Sunday, December 7, 2008

Furniture as Art

". . .to focus on and improve the art and craft of furniture-making in Texas." This was the expressed purpose of the 9th Annual Texas Furniture Makers Show held in Kerrville the past week.

My eighth grade shop class with Mr. Bidner has been influential in teaching me how to build a corner shelf and a magazine rack (class), a seven-piece sectional sofa (that Kate and I upholstered in the early 70's), and a bucket bench and two quilt racks (in the 90's), AND in helping me develop a great appreciation for the skill of a woodworker.

The Furniture Makers Show provided an opportunity to marvel at the work of artists who can take pieces of wood and create true works of art that also have functional value. This ferris wheel, the work of a team, served as an introduction to the 65 hand-crafted furniture pieces in the show. The detailed lathe work on the spokes of the wheel was beautiful. The wheel would periodically spin for a minute or two throughout the time the museum was open.

I hope that this angle shows the form that earned this work the title: the "M" Entry Table built by Michael Weneck of Houston. He used walnut and curly maple.

This Sway Dresser/Semanier was modeled after an 18th century dresser. Its seven drawers contained a lady's undergarments--one set for each day of the week. The dresser was made from machiche and had leather pads lining the bottom of the drawers.

The Best of Show work was the Bamboo Bench by Phillip Sell from Wimberley. It was made of carmelized bamboo and constructed using the Japanese joinery technique. There was no metal in the finished product.

I spent several minutes looking at the bench from different angles to determine how the "lattice-work" on the top was produced. The precision that went into the construction was awesome.

This unique display case was the work of Cappy White of Austin. It was made of mesquite and southern yellow pine.

In the borders of the display case were pieces of Dakota sandstone and Austin limestone. It received Honorable Mention and was selling for $14,500.

Gerry Morrell's Nanny Rocker won the "Woodcraft People's Choice Award." It was made of black walnut.

We thought this was a really creative, and very functional, article of furniture. It was selling for $7500.

This Longleaf Pine Table, built by Jim Wallace, Cedar Park, from resawn longleaf pine, has veneer strips radiating from a nautical sun (made of ebony and longleaf pine). The sun/star was offset in order to give the appearance of a flag waving. The pattern is the same underneath the table.

Wallace was awarded the Judges’ Special Award for this table.

Does any image come to mind as you view this chair?
It was identified as the Cowboy Drinking Stool. The artist said the chair was designed to resemble the hat of cowboy film star Tom Mix. The seat has the upturned edges like the brim of a cowboy's hat and the seat back resembles the extended center part of the true "ten gallon" hat. Maybe you have to know who Tom Mix was.

Note also the bowed legs of the chair. So you have the hat and the legs of the cowboy.

This was selling for $2470.

If you look at the number of hours to build the pieces on display and the selling price, the hourly rate is relatively low. For example, an armoire selling for $9500 required 600 hours to build.

But they're absolutely beautiful works of art.

No comments: