Blanket Chest Retrospective - Inspiration Part#1

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Blog entry by CloneZero posted 10-16-2008 11:16 PM 915 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

So I do three types of furniture projects; Practical, Restore, or Inspired. All have their pros & cons, these projects have 3 main parameters; Quality, Speed, and/or Cost. Now pick two you can have the other will suffer. Practical project is to build something that meets a needed usually now; a book shelf, a peer, sun shower, a shelf, radiator cover, etc. Usually speed & cost ware what I choose, and quality would suffer, but I usually over engineer the thing, so it is more bulky and there are mistakes. Restoration projects I usually only focus on quality and cost, then just speed suffers. Inspired pieces are different; they are things like roll top desks, dinning room tables, replicas, or blanket chests. In this case speed is dropped and Style is substituted, I’m a hobbies. I have to control costs and not make to many mistakes. Quality has to be “perfect”, you know only I know the mistakes and hide them so only experts can find them. Style is the hardest so I try to get my inspiration from master pieces and use some design rules I have picked up.

As mentioned in the Project note for the “Blanket Chest – Retrospective”: it was inspired by two things; the collections at the MFA of American Colonial Furniture Collection & a bench-chest my mother inherited from our German relatives. The bench-chest is definitely European Arts & Crafts.

IDEA #1: The basic idea was to build a blanket chest with a top that opened and had at least one drawer at the bottom.

Here how my brain worked for inspired pieces; I go get lots of data usually in the form of pictures, and I read a lot. The Internet is great for doing research. Blog are fairly new and actually when I went into planning for this project they were hard to find, Google didn’t even have a separate search category for them. Began by collecting pictures from the MFA website (their collection is/was mostly in storage because of a remodel & expansion), EBay daily searches, antique store websites (US & UK), plus some folks that had project descriptions on personal websites (called Blogs).

I could never have stored, organized, and printed all the images without Picasa v1.1, this is now owned by Google. Software is a tool too.

How to search for things on the web? Or, filling my head with to many ideas.

  1. The MFA website is simple to search, just go to the MFA website, navigate to the “Collections” page, select Advanced Search, and then you just need to fill in two fields to start. Select “Furniture” under the Classification, and in this ca “blanket chest” in the Object Name/Title, then hit Search button. This was rather disappointing because only 3 Shaker chest came up, and I knew the “Pease” chest should come up. Searches are always tricky, because you got to get the search keywords right. So I just looked for chest and that brought back 116 results. Much better, I bored you with this because you need to get a range of search words together and valid combination, for later searches. Any way that is how I found my main inspiration the “Mary Pease Chest with drawers” and about 3 others, that follows.

Mary Pease Chest with drawers, circa 1714

Joined chest with drawers, circa 1660–85

MORE to come…

1 comment so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3710 days

#1 posted 10-25-2008 02:47 PM

I wish you success on search. Sounds like you have some pretty good ideas.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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