Sunday, December 21, 2014

sturdy little bench

This little bench is very close to my heart.  It's made from old douglas fir (a board I picked up somewhere) as well as two cross pieces of new pine.

You can see the holes from the board's previous life as a shelf, and who knows what before that.  The wood is scratched and worn, which is part of its charm for me.

There is a photo of me that I don't have right now, on my first birthday, sitting on a little stool not too different from this one.  That little stool was part of my childhood.  I can picture it vividly still, although it was left behind in Bolivia when we moved over twenty years ago.

Two of my coworkers are originally from Africa.  When I showed them this picture, they said:  we sit on benches like that all the time back home.  And perhaps that is the appeal for me--simple benches like these are what Bolivian market vendors sit on while they spread their produce on blankets on the ground.

I want my furniture to be primitive, made from solid wood only.  It should be sturdy, an heirloom piece that stays in the family for a lifetime or longer, so that it holds an emotional weight.  It's a repository of memories.

The furniture should be unfinished, or at most rubbed with oil or beeswax.  It should not be stained or varnished or painted.  The edges should be rounded, sanded soft, so that your hand feels the wood's smooth texture.  Then as spills, scratches, or stains accumulate, you embrace the history that will be recorded on the surface.

This little bench will be part of my life for years to come.   I would like to make many more benches like it for people like you.

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