Thursday, November 29, 2012

A beautiful chair

I recently visited a small woodworking exhibition in Ashland, Oregon where I saw this chair:

It is a reproduction of a Greene and Greene chair from the Blacker House and is one of the most beautiful chairs I have ever seen.  As a Greene and Greene fan, I have toured the Gamble House in Pasadena, read books about their houses and furniture and studied their construction techniques, so I am quite familiar with their designs, but this chair blew me away.  The design is amazing and the meticulous craftsmanship of this reproduction is wonderful.

The deeply sculpted crest rail, curved, flowing back and serpentine arms combine to create a look that is both elegant and comfortable.  The widely splayed front legs make it seem like the chair is inviting you to sit down.

The chair was made by Herbert Harris, whose website is Be sure to look at the gallery on his site for an extensive series of pictures of the chair and read his blog posts about its construction.  He began it as a student at the North Bennet Street School and finished it recently after a hiatus resulting from his move to southern Oregon.  It was made primarily with hand tools.

I had a nice conversation with Herbert, during which I told him that I was disappointed by my tour of the Gamble House, which I had looked forward to with great anticipation.  I suspect this is a minority opinion, but I found it extremely dark.  The other issue for me is that there are so many beautiful pieces that, combined with the elaborate woodwork of the building, I experienced sensory overload.  Seeing this chair by itself accentuates its beauty.


  1. William NG's school has a class on this chair.

  2. Andy, you bring up a good point. The ultimate bungalows are awe inspiring but with so much to look at I imagine objects like this chair tend to lose their punch.