sketch/proposal for the Expedition Cabinet
I have nothing against Fine Furniture, except that I typically favor the opposite. Give me a scavenged roadside pie safe over a Biedermeier sideboard any day. It’s not that I’m into ‘outsider art’ per se, or even collecting antiques, or that I find comfort in reverse snobbery. It’s just that I prefer when things are made with a kind of looseness, without compromising overall quality or durability. I love when a design allows for the inevitable nicks and grime of daily use as opposed to living in fear of the same. I guess I just don’t like fussing over details and appreciate when my living arrangement agrees. More important, I find that when the design and making of a piece of furniture is approached with an analogous philosophy of living, it translates.
This is my dilemma as I set out to make a series of Expedition Cabinets for exhibition and speculation. I resist the temptation to elevate my concept to the realm of contemporary art, mostly because I currently lack the venue. Consequently, I’m torn between developing a product that is accessible in a roadside, vernacular way, versus one that is a kind of physical record of the performance of its making and use. Formally, the end result will be about the same, but the price points may be inversely related. I’d rather make furniture that looks just fine, as opposed to making ‘fine furniture’.
Regardless, I plan to continue to develop the concept by eye, which is how I made the sketch above, unaided by measuring tools or straight-edges. I will use hand tools as much as possible and have the unit’s proportions and detailing be obviated by the constraints of time and material, in sync with the overall goal of finding delight in its making and use.