I have had a chair in my mind for quite some time, in fact, for a very long time. In my minds eye I have seen every detail, every curve – in my quiet moments I have made it many times, and many times I have consigned it to the fires of the Bright Carvers; it is never what I hoped it would be.
So, now the commissions are finished, and I can attempt to satisfy My Muse, instead of that of another, I set to work – I want to make the mental physical, to create for the sake of creation, to satisfy desire, and pay homage to The Muse. If I fail I will gladly light a fire and consign my shame to the flames, with no remorse, no thought for the wasted effort or the beauty of the wood being consumed.
However, to soften the blow, if I failed, I told myself that this was simply a practice piece – a rough and ready mock up of the final piece I hope one day to create. So, having released myself from the pressure, I went for a walk.
When I returned with my bounty I set to work. First, in a complete reversal of my usual process, I needed to create the seat for the chair. I had a lovely piece of beech that I had discarded during a previous futile attempt to release the mental into the physical, which would fit the bill perfectly. I did some rough shaping:
A little sanding, some softening of the edges, a little refinement, and then I set it to one side. Next I set to work on the legs of the chair. This was not as easy as I hoped, as, not being a wizz at mathematics, I made numerous blunders in my calculation of angles, lengths and combinations of the two. However, with a little persistence, and a lot of luck, I went from this…..
….and, finally, this….
……I had a lot of help from the Ladies…..
Once I was happy with the legs, I marked out where they were to go, carefully drilled the mortises and fitted them into place. I will admit that there was a little ‘adjusting’ to do, which involved a little ripe language, mainly directed at myself for not paying greater attention in Mr Parry’s maths class. But, eventually, I got to the point where I could fit the wedges to the tenons – most important, as it makes the tenons fit tightly, and stops the legs from falling off the chair…….
Then, after a little careful sawing, and some sanding, I had this…..
I worked on, tutting at my mistakes, and shaking my head as I visualised the flames lighting the evening sky. Still feint heart n’er won a fair maiden, so I persisted until I ended up here…..
The beauty of the beech is captivating…….
Already, as I type, the wood is drying, the colour changing, and the beautiful texture accentuating, until it resembles rivers seen from great heights, as they carve the land in search of their destiny.
I have been reassessing, thinking, and dwelling, in recent months, wondering what I am doing, where I am going with my work, needing change, fearing change, graving change. Here I have complete change, and utter simplicity, a return to the very basics – a free form chair. Not my usual work, and by no means the physical embodiment of what I have in my minds eye, but, I am really rather taken with this chair – the more I look at it, touch it, and think about it, the more I like it; in fact, I adore it….nearly as much as my Willow Chair. I still have lots of sanding and waxing to do…..I may even yet consign it to the flames and start again, taking greater care, making more refinements, perfecting the shaping, sanding the seat to a mirror finish…..and, when I do…..
…..The Lady will sit upon her chair, adorning her soft moon-lit skin with subtle perfumes, as she contemplates the night to come…….