One of my first projects that involved the lathe was a rocker. Much of the furniture I got back then was collected from various garage sales. Oak furniture was big back then and so was stripping furniture and refinishing it. The rocker I brought home from a garage sale was carried home in a basket. I had to figure out how to put it all back together. When the assembly was complete I found I was missing three spindles. So I salvaged some oak from an old pallet and begin teaching myself how to create the missing spindles. After the rocker was completed I became obsessed with rockers of all types. At a local bookstore I found a small book on building Shaker furniture, specifically shaker chairs and rockers. It was the beginning of one of my life long obsessions with both chair building and the Shakers.
Being a true child of the seventies and eighties I was fascinated with their emphasis on simple rural living. The seventies were filled with people that were in to the back to the land movement, John Denver, flannel shirts and blue jeans. So an interest in the the Shakers was for me a natural extension of all the things that I was finding fascinating back then.
In the early eighties I made a trip out to Maine, summer camping all the way out and back. One Saturday night I had a hard time finding a camp ground so I ended up pulling off the road and sleeping in the van for the night(Yes, you had to be young). The next morning I got up, found a place to have breakfast and than when I was driving down the road after breakfast I found the Shaker museum at Hancock, Massachusetts.
So in September when was are done with the Country Living show was are planning on spending a night on our way home at the Shaker village in Pleasant Hill Kentucky. It is one of the few Shaker villages that has on site overnight accomdations in original Shaker structures. I have been there before but CJ has not. So we are looking forward to being there together. We are hoping that our experience their will inspire us and recharge our engines in much the same way my first Shaker experience did for me.
I am grateful for all the ideas and experiences in my live that I have had that have contributed to my aesthetic sense and my love of creating but I found myself today particularly thankful for my Shaker experience and how it has contributed to my love of a simple country aesthetic, and my love of the agrarian living.
Oh, and by the way after thirty five years I have learned that doing something for a living that involves me wearing a suit and tie just doesn't work for me.