The Soothing Sounds of Chris Williams


Chris Williams during his January 2020 visit to the Lost Art Press shop.

If you’ve met Chris Williams, then you know “soothing” is not the most likely adjective to describe him – typically I’d choose “hilarious,” “enthusiastic,” “skilled” … something that gets across his larger-than-life personality and absolute love for and mastery as a maker of the Welsh stick chair form.

But as I was working away alone in my basement shop, I was listening to Chris chat with Kyle Barton and Sean Wisniewski on the Modern Woodworkers Association podcast (episode #290), and it was just so nice to hear his voice again (and OK – his lilting Welsh accent), that I felt as if he was in the room with me … though he’d no doubt be appalled at the state of my basement shop – it is, as Chris would say, SHOCKING! And it was soothing too, for that hour and 15 minutes or so, to not feel quite so alone. (But don’t worry – I’m fine.)

Chris was on the podcast to talk about his new book, “Good Work: The Chairmaking Life of John Brown,” about Welsh stick chairs in general, and how his own view of chairmaking is very much determined by his place in the world (that is, a small, rural village in Wales). He expands (expounds?) on some of the information in the book, sharing more about his own woodworking background, and more on how John Brown changed the trajectory of his life. Chris also offers his thoughts on what makes a “good” Welsh stick chair, and how his own have evolved – along with my favorite quotation from John Brown on the subject: they are “a smidgen off ugly.” He also talks a bit about a new book he wants to write.

Give it a listen; it’s worth your while. The link here is to the Google podcast player, but the episode (Modern Woodworkers Association #290) is available just about anywhere you find your podcasts.

— Fitz


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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6 Responses to The Soothing Sounds of Chris Williams

  1. tsstahl says:

    Eh, I’ll pop on down to the pub to share a pint with you. Oh wait. No pub. No folks hanging out together. Better queue up episode 291 and get back to the bench. 🙂

  2. Sneed Hern says:

    The half-lap joints and the use of the two woods in the arm adds a beautiful design element and make an elegant transition from the darker seat to the lighter comb.

  3. Kyle Barton says:

    Thanks for the kind comments about our humble podcast. Chris was an amazing, delightful and informative guest; and next week’s episode features him answering our “5 Questions”.

  4. Alex Webster says:

    I listened to this today whilst working in the garden, the sun was shining and the dulcet tones of the three gentlemen helped the time fly by.
    I shall listen again when I get time in the work shop,
    .a huge thank you to you all.

  5. Milford Brown says:

    those who have listened to Christopher Schwarz introduce h9imself should notice that he does not include the “Germanic T” in the “Z” of his family name.

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