Thursday, 7 May 2009

New York, Gina and George Nakashima

the conoid chair

I'm about 1 week away from the two year anniversary of a decision that changed my life and I have this glorious chair to thank.

I was in New York visiting my girlfriend Gina and she was busy with her last week of school. I did the classic touristy things (galleries, museums and shopping) during the day and we'd meet up in the evenings and hang out and chat (mainly on her fire escape with a pack of camel cigarettes-back when I used to smoke)

I remember I was in The MET and I'd been walking for hours in shoes that were really hurting my feet. I ended up in a quiet section with a huge wooden slab coffee table with some chairs around it. I sat in one of the chairs and lost all ability to move. This was the most comfortable chair I'd ever sat in. I felt deeply moved and had the urge to tell someone about it. I turned around and said to the nearest employee "this is the most comfortable chair I've ever sat in." She looked at me and said really quite dryly "it's a George Nakashima." Now of course at the time I'd never heard of George Nakashima and I had no idea what she meant by this. All I could think was whoever made this chair understood the human form. I'd never imagined sitting so low to the ground would feel so right. When I finally got up after close to 5 minutes sitting in the chair I looked at it and thought what a glorious piece of woodwork it was.

I left the museum and the chair and continued my day of New York tourism but a little seed had been planted in me. I wanted to make furniture like that too. I wanted to use my hands, work with wood and make nice honest designs. I was too scared to tell any of my family and friends that I wanted to make furniture because I thought they'd think I was being flakey but I can't keep a secret and within 2 weeks everyone knew. Within 5 weeks of that trip to visit Gina in New York I had my first job working with a furniture maker in Etobicoke. Now almost 2 years later I've got my own business. Lost Nation is my little sappling and it's slowly growing and it's thrilling and terrifying and exciting and I love it.

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