A theme common to many traditional Japanese woodblock prints is a celebration of the beauty of the impermanent. These images of the sea or of autumn leaves greatly influenced the Impressionists who drew on this aesthetic sensibility to create an artistic movement that began a radical change in the visual arts. In the creation of this chair, we were inspired by this same sensibility of impermanence that influenced the impressionists to start to express the beauty of light and reflection in a new way.
This project began with a 19th Century rocking chair that had twice been haphazardly repainted. We removed the paint to reveal the original finish, while still preserving some reminders of its long history. Using three layers of hand stitched vegetable tanned leather, we fashioned a pattern for the back rest that reflects the shape of the chair’s corner accents, while at the same time recalling a classic image of temporal beauty, the butterfly. Inset into this shape, is an Art Nouveau influenced panel hand painted with dye in classic leather tones suggests the colors of the late Fall. As craftspeople, we are always drawn to forms of expression that are as equally rooted in execution as concept. As such, we created a functional object that pays homage to a classic sensibility that began a revolution in art that resonates to this day.