What a year it has been shifting from in-person to a virtual meeting!
Our Gathering committee has been working hard to bring you a unique venue of videos and live question-and-answer portions of our Zoom Gathering.
Along with the informational sessions, we have some fun social segments that include socializing, group lunch (and we're providing New England recipes for you to try your hand at and join us!)
Tips and Tricks on Sunday and our Annual Meeting.
We're hoping we will be able to reach our members all over the country and explore if we should be adding a virtual component to Gatherings and Meetings in the future.
One of my practice teaching sessions, in college for Industrial Arts was at Perkins School for the Blind. After my undergraduate degree, I returned to Perkins and Boston College for a Master’s degree in Education of the Visually Impaired. When I finished the program, there was an opening at Perkins. I applied and got the job. That was in 1971.
Between 1971 and 1999, I taught woodworking, metalworking, home mechanics, work activities, computer use, computer programming and other subjects.
In 1999, I took the place of a retiring teacher and started learning and teaching Seat Weaving, starting with Shaker Tape, then Danish Cord. We wove seats on footstools and rocking chairs for sale to other staff. We took in hand caned chairs from the public. Once I mastered hand cane, I knew I had found my “love” in seat weaving, especially fancy patterns. I’ve done sheet cane, fiber rush and wicker, but hand cane is still my favorite. It was some time before I realized that I had learned a different order of caning steps than most, because this was the way that worked best for teaching blind students.
When I retired, I had a list of 60 chairs to work on. That took me a while to finish. I still don’t like rush as much as the rest of the types, but I do it when I have to.
The day I retired, I drove west to attend my first Gathering in Sturbridge.
Sue divides her time between 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional work...photography, web design, graphic design,seatweaving (chair caning, wicker repair, rush, splint, etc.) and basket weaving.
Where some might see a chair, Sue sees a statement. She spends the majority of her time now repairing seats (an unabashed “chairnerd” and webmaster of The SeatWeavers Guild, Inc) but enjoys branching out into basketry.
Seatweaving is part functional and part emotional. Along with repairing chairs, she repairs the memories that are attached to seats that are in demise and disrepair. The joy on a client’s face when they see family history brought back to functionality is inspiring.
A frequent instructor at various sheep, wool and fiber festivals, furniture schools, art retreats and farmers markets, she enjoys sharing her skills. 2020 has shifted to online teaching and private classes. You can see more at www.reduxforyou.com
My seat weaving career began with a chair from my parents’ house that I took as I moved out of our Cleveland Hts, Ohio home. I later took the board off the seat and saw that it had caning on it. I was living in Connecticut in 1983 and took a class from Cathy Meder in Guilford. She taught me how to hand cane and to replace a press caned seat. I moved on to redo some of my mother-in-law’s chairs, then friends of hers and so The Country Caner business began. I taught classes in Adult Education programs for about 10 years in hand & press caning, rush, and splint weaving.
Around 1989 when I was buying some materials from HH Perkins Co I saw a cardboard sign on the wall for someone looking for a caning instructor. I called Arlene Szczarba who set me on the path of a 30-year career. She was working with individuals with mental illness starting a caning business called The Association of Artisans to Cane(AAC) in New Haven, CT. They called me in when they needed my help with chairs they didn’t know how to do. This program eventually became part of Marrakech, Inc, a CT based private non-profit agency. I came with the program and started my career running The Association of Artisans to Cane. We worked with individuals with developmental, physical and mental disabilities who we taught to do the caning that our customers brought in. The business grew over the years to also include an art program and is now called East Street Arts. (https://www.eaststreetartsnh.org/home
Confessions of a shameless chair nerd. I am a 4th generation chair caner on a mission to dispel the myth that chair caning is a dying art. I love geeking out on chairs. They are personal, special, functional pieces of art and history. An infinite variety of patterns, materials, shapes, and construction elements make practicing the craft interesting, and sometimes frustrating. Yet chair caning is also very meditative and exceedingly gratifying. Once I realized how wide the “lost art” myth has spread, and how much woven chairs are taken for granted, I made it my mission to cull obscure information (from paintings, mentions in decorative arts case studies, stories from chair caners) into the nation’s only chair caning museum and school. From Mid-Century Scandinavia to Middle Kingdom, Egypt, woven chairs have a fascinating history. We want our visitors and students to learn not only the methods of seat weaving, but also the history and contemporary state of the craft (I’m talking Target, Dior, Kate Spade, JCPenney, and Ikea). If a chair reflects a moment in time, I'd say that chair caning is currently shining like a comet shooting across the universe.
Brandy is at Silver River Chairs
is a chairmaker building Windsor and ladderback chairs in his shop in northwest Connecticut. He started as an apprentice to a New York furniture maker and later had more formal training at Palomar College studying furniture design. He moved from furniture into building chairs more than 20 years ago having studied under several Windsor and ladderback chairmakers. He has been awarded Top Artisan by Early American Life magazine and has several of his Windsor chairs featured in the magazine. He was awarded Editor’s Choice Award for Seating for a Windsor Sack Back Settee by Popular Woodworking and was recognized by The Society of American Period Furniture Makers. David builds both contemporary and traditional chairs and teaches chairmaking and weaving in his and other shops in the country.
David is at David Douyard Chairmaker
works full time at MassMutual Financial Group--in HR--responsible for benefits data feeds to vendors. To balance out a incredibly stressful day-time gig, she weaves to relax. She was introduced to chair caning after falling in love with a neat carved top banister back chair that was "up for grabs" in her deceased grandfather's attic about 11 years ago. The class she first took was at Holyoke Creative Arts Center, and she fell in love with 7-step hand caning chairs. The women in the group had also wanted to try their hands at Nantucket Basket weaving--so she branched out. Now she will take on only very special projects--furniture that she's in love with; patterns she wants to do; new things she wants to learn; new styles....
For hire? NOPE! Only pet projects now.
Winter time? Lack of space? Nantuckets to get the zen on in a much smaller space in the house!
She's emptied the attic from all the old ho-hum chairs and only has cool chairs she loves... and Nantucket molds.
She's a hoarder of reference materials and tools...
I grew up near Chattanooga, TN, nailing boards together from an early age in my grandfather's woodshop. An ample supply of Legos kept me curious about how the universe was assembled. The love of patterns and design led to a Mechanical Engineering degree in 2002. In 2004, I turned back to woodworking. My brother and I started a two-man "habitat enhancement" business engaged in home repairs and landscaping. A few years later, a move to Folly Beach, SC found me repairing boat docks and ultimately brought me in contact with Brandy Clements, fresh from Chair Caning Boot-camp with her Aunt Linda. 15 years later, I find seat weaving, coupled with running the business, continues to bring together a life-long love of learning, working with my hands, problem solving, process refinement and a demented pattern fetish. The little time I have away from weaving chairs and crunching numbers is spent surrounded by books, stringed instruments and puppets...all to be included in a future adventure, yet to be determined…
Dave is at Silver River Chairs
Bake Bread Bowls
Dick Knotts The Seat DoKtor
Native of Wilmington, DE
B.A. Chemistry – The College of Wooster, Wooster, OH 1965
D.D.S. -- Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, Dental School, U. Of MD 1969
Internship in General Dentistry - Michael Reese Hospital , Chicago 1969-70
Residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, U. of MD Hospital, Baltimore 1970-73
Practiced Oral Surgery in Waterville, ME 1973-1984
Wildlife Woodcarving and Carving Knife Making, along with a Direct Sales business in
Shaklee products 1984-1994
Certificate in Baking and Pastry – Culinary institute of America, Hyde Park, NY 1994
Bakery Manager – Harris-Teeter Supermarkets, Hickory, NC 1994-1996
Baker and Pastry Chef – Liazzo’s Catering 1996-2004
Deli-Bakery Manager – Lowes Foods Supermakets, Claremont, NC 2004-2006
Architecural Woodcarver -- High End Cabinet Shop, Hickory, NC 2006-2008
RETIRED to Seatweaving 2008
Caning History – Inherited a Lincoln rocker from my grandmother and bought Day’s pamphlet on seatweaving and got started. Found a small walnut rocker of same design on roadside in Baltimore and caned that and the rest is history.
Joined the Seatweavers’ Guild, Inc. and served as Secretary.
Opened my small business as The Seat DoKtor in Bethlehem, NC in 2008
Now living in Vernon, CT and actively seatweaving.
Silver River Center for Chair Caning is an Official Education Center of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. We teach regularly in our school and on location at esteemed venues like Arrowmont, Penland, and John C. Campbell Folk School. We teach kids, adults, and unsuspecting strangers who find themselves in our presence.
Our mission is to cultivate and inspire a reverence for a worldwide chair caning legacy.
Our vision is to promote an enthusiasm for the craft through education, restoration, and travel.
We want to empower everyone to learn to restore their own chairs. With over 500 sessions taught and 5000 chairs restored, we have decided to focus on education. And so, we expanded our chair caning restoration business into Silver River Center for Chair Caning, the nation’s only chair caning school and museum! We are proud to honor a family tradition, the craft, and all chair nerds (past, present, and future) with Silver River Center for Chair Caning.