Monday, August 26, 2013

Mondrian Inspiration!

Buy now seats 8 comfortably, 41" wide, 85 3/4" long 29" high.
Made from re-purposed fir floor beams, Jatoba, American Cherry, Walnut and Quarter-sawn fir.

A good friend recently told me that when she worked in an Art Museum she met a collector who said that he really wanted to collect art so he created one by NEVER GOING OUT TO EAT. Never. All that money he saved and spent on ART. Well, this table is perfect for someone like him. And I would think he would be very happy to use a part of his collection!

This is not just any dining room table! This is a piece of art waiting to inspire you each day. I'm not sure how the idea began but I was starting to mill some fir beams that I had removed from my house thinking I would make a workbench. I assumed they would be similar to the 4 x 4's that we buy today with wide grain. As I began milling and inspecting each one I soon realized that I had enough fine wood to make an interesting table. Then somehow, perhaps inspired by the CVG (clear vertical grain fir) I was reminded of Piet Mondrian, the Dutch painter. I remembered studying his work in art history class at Cooper Union and not only loving it but really 'getting' it.

I have been working with inlay for years now and I wanted to do something with this table using other woods for accent and interest. I love how the American Cherry compliments the Douglas Fir and how the Walnut shines with both. It's difficult to see in digital photography but the Walnut has beautiful deep brown veins and lighter rich brown tones.

I began by deciding the size and construction of my table and then studying Piet Mondrians' work. He was so obsessed with the division and simplification of things he even began doing this three dimensionally in his own home. To sum up his vision:

     "Mondrian chose to distill his representations of the world to their basic vertical and horizontal elements, which  represented the two essential opposing forces: the positive and the negative, the dynamic and the static, the masculine and the feminine. The dynamic balance of his compositions reflect what he saw as the universal balance of these forces." - click here to read more

I had a vision of my own and it began with this google sketch-up drawing:

I quickly realized that deciding the inlay ahead of time (in my drawing above) was not possible. I respond to the wood that I am looking at - each piece being a different shape and color will effect the final outlay of the design and I ended up doing exactly what Mondrian was doing by selectively eliminating. Soon enough I fell into a mode of working that helped me find the right balance for the piece. It is quite a rewarding and puzzling process that occurs. As artists we don't really know what that intangible, indescribable sense is that we pay attention to; that voice that we hear and others might not notice. That sense that says "move it over 1/8, ahhh, yes that is much better, now that corner isn't working," And we go around and around until it feels right. If we dare and if we are lucky, we show someone and ask their opinion. This is quite risky. They may want you to move one stick which threatens the entire piece. What I tell myself is "I like it, I may have a question about one ore two areas, but mainly I feel settled or rested when I look at it".  I take in their observation and use that information to assess my choices. If enough people give me the same feedback I will go back and reevaluate the design or move on. This stage of the design process is one of the most interesting for me:
  •    The entire thing can change when you adjust just one line. 
  •    It's fun to watch peoples reactions to a new creation. 
  •    Staying fluid and open to change is critical. 
  •    Ignoring the voices that say you can't do this is essential. 
  •    Finally, at some point, you have to commit and move forward with the creating and its exciting to think I might be that close to finishing.

As my colleague Charly Swing writes:

"Handsome and playfully puzzling. A beautiful creation."  

other quotes from fellow woodworkers:

"Very cool design through out, found the different design on each side including the legs was very unique/intriguing. Thanks for sharing and sure that the table will see many lifetimes of enjoyment."-- Dan

"Amazingly beautiful. Some projects just leave me searching for a better way to say it. I’m at a loss.
"Added to favorites list. Really cool design. It has a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window feel to it.
This table is astoundingly gorgeous. Perfection."   BH

.....can’t stop looking at it." --Mark
"I want it" -- Just about everyone who sees this table in person!

I have won prizes for my designs, drawings and furniture starting at Cooper Union and currently in the fine furniture world. In recent  years I have been focusing solely on furniture building as a way to express my artistic voice through a practical and usable medium.  See my work here: Perfect45Degree and more process photos here: my Flickr page

Buy now on Esty

Little Flame

Little Flame
Prize winner in the NWFW 30th Annual Box Show! SOLD