Chinese Chairs and a Coffee Table or what has Furniture to do with Art? (part 5)

July 28, 2008

Now here is finally the last part of this series – I don’t wanna bore you any further. Can you guess about what I am talking here now – yes – the table.
Now – this is a true Vyala construction 😀 and you won’t find anything similar anywhere in the world because I had this inspiration right in the middle of the night.

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When do you have your best inspiration or ideas? Under the shower? Shortly before sleep takes over? Would be interesting to know. Well – it is funny but the more unrealistic and complicated one idea is the better I can think about it during the night. Maybe that’s because I am an artist and I am a bit crazy. But I think all artists are a bit crazy. That’s what my Mom says and my hubby – and he must surely know!

This “having-ideas-in-the-middle-of-the-night” thing must have something to do with the missing light outside, maybe because there is less noise and all your senses are more alert, you are less distracted – I don’t know. I am sure there exist studies about this and I think I am definitely not the only person who is experiencing this kind of “alertness” late at night. I often found the solution for problems in the middle of the night when I failed to succeed during the day. I call it the “ping” moment – do you know such a thing? It’s suddenly there – the idea or the solution for a problem without any further effort. Btw – this applies not only to creative subjects but different kind of problems.

I can remember when I was still at high school where I loved to try to solve most complicated maths tasks. When I did not find the solution during the day very often I found it right in the middle of the night and my Mom found me sleeping at the desk. The result of course was that I was tired at school and had nothing but nonsense in my head.

Now back to the table:
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The plate is actually 2 pieces that have been assembled by wooden dowels because I could not find a piece of wood that size. So I had to think about a different solution. I simply assembled two pieces, assembled them with wooden dowels which were glued into the wood. After smoothing out the surface very carefully, I started the open wood work and carving of the plate.

After finishing the plate I started to do the open work and carving on the trims of the table (these are needed to stabilize the construction so that the legs do not make an “x” when the plate and some additional weight is on the legs).

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How do I find those ornaments, patterns and motifs you might ask.

Normally it all starts with doodles. You know that kind of doodles you make on a piece of paper when you think about something. Eventually these doodles will develop into soft round ornaments all of their own. Voilà – that’s the birth of a nice little design.

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How filigree it can be depends on the wood and experience when a piece is going to break. And it depends on the fibres of the wood and in what direction they go. Normally if you work alongside the fibres you can narrow the ornament quite well but if you are working at a right angle to the fibre it can easily break.

I can assure you I am not using any mathematical formula for this – it’s just a feeling, trial and error.

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As usual the wood was sanded after the carving, then stained in my favourite colour, dark brown. After that I used a varnish with beeswax that helps to protect the surface from getting marks and stains and small scratches.

Also with additional protection you can use a moist cloth to clean off the plate without the fear of getting permanent stains. After the drying of the varnish the whole table was polished with pure beeswax. This results in a wonderful smooth and velvety surface. I love to touch this – it feels just magnificent. I can only recommend this procedure for any kind of wooden surface…

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2 Responses to “Chinese Chairs and a Coffee Table or what has Furniture to do with Art? (part 5)”


  1. Hi Petra. I love these! I am really impressed with the variety of materials you use to express your creativity! And I know what you mean about getting that “aha” moment in the middle of the night-I think when your brain quiets down, the answer can bubble to the surface without be interfered with by all the day’s distractions. Beautiful work!

  2. vyala Says:

    Hi Deborah – thank you for your lovely comment. My dear partner always makes jokes about me when I have one of those moments – LOL – at that moment I am totally “unavailable” and my glasses might end up in the fridge…


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