Furniture as sketch?

Furniture as sketch?

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Can a piece of furniture be a sketch? Or more specifically, can it have the immediacy and energy of a sketch? That’s what’s been on my mind. Sometimes I get frustrated by the precision of “fine furniture”… it seems so accurate and so flat. Where’s the life in it? I want to shout at it. To shake it. to get some reaction… not just perfect precision. We makers go on about how we are working with a living material, and yet often we turn out inert furniture.

Sketch an idea for a piece and it has vitality and energy. So can I keep that life in the piece all the way through the making process?

When I made 2 pieces for the big bespoke furniture show at Cheltenham (14-23 Aug 2010) the pieces were based on photos and watercolours of Alaskan landscapes and I’ve tried to keep as much life in them as I can. I’ve sketched shapes directly onto the wood (rather than on paper and then transfering them), and I’ve tried to act with the sponteneity of a pencil or brush stroke… but it’s hard. A sketch can be binned or redrawn, but a saw cut has a certain finality about it! If the wood has already been selected, worked, planed etc, if the cost of the materials or the irreplaceability of a component are in mind, if the deadline approaches… all these things seem to work against sponteneity. And even if the cut itself has life… can you keep that through all the “finishing” processes?

I don’t know…. someone tell me what they think. Has anyone achieved this? What is at the heart of this issue? Shed light, anyone who can.

Thanks, GS

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