Sitting Mobile sold

This piece was recently sold.

I first posted about it here. I was thrilled that it sold and was happy to ship it out, but was also quite sad to see it go. I’ve had it for some time and had gone through what is a typical cycle for me of really being passionate about it when I first made it, then slowly becoming very critical of it to the point of apathy, and finally, as it becomes almost a fixture in my studio, finding a real appreciation for it. It was sold on my Etsy site.

This cycle of like – dislike – like is something I’ve learned to watch for. I try not to make any disastrous moves that I may come to regret during the dislike phase.

What I find interesting is that the qualities of a piece that I’ve made, that I was trying for when I made it in the first place are often not the the elements that I come to value at the end of this cycle. And this cycle is not continuous, it does end. It’s important to trust myself, that my initial instincts are often valuable.

Some pieces, however, I am lucky enough to not to go through this cycle with, and I just like what I did.

Designing a Chair

I often work with interior designers. Recently one that I’ve worked with for many years asked that I think about a design for a client that had  pretty specific requirements for a chair. The client recently having moved into a new condo had a walnut desk of Mid-Century vintage in her new bedroom that needed a chair. The new chair needed to have a look that would fit the design of the desk; it also had to fit the client so that she could sit comfortably at the desk, her stature being somewhat smaller than most chairs are designed for. The chair also had to slide in under the desk when not in use.

I visited the site and took this picture of the desk.

The interior designer remembered a chair that I had done for another client of her’s some time ago and thought that something similar might work in this case although the style would have to be changed to a Mid-Century Modern look.

This chair was designed to look like a Biedermeier chair for a bedroom set I had done in that style. I took this basic chair, changed the dimensions to the ones we had worked out with the client to get the seat height just right and created this first design.

You can see how I took the design detail of the pulls from the desk and put it in the back. Here is a drawing of the dimensions that I gave to the client along with several renderings like the one above.

The client didn’t think that this was what she was looking for so it was literally back to the drawing board for me. I realized that the client had the sense that the chair wasn’t sturdy enough and didn’t offer enough support. That led me to create this next design.

And below you can see the added lumbar support this design offered.

I also created this front view of the design…

…and a line drawing with dimensions.

The client said that this was perfect.

Here is the final product.

A word about the finish I used. Typically the walnut used in Mid Century Modern furniture made before the 1980’s had a lighter color than walnut available today. This is partly due to the interest in darker woods towards the end of the 20th century. It has also become much harder to find walnut logs of the size available before the 80’s with their wide expanses of heartwood. Consequently it became standard for sawyers to treat walnut with steam in the process of drying it. This darkened both the heartwood but also the lighter colored sapwood, giving them more sale-able wood.

I selected the wood for this chair by color and grain pattern. To achieve as light a finish as possible I devised a finish that used several coats of different shellacs top-coated with a mixture of linseed oil and spar varnish. The client said she was very pleased with the chair and finish.

Even More Stools

In addition to the stool shown in my last post I’ve also recently completed another variation of the theme inspired by the work of Wharton Esherick.

This stool’s seat is a free form aerodynamic-like slice of figured maple.

The two stools, the one with the walnut seat from my last post and this one make a very nice pair.

Again, clicking on an image should send you to my Etsy store where you can find out how to purchase one or both of these pieces.

More Stools

I recently noticed that A Wharton Esherick stool is being listed for sale at $8,500. Here’s a link to Modern One’s listing. I’ve posted in the past about being inspired by Wharton Esherick’s work. https://fillingham.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/inspired/  In that post I noted: “Wharton Eshericks stools command a lot of money these days. Live Auctioneers have one listed at an estimated price of $4,000 – $6,000 with the bids starting at $2,000. Architonic, Sotheby’s, and Rago list similar prices. The Museum of Arts and Design shows a very nice Esherick stool online as well.”It looks like prices for his work are going up.

Above is an image of a new stool I’ve recently completed. My hope is to work within the general theme established by Wharton Esherick while exploring some of my own ideas about shapes and forms and how they relate to each individual piece of wood being used. This stool is made from a beautiful piece of walnut from a crotch in the walnut tree as well as maple legs, turned on a lathe.

If you are interested in finding out how to purchase this stool just click one of the images and you should land on my Etsy page for this stool.

Salad Tongs (great wedding gift!)

Cherry Salad Tongs

I found the inspiration for these salad tongs while perusing old magazines. They are a perfect way to use pieces of cherry veneer that are too small for tables and cabinets. They are finished with a light coat of a food safe oil. All they need after tossing your salad is a gentle wipe with a damp cloth. Your salad oil will further enhance the finish. These are not dishwasher safe. Click on any of the images to go to my Etsy shop where it is easy to place an order.

Oh btw, a set would also make a very nice house warming gift.

Time for Art

Blue Clock #1. Available on Etsy.

Your new work is quite a departure from your furniture work. In a way it is. In another way it is kind of a bridge between furniture and art. After all clocks are functional household or office items.

Do these pieces function as clocks, do they keep time? Oh yes, absolutely. They have quartz clock movements. Here let’s post the second clock.

Green Clock #1. Available on Etsy.

In some ways these pieces could be considered sculptures couldn’t they? Yes, but I think of them as wall art.

So, to you they are primarily art despite their functional aspect? I think that the functional aspect is part of the art.

What is the message of these pieces? Is there a message? The pieces, at least these first two (I have ideas for more, but it may not be wise to discuss them until they are done), are expressing several things at once. One of things that is important to know about them is that they were inspired by a piece by Matisse. He re-worked “Bathers by a River” for seven years before he finished it. It is pretty easy to see the reference to that work in the green clock particularly.

I was struck with the way artists will work on a piece over a very long time. I myself have worked and re-worked pieces for years. So I thought, why not include the hands of a clock that actually work?

I am also thinking about art versus functionality. It seems that many people find that it is easier to trade some of their money for something that has a function that their friends and family will recognize as a “legitimate” function, in this case keeping time. Somehow people have a hard time recognizing the function of art itself. I mean, this is really a big topic and I just wanted to explore a little corner of it with this work.

Could these also be saying something about you turning back to making art? Yes, there is definitely a personal statement in them as well.

How big are these two pieces? They are each just under 12 inches wide by 11 inches tall.

You mentioned trading money for art, are these available for sale? Yes, I’ll be posting them in my etsy shop today as a matter of fact. Here’s a link: Etsy.Fillingham

Do you have any images of these clocks in a room setting? Yeah, that would be nice, unfortunately I don’t. However I did take a picture of them hanging on my studio wall. That is how I shot the above photos so this image is the setting for that shoot in case anyone is interested:

This studio view doesn’t look anything like your wood shop. This the other half of Fillingham Art Furniture Design. This is the more or less clean room where my office is and where I do most of my design work and art.

Well, thank you very much for your time. It was my pleasure, I always enjoy a nice conversation with myself.

A Deck Chair

Modern Patio Furniture

Deck Chair

Purchase on Etsy

Summer is here and I’ve been thinking about relaxing on my deck, simply watching the world go by. Why not create a really nice patio chair for doing just that? Something inspired by wooden boats,  something reminiscent of Mid Century Modern or Danish Modern design. Something that can take a little weather if it’s left out for the weekend. The more I thought about it the more I started noticing that there are an awful lot of smaller sized balconies attached to some really nice condo units that could use a couple of really nice patio chairs too. If you’ve found my other blog you may know that I’ve been watching the new condos, especially those along the rivers in Milwaukee, pretty closely. (The picture links to that blog if you’re curious.) So, I designed this chair. It’s a little smaller than a lot of outdoor chairs out there so that a couple of them will easily fit on a condo balcony, yet it is very comfortable for even big guys like me.by Todd Fillingham I made the first two out of walnut, which turns out to be very durable wood for outdoor use (used in boat building worldwide), northern white cedar (another boat wood) and stainless steel. The back is easily removed (no tools needed) for shipping and storage . I finished the chair with my own mix of oils and spar varnish.  This is an easy chair, made for sitting back and relaxing, part of what I call my summer stress relief system.  Set it out and sit back. by Todd Fillingham

by Todd Fillingham

by Todd Fillingham Where can you get these? Two are now available on my Etsy site where it is very easy to order online.   I’ll deliver them  in the metro Milwaukee area with no shipping charge. Enjoy the summer!

By the way, I will be recommending on my Etsy site that these chairs be used in a protected outdoor setting however you can leave these chairs out in the weather all summer if you want. The finish may fade some. If it fades too much it can easily be restored, or better yet the chair can simply weather to a beautiful, stylish gray, it will still be just as comfortable. All metal parts are stainless steel so they won’t rust and the woods are highly resistant to rot.

Please feel free to leave a comment here to contact me. Or, if you would prefer you are welcome to use my alternate email address which is tfilling@execpc.com . I am also available on twitter as @toddfi .

buy now

Update: I’ve been asked for the dimensions of this chair. Here they are:

deck chair by Todd Fillingham all rights reserved