The thumbnail sketch is a place of great inspiration to me because it suggests without suggesting too much, allowing the imagination to fill in the corners. It develops like a bit of wildness in the garden and ferments like a full-bodied wine. It also lets me dip into the cultural resources of the past and make those worlds present, alive and my own.
What I thought was to be a fairly simple, personalized version of a Finn Juhl Klismos Chair was none of the above: not a Klismos, a Finn Juhl, or simple. In fact it was not a version of anything I have a name for. Funny how the cultural mind works while you`re sketching at the kitchen table or doodling on a piece of wood in the shop during a break. Later, as I explored my design books and navigated through Google images, I couldn`t find the correct historic references for these sketches, yet I feel sure they exist. Eventually I abandoned my search, realizing I should leave furniture history to the decorative arts experts. History wouldn`t change the chair I wanted to build.
I`m sure many chair designers have visited these chair forms before but now I, too, have a sense of ownership. This possession is earned by building the chair, by resolving the construction problems and material issues (will wood allow this severe of a curve in the leg? Will fluted pins cross tie the run-out grain?) and by me being open to veering toward any number of alternative aesthetic choices.
As a work in progress, this chair design suggests possibilities while at the same time it represents a solution.