12 June 2012


 I love to create! I think it drives my dear wife crazy sometimes. It's not like I can just sit down for an hour with finger paints and let the little Warhol inside mess around for while. Campbell's soup can? Why not! First, a little bit of red... She might actually be able to tolerate that because it would mean both Sammy and I were happily occupied. No no no. I collect stuff. Usually lots of it. And it all becomes a part of a BIG plan to tell a story through creation.

Take this chair, for example. A few months ago, as I was just leaving my graveyard shift at the hospital, I turned onto the side road to head home. There on the road, next to someone's garbage cans, I saw this awful teal/stained chair awaiting its fate. While trying to block out Kara's rational thoughts streaming through my head, I chucked the chair in my trunk and headed home. It smelled like wet dog hair set on fire! I told myself that Kara would love it... as long as she didn't know it existed.

It sat in the back of our garage for a few months while I thought about what the heck I was going to do with an old, smelly chair. I eventually went to work on it. I have been taking it with me almost everywhere. It's been wonderful to have this enemy gradually become my friend. I did most of the work late at night at the hospital during quiet times. I must have pulled 500 staples out of this thing! I had never before reupholstered a piece of furniture, so I took every piece off, labeled it and put it in a bag for future reference. After the tear down, I started with the wood. I sanded it all down (made my house VERY dusty for a while) and re-stained the wood. As you can see, the wood on the arm rests were very badly damaged. I had to fill in those gouges with wood filler. Once the wood was patched up and stained, my Kara, big boy Sammy and little Bunjy helped me pick out some fabric. I wanted a SUPER overstuffed chair, so I used some foam I had saved from our old mattress topper to give the arms and seat double stuffing. I then waited and watched for an old couch that somebody might throw out so that I could get a bigger piece of foam for the seat back. EUREKA! Our neighbors thew out a couch within a few days. I had to cut that piece of foam little by little until it was the right shape and size. I was buried in a sea of foam chunks that night!

 After settling on a fabric, I set to work on the pattern. We thought it would be neat to experiment with the embroidery function on our sewing machine (THANK YOU Lisa). I just let the chair put itself together. I would just look at it and it would seem to tell me what to do next. It was really fun, albeit time consuming. Measure, cut, sew, measure again... oops... repeat. I stapled it all back together, added some trim and some brass nails. It's all interconnected, so fixing anything on this would be a problem. So, of course, after it was all together, a seam busted on the seat. Oh well. It now sits in my office at the seminary where I hope it will stay for the next 30 years. It seems to hug me when I sit on it. That poor, ugly orphan on the side of the road is now my friend. In some ways, that explains why I like to create. You should try it!

Here are a few pictures of other things I have enjoyed creating.

Harry Potter Pumpkin - Halloween 2009

Maple Leaf Wind Chime. This was made for Kara's grandparent's wedding anniversary. Her grandpa is from Canada. Each leaf has a name of one of their children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren.

My dad is my creative inspiration. He is a truly gifted creator. His creations have been both large and small and of all the things he has taught me, his love for creating has left the deepest impression. I carved this old man's head out of bass wood one night at the hospital. After I carve a cowboy hat and bandana, paint it, and put a long cork on the bottom, I will send it to him so he can use it in his kitchen as a bottle topper.

1 comment:

Jean said...

Fabulous! I think working with your hands (and letting your mind come along for the ride) is one of the best things you can do in life. Congratulations on a job VERY well done. Lucy