Thursday, August 27, 2009

Looking Back: REALLY Big Chairs!

In 2001 I had the great fun of creating two whimsical wood constructions for "Chairs on Parade" in Charlotte, NC. Over 100 giant rocking chairs were furnished to area artists to play with, and were then displayed all over town. Here you can see my first one being delivered by "The Two Mikes". It caused quite a stir in the neighborhood, since it sat on the front porch for six weeks while I worked on it.

The first of my designs that was chosen was "Afternoon in the Matisse Chair". I loved the artist's playful forms and bright colors, and decorated the chair accordingly. I thought it would be fun to add all the comforts of home, so side racks were attached for "snacks" and entertainment, still keeping the Matisse touch. Making wooden "cushions" was a challenge, but it all worked out.

Below is the "entertainment center", with a faux book of Matisse cutouts, scissors, paper and pencil, and a bird-watching book. I added wooden binoculors too, to go with the book!

Next is the "snack rack", full of my favorite munchies: chocolate bar, corn chips, peanut butter crackers, sunflower seeds, and gummy candy.

Here's another view of the food, plus wooden cutouts that I glued to the bottom cushion, thinking it might keep people out of the chair. Boy was I wrong!

Being a true Southerner, I had to include a glass of iced tea for porch sittin' pleasure. That was probably the hardest object to do, because it was painted in the round. Easy to find models, though.

The finished chair, complete with a fan and a fly swat! I had a lot of fun making them, especially the swat. Unfortunately it was broken while on exhibit, but at least the fan stayed intact.

When the Matisse chair was finished, another of my designs was sponsored, so I got the great pleasure of creating a real fantasy chair, with giant butterfly wings that really moved (put 'em on with piano hinges)! I was quite proud of the engineering - used lawn mower springs and door stops to limit the movement so the wings wouldn't pop the hinges in a breeze. The antennae bobbed, too. I think the guys bent one of them when they put it on the truck.

This was one chair just made for sitting! That's me in the chair - didn't want to let that one go.