For the last eight or ten years I've gotten more involved in working wood, which I enjoy very much. One area where I've applied the woodworking skills I've been developing is in creating sculptural pieces for the Community Warehouse.
The Chair Affair projects
In 2007 and 2008 I got involved with something rather different from the kind of work I've focused on elsewhere on this site. The Community Warehouse, a great charity, undertook its first Chair Affair fundraiser in the spring of 2007.
I teamed up with my friend Larry Shifrin to create a "chair", The Seat of Enlightenment, for the 2007 event, and it was a great experience. The auction was held Thursday, April 26th, and of the fifty "chairs" auctioned, ours sold for the highest price by a margin of $1,000, going for $3,750. Larry and I are extremely pleased, amazed, and a little shocked, given the great range of intriguing and beautifully done pieces in the auction, some by well-established artists. We are so happy we've been able to provide this support for the Warehouse.
Designed and constructed by Larry Shifrin and David Dunning, this chair is an expression of West Coast Pacific Rim fusion. The Buddha floats in repose over translucent arcing waves of Pacific tranquility. He sits centered, at home among forms reflecting both East and West. As Frank Lloyd Wright drank in the aesthetics of the orient and drew them into his forms, we seek an expression that makes the old new, and the new, timeless.
For his part, David built and shaped in hardwood, forming over ninety wood joints involving no metal fasteners. The chair form is seven feet tall and features fifteen legs. He developed the layered, crackled paint effect and finished the hardwood in urethane. Meanwhile, Larry selected the brass and bronze elements and produced the rich blend of subtle polychrome finishes seen on those pieces. Larry also chose, from his extensive inventory of period glass, the 1912 leaded glass shade illuminating the Buddha. The gifted glass artist Carol Hall was kind enough to contribute the highly textured curving glass from her studio, recycling and re-slumping it for this piece. To complete the piece, Larry illuminated the forms with ten integrated light sources.
Lost wax cast bronze Buddha
Recycled, re-slumped art glass donated by glass artist Carol Hall
Leaded glass from the venerable Jefferson Glass Company, dated 1912
Hand-blown aurene glass with delicate glass webbing
Brass and copper
I took a different direction for the second chair, which I designed and constructed alone. For this piece, I drew inspiration from ancient Hellenic and Egyptian aesthetic traditions.
The full description can be read from the tag I created for this piece:
The basic form is a fusion of the Egyptian ankh and the Greek symbol for Aphrodite (our present symbol for the female gender). The seat form is an adaptation of the Egyptian djed. Six feet tall.
Slumped art glass donated by glass artist Carol Hall
Wood (or is it stone?)
Gouache & acrylic paint
Gold leaf & Dutch metal