|Project by greensound||posted 10-22-2014 05:17 PM||2443 views||10 times favorited||19 comments|
Songwriters sing about what they know. Authors expound on their personal experiences in how they write. An actor draws on felt emotions to allow that to lead their performance. Why shouldn’t a furniture maker do the same?
In college I was tasked with making a bench for a semester project. Now obviously a bench is a fairly straightforward article with little to no moving parts, certain requirements for stability and the need to facilitate the resting place for two or more people (only one person and it would be called a stool). This project with its requirements of scale and function are not merely enough to dictate the form nor the materials. I needed more…I needed to look inside for a moment. What was I doing at the time? What was I interested in? What could I say about myself in the construction of this piece that would tell people about me?
Mountain biking? At the time I was crazy for it. Admittedly, central Indiana is not known for its off-road trails, but I loved the activity and did it as much as I could in my minimal free time. While working on my bike one weekend I was struck with the idea of using the inner tubes for the wheels as a surface for my bench. Interestingly that decision led to describing the rest of the piece. The dimensions of the bench had to coincide with the limitations of the inner tubes. The leather-ish look of the rubber influenced the shape of the end forms. Even the decision to paint the wood (in this case maple) brown and then color it with colored pencil would be an allegory to riding the muddy trails.
All in all it has become one of my favorite pieces and one I will just sit at for no other reason than to take a load off and reflect. Sometimes I just reflect on the trails I used to ride. Sometimes I think about the fun I had in building the bench. Mostly I dwell on the fact that inner tubes always smell like inner tubes. Man, that smell never goes away!