Lately we’ve been receiving deliveries from the artists whose objects will be shown in the soon-to-open exhibition (Sunday, October 16) SAN DIEGO’S CRAFT REVOLUTION. Last Monday, furniture artist Larry Hunter brought in the most original clock I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s all of wood with a mechanism that sits atop three beautifully finished, stylized cabriole legs. Above this are two horns that go back and forth ticking and tocking. Two small circles that appear to be wise eyes hang from the horns. The whole thing resembles, to me, a three-legged, owl-like creature looking constantly from left to right. The actual clock face is below the horns forming a very large mouth that perpetually says, “Who.” The clockworks, also of wood and open to view, show what’s going on inside its inquisitive head. The creature’s heart is a pendulum that gets lower and lower as the day goes by. When tightly wound, it is situated right behind the creature’s tiny, outstretched wings, so, to reinvigorate the clock creature daily, it is necessary to return the pendulum to this topmost position. A clever little lever pulls out just below the face (the one with the hours) to become a delightful, small crank that winds the pendulum back to where it began. This is a clock with personality.
For the past several years my grandson and I have been reading theLegacy Cycle. Its hero Eragon is a dragon-riding young man. Some of the furniture in the exhibition would be quite at home among the various populations that inhabit Eragon’s world. A desk attached to swivel chair (Larry Hunter) looks as if it may have grown as part of a tree just waiting to be revealed by removing the bark. I’m sure it would please the elves, elegant creatures that live in the forest in the saga. Another desk with pigeonholes and attached chair (Erik Gronborg) would serve the practical, subterranean-dwelling dwarves. This novel and useful piece of furniture would appeal to their down-to-earth aesthetic sense. After a day of dragon riding, a rocking chair (Tim Crowder) that balances on a crescent–shaped foot with arms that mirror the foot, and a low-slung leather seat would be an excellent place for Eragon to take his ease.
(My grandson is now 17. He and I have been reading these books since he was about ten. Supposedly the final book will be published soon. I hope that’s true, because I want to be able to discuss it with him before he’s too grown up to read such things.)
Besides reading young people’s books, I retain an appreciation for the cartoons of my youth, so it was especially rewarding to discover a pair of seats in the exhibition that might belong to Mr. and Mrs. George Jetson. Similar, but each exquisitely original, both are low. One, a pod-like fiberglass rocking chair, lined with tan sheep’s wool (Larry Hunter), relies not on a rocker but on its rounded base to cradle its inhabitant. It would be an ideal place for Astro to curl up. Another, a red-orange fiberglass chair, is an off-kilter X (Carl Ekstrom), composed of what appear to be two small, blunt-nosed surfboards. I can see Elroy or Judy at age one sitting on it while Rosie the household robot told a bedtime story.
In an early nod to adaptive reuse, there are two chairs fashioned from Budweiser beer cans by Douglas Deeds circa 1961. The lines of one remind me of Roman furniture as interpreted in Quo Vadis, the first movie I ever saw about ancient Rome. Petronius played by Leo Genn (I had a crush on him) would have sat nobly on the curvilinear bench. The other has a more Gothic feel to it, making it appropriate for the thirteenth century’s King Edward, played by Michael Rennie (another crush), in The Black Rose. It’s kind of an interesting juxtaposition – Old Rome, Olde England and Old Bud.
What an extraordinary wealth of imagination, innovation and artistry are already on display! And more wonderful objects arrive all the time.
- Hunter rocker & Ekstrom chair
Fiberglass rocking chair
- Gronborg desk and chair
Desk with built-in chair
- Crowder chair
- Deeds seats
Beer can chairs
- Hunter clock and desk
Desk with built in chair