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About RB Wing

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I'm a solo practitioner.

I've lived in Santa Fe since 2007 having moved here from Albany, New York.

Four years ago, when I started a transition from full time commercial construction manager to full time woodworker, I had only made furniture for myself. 

The only formal, institutional training, I've had should have led me to an American History professorship (another story). I've had no formal woodwork training. I was self-taught until I found YouTube which has provided all the woodworking instruction/technique for the last four years. Of all the furniture I have made, these rocking chairs are the most challenging, time consuming and rewarding.

Technique and design, influence and propensities: a story of entanglement.

I have been influenced by many in how I make the chairs (technique) but I’ve always had a propensity for a particular design of the chairs. I have watched other woodworkers to learn how but I have gravitated to only a few designers with whom I identify. Initially, I was drawn to Sam Maloof's graceful creations. I'm still evolving the form and the technique which keeps providing the challenge, supports the effort and provides the reward. I make the chairs to my satisfaction and to my level of comfort. Many have influenced my technique but as for the evolving design, it's just me.

  In the shop, I'm absorbed for hours in the flow of design and execution challenges, pushing the limits of my skill and imagination. I make mistakes every day, sometimes, fortunate mistakes which influence design. I learn from these mistakes and learn even more, about how wood works, from their correction. I love making these chairs! I love the Shows and Art Festivals and the positive feedback. I love the challenge of combining contrasting hardwoods, and I love making changes (I think improvements) that enhance comfort and design. 

The Essence of Human Touch

When we admire the work of an artist, musician, or any other creative individual, we recognize that they dedicated a percentage of their finite life to creating that piece.

Before that, they sacrificed another part of their life, learning and refining their skills to create such art. Their work carries the watermark of their life story, struggles, triumphs, and mortality.

Art, for many, is not just about the final piece but the journey that led to its creation. It’s about the late nights, the failed attempts, the moments of inspiration, and the years of training and practice.

It’s a reflection of the human experience….A human creator can produce only a finite number of pieces, and no more will come after their death. The scarcity of human-created art and the stories behind each piece add depth and value.” Ondrej Svoboda, Medium Daily Digest 10/16/2023


About the Process

 By the nature of the wood and the process, each chair is unique; each chair is sculpted as my eyes and hands behold it coming together. Yes, there are patterns to start but important choices arise as the work progresses: the pattern of grains, textures, and colors; the curve of the legs, the shape of the headrest, the spacing and the shape of the back slats. Attaining mastery or precision in the work, and design choices are constant challenges and a source of anguish and delight. Finally, watching the surprise at the level of comfort people experience is very rewarding. 

Originally, I was inspired by Sam Maloof who passed in 2009. I have made many changes since starting in 2020. My first potential client, an 87 year old woman, loved my chair but said it was too hard to get out of. So, I changed almost everything about the chair except the curvature of the back slats. I tightened the radius of the rockers and the curvature of the back legs; I sloped the arms downward and I raised the back of the seat slightly, all to make the chair easier to enter and exit, and it works. Of all the people, of all ages and body types, who have since sat in the chairs at shows, no one has ever had any difficulty getting in or out of the chairs.

  My process is always an evolving response to the material at hand, to the grain, to the shapes that emerge. I work in North American hardwoods such as Beech, Cherry, Walnut, Maple, Oak, and Hickory and in some exotics such as Brazilian Cherry and Makori. Each chair combines contrasting woods. Eyes and hands behold and respond. Choices evolve and the result is always a unique creation.

  There are no straight lines in the human body. There are few straight lines in my chairs. Sitting in a chair, but especially a rocking chair, is probably the most tactile experience one can have with any type of furniture. It is a full-body experience requiring ergonomic comfort and a pleasant sensation as the whole body is captured. Just for fun, google "therapeutic benefits of rocking chairs".

  Each adult rocker is assembled from approximately 100 separate pieces of wood and takes 175 hours to fabricate,  sculpt and finish with a food grade oil & hardwax finish for unmatched comfort. In terms of design, my adult rockers were originally inspired by Sam Maloof's graceful creations but I also identify with William Kappel, Hal Taylor, Paul Limisky, Scott Morrison and Charles Brock.

 

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