A project utilising local skills, pride & passion. By Jeremy Walton. (Københavns Møbelsnedkeri & Mai-Britt Eschen) 2010
Made with Corian, Wool, Old Woollen Jumpers, Pride & Passion. As part the SE 2010 WHITE OUT exhibition.
I’ll cover the longer story behind the chair below, the most important thing about the project for me, was asking if the pride and passion of the local needle felting artisan can be utilised in the process of furniture making? Can local hobby artists be utilised by larger industry? The result of the project is a time consuming Zen like process of drilling holes and then pulling loops of wool through them, followed by the freedom to sculpt wool.
The longer story.
It may need explaining that the original title of the SE exhibition, when the brief first came out, was DANISH NOW – WHITE OUT. For graphic simplicity the exhibition title was cropped to WHITE OUT.
The overall form of the ‘We Love Freedom’ chair is a combination of perfect milking stool and honest big beautiful butt. This was some deeper elaborated personal reflection about my own view of Scandinavia. After 14+ years I am pretty much resigned to being DANISH NOW.
The milking stool reflects my original, probably naive, typecast and limited image of Scandinavia, based on beautiful milkmaids, perfection, naturists and an energetic freedom of running through long grass. (I’ve since learnt Denmark is not part of Switzerland and milk stools are in fact much lower to the ground, to enable one to get under the cow and milk it).
The felted arse part of the stool is a reflection of knowing better. The exhibition WHITEOUT rules, (under the guise of being a theme), lead me to thinking along the lines of ‘the Danes relaxed attitude to exposing their white bits’.
So that all make sense now, yes?
The looping process involves taking pleasure in drilling holes. A loop of wool is pulled through the hole; this is enough to keep it in place. Anyone is welcome to use the Looping technique as a folk art technique. One day I’ll get around to illustrating Looping as a folk art technique, but until then, get in touch and I will be happy to talk you through some tips. I have some projects in mind.
It is a simple, yet time consuming pleasure. I like to think that the process could be passed on from generation to generation with each generation felting their old woollen jumpers into the chair. It is basically a simple upholstery process that anyone can quite easily and affordably get involved with.
For more practical use, the looping process is better reversed, so the loops are on the outside and the layered area, that can be replenished and patched, is used to sit on as padding.
I was lucky, in that it turned out that Københavns Møbelsnedkeri had contacts in their families that are fans of needle felting, not only on their door step, but living with them. So they put us in touch with Mai-Britt Eschen. She had never done anything quite as big as this before, but we got some advice from Denmark’s professional needle felt artisans and we worked things out.
The brief for the Butt was to make a big beautiful butt, it is meant to be a well formed arse that is scaled up a little. Like a big stone sculptural arse. We could have used a slightly cheaper wool in building up the form, had we know at the time. We did however use old jumpers to help build up the form. Plus we used the old jumpers and some black wool to give the Butt a slight texture. It is also soaped, which all helps to prevent it from looking like a big teddy bear butt.
For developing commercial designs involving free forming and felt looping please also get in touch. Even better if it will utilise local passion and improve the enjoyment of furniture production.