Since Krissie mentioned The Chair, and I need a post for today before we go to Staples and JoAnn’s (bliss), I will show you the The Unfinished Chair. What happened was that the day after I realized I probably had AMD and found the letter from my doctor confirming that I had diabetes, I started doing laundry obsessively (which was good because I had mountains of it). And in between loads, I decided to reupholster the entire house. Well, a lot of the dark furniture in the house. It was too damn depressing. Since then I’ve painted a lot of it white–more to come–and Alastair painted all the woodwork in the living room white because I was coming unglued and it helped (it’s fabulous)–but that night, I wanted to do something right away, something that was hands on, something that I wouldn’t have to think about but could just do by instinct, aka “That looks right, that doesn’t look right.” Kind of like collaging a chair.
There’s a chair I bought for fifteen dollars at Goodwill maybe ten years ago, and it was ancient then. I recovered it in bright red fabric because it was going in the kitchen/TV room, and when we moved the TV out to the living room, the red just didn’t work. So I ripped all my reupholstering off so I was working with the original chair again. It looked like this (the seat cushion is missing in the picture, but we have it):
Yes, I know, it’s butt-ugly, but it’s a nice shape and it’s small which means it will fit in the cottage.
Then I went through my fabric stash and started pulling out patterns so I could do my version of a Mackenzie-Childs. They tend to use four to six different patterns and then add buttons, gimp, and tassels and really fancy feet.
Tassels weren’t going to work for a cottage, plus the dogs and the cats would have them off before I got them sewed on, but buttons and gimp I can do.
Now the right way to upholster is to pin the fabric to the chair inside out until you have a good fit, then take it to the machine to sew the seams, then bring it back and stitch it together on the chair. But I was stressed about imminent death and blindness, and I really wanted to do it intuitively, plus I wanted to watch TV because we were sending the DVR back and a lot of those shows I can’t get on Netflix or Amazon (Persons of Interest), so I went the patchwork route. I like doing it that way because I can try things, and if it doesn’t work, I’m not ripping out machine stitching. It’s very much of a hands-on art project and that appeals to me.
By 7AM on that Tuesday, I’d worked all night, a lot of my laundry was done and the chair looked like this:
Okay, that yellow panel along the bottom was not right for several reasons, and it was a little more hectic than I like furniture to be (I know, I took Mackenzie-Childs as my model, what did I expect) but it was basically not terrible. So the next night, I ripped off the yellow skirt and side panel, and tried again. And I’ve worked on it on and off for the past two weeks in between painting everything white, and now it looks like this:
So I still have to do a lot including buttons, but we need to go out so there’s only one on there now which is why Krissie calls The Chair “Popeye” now. I have a feeling it’s always going to be Popeye. Also, Krissie thinks the extra height I put on the seat looks wrong, so she said to ask you all what you thought (I’m changing that dark band to light by using the other side; a little frogging never hurt anybody):
I was going to wait to post about it until it was done, but since Krissie teased it, I figured I’d give you a Work in Progress. And yes, I will post the finished chair. Eventually.