I haven’t abandoned my “Furniture of Necessity” book. Suzanne “the Saucy Indexer” Ellison, simply won’t allow it.
While my days are spent in teak and mahogany making campaign furniture, Suzanne has been feeding me a steady diet of vernacular forms that I browse late at night when I’m too pooped to work in the shop.
Her latest missive is an exhibition book from 1982 for an exhibit titled “Common Furniture” at the Stable Court Exhibition Galleries. The book is a gold mine.
My favorite piece – one I should build for the book – is a Welsh stick chair that I haven’t seen before. I fell hard for Welsh stick chairs thanks to the late John Brown. This particular example isn’t in his book, though some similar chairs are.
From the exhibition book:
Welsh, probably 18th century, second half, Ht. 32 in.
Hewn elm seat, whittled ash legs and splats, the armbow cut from a naturally curved elm branch. The seat and upper frame betray traces of three paint layers – red, light and dark green. At one time there were two (or possibly 3) rear legs. Rugged chairs of this type are commonly found in Wales, the Isle of Man, Scotland and Ireland (where they are today quaintly called ‘famine’ chairs) and could fairly be described as a native ‘Celtic’ pattern. No documented or dated examples are known and they probably developed independently of the Windsor chair tradition, being produced well into the 19th century. This one was acquired in the Cwm Tudu area of Cardiganshire.
Lent by Crispin.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. The title of this post is the name of a great song by Rhett Miller, the lead singer of the Old 97s.