Every day on my way to work I drive past this little shop that sells windows, doors, and glass. It’s dusty, dirty, and dimly lit and looks like it hasn’t changed since the middle of the last century. It is the kind of place that makes you think there might be some treasure underneath all the junk. One day I noticed this mid century style basket chair setting out front. It looked a little worn but I liked the style so I told myself I would stop by eventually. A couple weeks later I told my sister about it and she said “you better jump on that or I might snatch it up.”
I took her seriously. Always take Sarah seriously when it comes to roadside furniture.
The next day on my way home from work I stopped by. The owner, a tall lanky lady with a halo of snow white hair, was inside the shop reading a book.
“Hi!” I said, cheerfully. She didn’t respond.
“Hi! I said again, this time a little louder.
She looked up “Well, hello dear, what can I do for you?” I explained to her that I saw this chair and wondered if it was for sale.
“The one with the duck tape on it? I guess now it is. How much will you give me for it?”
Not one to barter I asked her to name her price.
“$5?” she said.
She chuckled a bit, bemused at someone paying money for the thing I’m sure. “You gonna cover the hole with fabric or something?” she asked as I was leaving.
Yeah, something like that.
I researched chair weaving and got a little nervous as I learned more but I was still inspired so I went ahead and ordered my materials.
Tools & Materials
– 6mm Binding Cane
– Metal Spray Paint
– Brad Nails
– Needle Nosed Pliers
I took the legs off of the seat, scrubbed them down, and sprayed them with metal paint.
Before I ever began to take the old caning off of the chair I studied it for a long time and took a ton of photos of it. I wanted to remember exactly how it was woven so that I could copy it exactly. If you do a project like this make sure you really study it before because you will forget how it’s was originally done if you don’t have something to reference.
The actual weaving part wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be but it was very time consuming. After a few full eveings spent on it I was ready for the project to end.
The hardest part of the project was finishing it off. I didn’t leave some of the ends long enough when weaving them so the area along the back where I tucked the end in and nailed them was finished nearly as well done as I wanted it to be. The only way to fix it would have been to take half of it out and redo it.
I was happy with how the chair turned out until it came to that part. Now whenever I look at it I notice those few mistakes in the back and nothing else. I was almost ready to give up on the whole project because it wasn’t perfect. That’s the problem with perfectionism, you become so focused on the mistakes that you are completely blind to all you did right or could learn from whatever you’re working on.
Does anyone else struggle with finding a balance between seeking excellence yet being ok with imperfection?
So I will keep this chair with it’s loose ends, gaps, and uneven weaves because it is comfortable and it’s reminds me that not everything needs to be perfect.
And because I wove it myself, darn it.