to incorporate it into my own work.
In fact in the China of the mandarins the chairs actually were made like this, with that very straight back, in order to force people to sit very upright. It was a part of the etiquette (of the court and noble families) to sit very upright and not with a hunchback – as today – like Quasimodo, the bell ringer of Notre Dame. Feeling comfortable was absolutely dispensable.
As you can see I chose pine wood again for the chairs. A wood that is quite robust and very well applicable for furniture and not so expensive. I was used to carving pine wood in the meanwhile and I loved the fine grain.
As I do not own a turning lathe I bought the legs readily made instead – I only shortened them. The back of this chair was mounted on top of the seat piece and the 2 little triangles were meant for stabilizing the construction i.e. the back from falling off the seat, otherwise this would have been a bit over-exaggerating the treatment of unwelcome guests – wouldn’t it? No – earnestly – I wanted the chairs to be as sturdy as possible of course.
(the story will be continued…)