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Entries in hand touched (4)

Wednesday
Sep052012

how it's made: wrap bench

Handmade by a skilled carpenter from
local acacia wood, the construction of each wrap bench includes traditional mortise and tenon joinery—note the round section of wood towards the top of each leg. Criss-crossing metal rods reinforce leg strength—along with the woven jute seat—but the bench is entirely without nails or screws.

Jute, a fast growing plant requiring minimal processing, is one of the most sustainable fibers available—especially in the Bengal state of India where it’s grown extensively.

The loosely twisted ropes are purchased in hanks with big loops—each weighing about
8 kilograms, or 19 lbs.

The hanks are then opened up, dried in the sun—in case moisture is trapped inside—then rolled into smaller, more manageable balls for weaving.

The fiber is first woven width wise—in a loop over loop fashion—covering the side rails almost completely. It’s then passed through the cavities formed by the width-wise looping and looped over the short ends—creating a strong seat and strengthening the frame in the process.

Monday
Aug062012

how it's made: dondra bed

Much of the wood used to make the dondra bed is reclaimed from old teak doors, painted windows and doors, beams or flooring from inside old houses that are no longer usable or have been replaced.

Purchased as raw materials by weight, it’s often in a wide range of quality—broken/split, with nail holes, including nails, etc.

While the unusable pieces are discarded, the bulk of the lot is sorted, pieces are laminated together, holes filled with a mix of glue and wood, and finished by sanding and lacquer coating.

Tuesday
Jul312012

one of a finds: orissa brass owl

Orissa is the region in eastern India that once held vast control over the Bay of Bengal. For hundreds of years, it was one of the most financially and culturally wealthy nations of India so ancient tributes to Lakshmi—the goddess of wealth, fortunes in Hindu mythology—took place annually and continue to this day.

There are a great many sculptures of Hindu gods—which number in the hundreds—and some depict Lakshmi with an owl as her vahana, or carrier.

Uluka, which means ‘owl’ in Sanskrit, is also one of the names of lndra—the king of gods, personifying wealth, power and glory.

As all the points come together, they help explain why valuables might be kept in a vessel like the orissa brass owl for safekeeping—assuming Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune, could not have found a better vahana than the king of gods.

Made using the traditional and complex process of lost-wax casting, it’s one of the most accurate forms of casting hand-made models as it re-produces intricate works with superior definition.

To begin, a sculptor creates a model out of clay or plaster which is coated with a thick layer of wax.

Another layer of plaster or clay then goes over the wax layer to create the outer shell so that when the whole piece is heated, the wax melts away leaving a space between the plaster layers.

Molten metal is then poured into the newly created mold and once cool, the mold is broken to reveal the solid metal replica of the original sculpture which is then finished using traditional metal-work techniques.

Tuesday
Nov082011

1938 buenos aires, argentina

photo by: nancyesmith Originally created in 1938 for an apartment building in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the designers of both named the BKF chair after themselves—Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari Hardoy.

In 1940, after seeing the chair on exhibit at the Salon de Artistas Decoradores, a sample was requested by MoMA and remains in the permanent Collection.

More commonly referred to as the butterfly chair, it was inspired by a folding campaign-style chair—the Tripolina. Many versions have been produced over the years—in both fixed and portable styles—and the design has gained worldwide popularity for its ease of assembly and transport, its light weight, and the variety of materials that can be used for production.

Whipstitched by hand, the natural leather sling of the 1938 butterfly chair covers a metal frame—true to the original.