Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Shaker Furniture

Before I show the results of my journal quilting yesterday, I want to talk a bit about the magazine article from which the design idea originated. The August 2007 issue of The Magazine Antiques featured a story covering "classic Shaker furniture design as it emerged in the early nineteenth century," noting that "...concepts of balance, pattern, and scale all contributed to each piece." This may sound dry, but the pictures of both Shaker furniture (such as the 1860 sewing desk above) and modern pieces influenced by classic Shaker design (such as the 1999 dining chest by Roy McMakin shown below) immediately captured my attention. Oh great, I thought, as if I don't have enough ideas already. But what I was seeing WAS giving me ideas, a new direction for my Grid series (see Grid #2 and Grid #3).

To be honest, after I finished the third in that series, I caught myself losing interest, in spite of the fact that I had not worked through all my original ideas. I was stuck in a rut already. What intrigued me about this furniture was the varying sizes and shapes of the drawers and doors within a single piece, and the asymmetry (such as the 1830 and 1840 washstands below). Seeing these examples unlocked something in my head, reminding me that grids are not always made up of squares and don't necessarily have to be symmetrical. Brilliant!

Of course, I also homed in on the very visible wood grain in some of the pieces, thinking how easily this could be rendered in thread. More on that when I reveal September's journal quilt.


margaret said...

Not that you need more ideas, but have a look at old Chinese furniture, especially the cupboards with their wonderful fastenings. Often there's a lot of "sashing" round the doors. And a certain something that gives the pieces a lot of presence.

Anonymous said...

nice read. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did any one hear that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.