My parents took a ribbing for the street sign that the city placed by the curb in our front yard where I grew up. It read, "Slow Children at Play." I may be slow now, but as a child, well... you'll have to ask my mother. Needless to say, my siblings and I survived that civic declaration of our 'slowness,' and now, I find myself embracing the idea of Slow Furniture. The following words might have been written prior to the beginning of the slow furniture movement, but I think James Krenov described the essence of slow furniture when he wrote about "Work that can be traced to the maker, the hand, the eye and the heart."
Why Slow Furniture? Well, lots of reasons, but in this note I'd like to focus on the process of making, because this is where JK's words carry the greatest meaning for me. It's about getting away from the frenetic pace of a production environment and slowing down, not to the detriment of all efficiency, but just enough to truly connect with the work, and taking the time needed to focus on the details that bring life to each piece; like thoughtfully considered design elements, carefully fitted joinery, doors and drawers, and the satisfaction of a finely planed surface. As I've written in my artist statement, "Here in this quiet little studio, the rich colors and grain lines in the planks of wood I've collected provide the inspiration needed to slow down... take care... and know that the pleasure is in the making." Someday, each piece I make will find its way into the life of a new caretaker. They will enjoy the finished piece, but I will forever enjoy the process. Life is good.
The 2010 Slow Furniture Studio Exhibition is now a wrap. Twenty-three artists brought thirty-six pieces to Toronto, including free-standing and wall-hung cabinets, tables, dovetailed boxes and more. A variety of fine furniture connoisseurs, including architects, interior designers and many others, stopped by to view the pieces on display at the Arta Gallery. Several of the makers who presented their work at the show were available, in person, to discuss their work with attendees. It was a great time to meet new people who share a common interest in this extraordinary craft. Thanks go to the fine people at Slow Furniture Studio and Arta Gallery for putting on a great show, and a special thanks to all who stopped by for a visit. I look forward to meeting you again.