Every Newton Gets Hit by a Proverbial Apple
We all know the apocryphal tale that surrounds the discovery of gravity. One fateful day, Isaac Newton was perched innocently underneath an apple tree, when all of a sudden a piece of fruit came crashing down onto his head. As he held the apple in one hand and stroked his bruised but busy head in the other, his whirred with the nature of falling objects, which led to nothing less than the theory of gravitational force. Or so the story goes. Regardless of flying apples, most creative people can relate to the times when a new project originates from a mundane incident – a chance encounter with the beginning of your next creation.
Inspiration can come in unsuspecting packages – from the shape of a tree branch at your daughter’s soccer game, for instance, or from a song on the radio. Sometimes fortune smiles upon you – like when a shipment of exotic hardware yields the most magnificent piece of zebrawood you have ever seen and it demands to be turned into something loud and proud. As I work organizing and showcasing the content on CustomMade.com, I constantly stumble upon stories of fortuitous moments of inspiration.
“I found an antique version of a Morris chair in the back room of a local used furniture/antique store. It was broken and missing the dowel that holds the back. The upholstery was all but gone or in tatters. But the basic form and the detail of the carving, the back adjusting wood pieces and the pull out footstool were all very intriguing. The shop owner was willing to loan it to me to study, as I wanted primarily to see how the footstool was made.
A year later I got to it and in the course of studying it I decided to reproduce the entire chair. I picked out wood from my quarter sawn oak stack and started in. Carving oak is not an easy task as I’m not principally a carver and don’t have all the right tools. I used various chisels and gouges I had in the shop, most of which I rarely use. The carving went well and was fun to do for a change. The beefiness of the construction was impressive, as well as the overall lines and design. I used a dye to bring out the old look for the chair, which it did, but then that led to a problem with getting the leather color right. It took ordering 3 different hides of various colors to finally get the one I settled on. The upholsterer we use who has been covering furniture for 40 years thought the piece was genuinely old and he liked it very much. He did a better than usual job for that reason making the piece a very nice replication.”
Every Newton has an apple, and every fine furniture maker has an inspirational Morris chair. The renewed curiosity that hovers in the air from the minute you get up in the morning, the desire for an even better solution that gets you making new things all of the time, means you’re constantly at the ready for your next stroke of inspiration. Who knows what kind of apple will hit you next?