By Michael Owen Jones
Why do humans give some thought to aesthetic traits in addition to utilitarian ones within the making of daily items? Why do they retain traditions? what's the nature in their artistic method? those are a number of the higher questions addressed through Michael Owen Jones in his e-book on craftsmen within the Cumberland Mountains of japanese Kentucky. focusing on the paintings of 1 guy, woodworker and chairmaker Chester Cornett, Jones not just describes the instruments and strategies hired by way of Cornett but additionally his aspirations and values. Cornett possessed a deep wisdom of his fabrics and a mastery of development equipment. a few of his chairs symbolize no longer items of application yet aesthetic advancements of the chair shape. Cornett sought to deal with the issues of his existence, Jones continues; their massiveness supplied a feeling of protection, the virtuosity in their layout and development, a sense of vainness. Jones additionally compares different zone craftsmen and their perspectives approximately their paintings.
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Extra resources for Craftsman of the Cumberlands: Tradition and Creativity
McIntosh would not sell me his chair, but I was able to buy one of his neighbor's chairs for $5 for the museum at Indiana University. The absence of notching, the presence of relatively wide feet, and the rather exaggerated angle at which the back posts bend backward and outward in the McIntosh chairs presage traits of some chairs Chester was yet to make. Although Chester called the McIntosh a settin' chair, the seat is unusually high. The chair is 321f2 inches tall; the seat is 17 inches from the floor (as opposed to the usual 12 to 14 inches of a settin' chair).
With Chester's help, we located many of his earlier chairs on that first trip in August 1965. He could recall who had bought his chairs over the years, how much he had asked for each chair and what was in fact paid, what the chairs were constructed of, and the reasons for some of the chairs' unusual features. What struck me at first was the great variety of forms. The attitudes of some customers also surprised me-manifested in their treatment of the chairs and the prices they had offered Chester.
The face of the post, or stile, is cut out more deeply for the sake of comfort and appearance. To do this, Chester oriented the post so the face was toward him and then took small cutting bites to start the curve just above the seat. Turning the knife at a 30-degree angle, he began the cut at the extreme left end of the knife, drawing it forward to the right end. The movement was long and smooth. To make the slats and posts pliable enough to put into the presses in which they seasoned into curved shapes, Chester cooked the slats for twenty minutes and the posts for an hour (or a week, if the posts were completely unseasoned).