We are a working-chair caning museum….What is that?
While we are primarily working artists and educators, we have assembled a diverse collection of woven chairs to show off the diversity of seat weaving. We don’t just have static exhibits, you get to see the weaving process. You can even try it out!
- Observe demonstrations of a variety of chair caning techniques on commissioned restoration projects and student project chairs.
- Take a self-guided tour of our chair wall which displays eight basic styles of chair caning. Read about the materials, history, and process of each.
- Enjoy rotating exhibits of historical chairs, chairs with unusual patterns or materials, and chairs by famous designers like Moller and Thonet. You never know what has arrived since your last visit!
- Play the chair stacking game, take a scavenger hunt, flip through a chair book, or just wander through…
Admission is FREE!
All restoration & class fees keep the chair museum free and open to the public. Chair nerd tshirts and stickers are for sale as fundraisers for the museum.
Our museum is kid and dog friendly.
- Donate your old chairs or chair books
- Share your photos on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, & Twitter
- Take a class
We have found that kids are really good at chair caning. We have a variety of chairs that kids can weave. Schedule your visit by calling 828-707-4553 or emailing SilverRiverChairs@gmail.com.
ANATOMY OF A LACED CANE CHAIR
The standard 6-way process of weaving a laced cane seat involves a pair of verticals, a pair of horizontals, and two directions of diagonal strands of rattan or cane. The seventh step (not always present on chairs) is the binder or beading, which is decorative and serves to cover the holes through which the cane is woven. See the particulars of each step in our entryway at Silver River.
ANATOMY OF A RUSH CHAIR
Created by master rush weaver David Klingler.
A progression of six chairs beginning with the bare bones and stepping through several way-points in the rush process. Both students and visitors are allowed an in-depth look inside a typical rush chair.
A STUDY IN PATTERNS
On Loan from MINDY KING August 2015-August 2016
Mindy King is a second generation chair caner, mentored by her father, Rev. Ben Edwards who has been practicing the art for over 46 years. She holds a BFA degree in Woodworking and Furniture Design from the School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology and has been working with wood since 1972. Her love of chair restoration began in high school when she repaired chairs and other fine furniture for an antique refinisher in Dublin, Ohio.
Contemporary Chairmakers Exhibit
While some may think of Chair Caning as a “lost art,” this display disproves that charming, shamefully under-examined theory. Rush woven chairs have been around for millennia and are still found in popular furniture catalogs and decor magazines. Caned furniture has gone in and out of style since its initial craze in 1680s Europe, to the Industrial Revolution, to the Mid-Century Design Boom of the 1950s & 1960s. Regardless of the materials. Woven furniture is always present.
Chairs are special for many reasons and they are notoriously difficult to design. Woven seats are comfortable, beautiful, and are preferred elements of design throughout the world today. These luxury chairmakers, classic chair makers, and contemporary design students prove that, in Western North Carolina, chair caning is a Thriving Art.
Chairs by Theron Ball and Julian Harris of The Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Program, Brian Boggs Chairmakers, and Woody’s Chair Shop.