Doing mostly restorations for 15 years, I tend to do the same chair patterns over and over (laced cane and rush being the most common, followed by pressed cane, Danish cord, Shaker tape, splint reed, bark). Maybe once every year or two, I decide to be creative and let all of the other work stuff go. This rocking chair is the result of taking a day to be creative, and yes, I did have a fair amount of work guilt for doing so. I’d always wanted to do a rawhide seat, we even ordered the material and it sat on a shelf for a couple of years. Not being confident working with leather, it was intimidating to do on my own. I didn’t want to waste the material. It wasn’t cheap. Plus, we pay overhead and 30% self-employment tax, so usually client chairs win over a day of creativity.
I met Barbara Walker one day as she was wandering around the museum and she showed me her amazing leather work and a special chair she wove using a djembe drum stitch to tie a leather panel to chair frame (like the back of the rocker). I had only seen rawhide, riempie, and leather strap chairs before (see future blog post).
A couple of years later, she moved to Black Mountain and we got to play together. This is the result. So yeah, take a day every two years and be creative…it’s worth it.
Here are a few other pictures from the gooey process: