Sacked by the "downturn", an unemployed architect touring the country in a bus...

I used to live in New York City. I designed homes for the tycoons of Wall Street; Park Avenue, Scarsdale, Greenwich. It was great fun. And, after years of saving up for a down payment, I was just about to buy my own little place in Fleetwood, half an hour north of the city, when the economy fell apart. Architects are like canaries in a coal mine when the economy slows, and true to form, there were massive layoffs in firms all over the country. Devastation of the profession. So, I decided to try to find something else to do for a while. I bought a 23' school bus and I'm on the road to see if I can figure out what that might be.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chair Progress 2

Click here for a Flickr slide show of the work in the new shop here in Oakland.  I made a lot of progress on the chair mock up this week.  I rebuilt the seat armature twice more since the first try from Jerome, each time getting the angles more accurate.   The joints are looking pretty tight, now, and the only way I knew to achieve that was by honing in on successive tries. 

Where I can, I am taking some liberties with the mock up for expedience, for example the finished chair will not have the screws used in the mock up.  Also, the stringers under the seat will have arched bottoms, the seat itself will have rounded edges, and so forth. 

I tried sculpting one sample leg.  I'm undecided how much contouring I will finally do; I may just shape the backs of the legs and keep the surfaces facing outwards crisp. 

I'd hoped to finish this this week, but it will go into the middle of the coming week.  I still have time to select materials before I start the real piece.  For the structure, I'd thought a light hard wood, like ash or hickory, and for the seat, back, and arms, a darker, precious species.  On the other hand, after another fellow in the shop made something nice out of plywood, letting the edges show, I thought sculpted plywood legs would be amazing as the layers would show off the contouring.  We'll see, there is still time.

I am having the most fun I've had in years, absolutely loving this.  I wrote to an unemployed friend today, "I felt like I'd hit rock bottom, like I'd lost everything, and I had no desire to get back in the design business, to again beg people to 'pick me.'  But now, I've embraced my situation and I'm going all in, betting on myself and only doing what I want.  If someone likes it, fine, if not, they can find the door.  We'll see if it works."  Another friend said "So, you are a teenager."  So be it, I'm alive!  At the end of the day today I found myself looking at the chair and thinking, "I'm glad this exists, I'm glad I did this."

Something is coming...