"Celtic Vine" Russian Olive, Denver, CO

Russian Olive, arms are forked branches

This was the first chair to fully use my new design, notice how the arms come off the back with a naturally forked branch. I built it inside my tiny studio apartment in Downtown Denver, where I developed my techniques. Except for a cot to sleep on, I had no furniture, just branches stacked in piles against the walls. The branches were harvested from nearby Russian Olive trees, which are an invasive species in Colorado; I'd walk down the street with an armload of branches and carry them into my apartment. I built over a dozen chairs inside my apartment with all hand tools, nothing that plugged in  (I didn't want to disturb my neighbors too much), and that's where I first got the idea of camping out and building. The leather for the back of this chair went through some redesigns until I had the idea of vines that would intersect each other in a Celtic fashion; something about the arcs and curves of Russian Olive branches reminded me of the swoops in Celtic design.”

Russian Olive tree
Russian Olive tree
Rough branches
Rough branches
In the workshop
In the workshop
Beginning layout
Beginning layout
Frame taking shape
Frame taking shape
Forks!
Forks!
Completed frame
Completed frame
Rockin in the studio
Rockin in the studio
Oiled finish
Oiled finish
First design
First design
Leaf in leather
Leaf in leather
Final design in chalk
Final design in chalk
Final leather
Final leather
Art Show
Art Show

"I showed this chair at an Art Fair in Downtown Denver a few blocks from where it was built. I was certain about it's sturdiness, so I asked this 370 lb man to sit in it and pose for a picture. It sat and rocked well for him, but it was a little tight!"