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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The Ice Cream Chair

I thought I would start off my blogging year by telling you the story of "The Ice Cream Chair", so called because it was painted in gelato type colours. The chair is significant because it marked the beginning of my Craft & Design Career.

Turn back the clock to 2002 and you will find me working as an secretary for a major mining engineering company in Toronto, Canada. In those days, like many of you now, I had time to pursue crafts just for fun. Thus, I had enrolled in a weekly woodworking class and we all made a Muskoka Chair (or Adirondack if you're not Canadian).

"The Ice Cream Chair" was my version and you are right in thinking that it is much narrower than the norm. This was not intentional but rather the result of many mistakes and the horizontal slats had to be evenly cut shorter. However, I can assure you that the chair is still very comfortable.

By 2003, things were not going well at the company I was working at and staff was laid off. I found it depressing working in a department that had the life sucked out of it. I really wanted to leave and go back to school.

Fortunately, I had a very supportive partner and so it was decided that I would apply to study Craft & Design and major in woodworking/furniture design. After all, I had my spectacular chair for my portfolio along with other smaller projects.

I was accepted into the wonderful crafts program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.
There are 4 working studios in the school being Ceramics, Glass, Woodworking and Fabrics and the wise leaders insist that you choose 2 of the 4 to study for the first semester (of a 3 year course). I chose woodworking and fabrics.

After the first semester, we had to major in just one of the 4 crafts. I was encouraged to continue in the Textiles Studio because apparently, an 1/8 inch does actually matter in woodworking and everything I made was always a little wobbly and imperfect. Desireable perhaps in hand-made fabrics but not so much for furniture. Besides, I was always a little intimidated by the table saw and had visions of Batman being tied to it. So there you have it.

I am back to work today and have new fabric screens to try out and colours to test. I am hoping to find time on the weekends to finish some furniture makeovers at home including painting the Ice Cream Chair white. I find that my taste really changes as time goes on. Does yours? Is it a sign of maturity?


Anabel Fournier said...

Happy New Year!!!! Hope 2011 comes filled with health, love, peace and work for you and your family!
Love the Adirondack chair story :-)

Megan said...

Thea that chair is gorgeous! I admire anyone who can make furniture (male or female)

{ Vintage by LOU LOU } said...

Hehe I love this story about the chair, made me smile :) In a way you found textiles because of it x

feedthedog said...

I cannot believe you made that chair!
It's sensational. What other talents have you been hiding? I am truly impressed.

Anna Bartlett said...

Great story - and yes, my taste has changed too! There is so much in my house that I would change, but a lot of things that I would do my husband would object to... so I've decided that this year I'll take little, possibly secret, baby steps towards the goal... ha!

brismod said...

That chair is very symbolic then. Yes, tastes do change. I like to say I'm more evolved now! xx

Emjie said...

I think the chair looks great.
I do find my taste in colours do change over the years. For a part of last year I was loving blue/yellow combinations because I was into Vincent Van Gogh. I think this year it is all about the colour red.

Karen said...

What a fantastic story and it all started with a chair...

Hmm, I wonder what my 'chair' is?
I love it's ice cream colours, maybe when you paint it white you could add a cushion (screen printed by you) with all those colours. :)

Tracey said...

I love your chair ... but more than that, I really loved reading your store of its history and how you began your crafting career ... that's fantastic!! :)

I can definitely see how my taste has changed over the years ... I'm hoping it's just a sign of growing up and not growing old! ;)

gaby@stilelemente said...

Happy New Year Thea :) Making something by hand gives you a great sense of accomplishment, well done with the chair and I know what you mean about tastes changing, there are things I used to loathe when I was younger that I now love, total about-face, I would definitely put it down to maturity and perhaps even just broadening horizons. I think the chair will look divine in white, happy painting.

NessaKnits said...

I think you should leave the icecream chair those colours. I think it would be perfect for eating banana paddlepops in, dressed in white linen. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I agree Thea, my taste has changed quite dramatically in the last couple of years. That chair is just adorable. I can't wait to see your new fabric designs too!
Megs x

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