It’s no secret that Brendan Gaffney and I are obsessed with the life and work of Chester Cornett, a traditional Eastern Kentucky chairmaker who pushed into the world of art with his later chairs he built mostly in Cincinnati.
While Brendan and I have been studying his chairs for some time, we both have developed an odd affection for the hand-painted sign Chester had outside his workshop. The sign is made of bits of thin sheet metal that have been screwed or riveted together. The letters are orange (Brendan found a color photo that has the sign in the background).
If you don’t speak Kentucky, here’s what the sign says:
Maker Of The
We Make Anything
Or It Can’t Be Made
I love the misspellings. “Funiture?” “Chaires?” “Iney Thin?”
Brendan and I have been plotting to make a sign like this for our shop. Today we made a prototype using hardboard, grey primer and orange paint from the home center. After studying photos of the sign, I decided the letters were 5” high and determined the width and height of the sign based on that.
We bought an inexpensive stencil set and stencil brushes from the home center. Then we went to work. The entire project took about an hour.
We’ll hang this sign in storefront’s library. And now I’m going to find some used sheet metal so we can make the real thing. The metal sign will hang in the garden where it will age with the help of the elements.
This is one of the benefits of being unemployed.
— Christopher Schwarz