|Project by Phil Brown||posted 04-28-2007 04:50 PM||1127 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
I dug these out of my early projects album, two custom made nightstands for a wonderfully eccentric artist couple.
It was intimidating working for these folks in my early days. They were picky and focused and knew exactly what they wanted.
The upper floor of their house had a central studio with skylights bringing in the natural light with separate bedrooms at opposite ends of the studio so as not to disturb each other during creative periods.
I did a lot of custom renovations in their home and they ordered night stands for the lady’s bedroom, not as blocky as furniture they were looking at in retail venues.
These came right out of my head. Being in the moving industry I knew rough dimensions by eye and slimmed them down a tad to hopefully create a more feminine profile.
These folks were hard to please, in a good way, and it stretched me, helped me gain confidence in my work and as I handled peoples personal possessions daily, already had the ability to communicate with my customers, thankfully.
The photo of the two pieces together was taken in my first shop which I lost in a horrific life change. Came home one day, and everybody and everything was gone. It took years to recover.
I lived out of a suitcase for a number of years, and one year these folks asked me to look after their house while they took the winter off down south. As most of my daily work was not on the highway at the time I accepted and lived in this glorious mansion for six months surrounded by all their wonderful art hanging on every wall. I used to sit at his studio desk and read from his extensive library.
Now, I have a confession to make. He did get under my skin a little too deep on one occassion and I just had to take him up on his “attitude”. I felt a little down trodden about my abilities which he seemed to communicate weren’t up to his standards possibly, and there was hesitancy on his part which I understood. The way he communicated was from his own level of expertise, forgetting what it was like to be an amateur, which has been a lesson to me and I am thankful now for his way of coming across, the same as my other young professional artist friend who sends the amateurs to me to critique their work because I can go back and think on their level and help them get to the next level without brow beating.
There it is. I felt brow beaten as he examined my work. So, here’s what I did. No I didn’t hurt anyone. Coming from the moving industry and fixing my own claims, I had various scratch and dent fixer-upper markers and such. I took the tiniest scratch fixer marker and physically drew a pine knot on the upper right corner of one of the nightstands before I sprayed the clearcoat and delivered the pieces.
They were delighted with them after he went over the furniture with a fine tooth comb. Imagine a finely dressed “English gentleman” in his tudor mansion looking down his nose through his spectacles at me, boring holes in my every ability. It was a good thing. I was able to withstand the scrutiny and gain his confidence and was given other commissions and the invitation to look after their home which I enjoyed immensely.
I snapped the photo of the single nightstand during my house sitting period. The joints and finish, and the faux knot were all in fine shape and that felt good. Fifteen years later I hear he’s been asking for me through mutual friends. His wife is in a nursing home now. I think I’ll go into the city early, next week, and visit him before I go trucking
The nightstands were made from pine finished in dark walnut and spray lacquer.
-- Phil Brown, Ontario