By Michael Owen Jones
Why do humans ponder aesthetic traits in addition to utilitarian ones within the making of daily items? Why do they retain traditions? what's the nature in their artistic strategy? those are a number of the higher questions addressed via Michael Owen Jones in his booklet on craftsmen within the Cumberland Mountains of jap Kentucky. focusing on the paintings of 1 guy, woodworker and chairmaker Chester Cornett, Jones not just describes the instruments and methods hired by means of Cornett but additionally his aspirations and values. Cornett possessed a deep wisdom of his fabrics and a mastery of building tools. a few of his chairs signify now not items of software yet aesthetic advancements of the chair shape. Cornett sought to deal with the issues of his lifestyles, Jones keeps; their massiveness supplied a feeling of defense, the virtuosity in their layout and development, a sense of vanity. Jones additionally compares different sector craftsmen and their perspectives approximately their paintings.
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Extra resources for Craftsman of the Cumberlands: Tradition and Creativity
He donated them to the museum, along with a bench made of mulberry and hickory bark. The owner of a laundry in Hazard purchasd a rocking chair resembling some of the other kinds of chairs that Chester made about 1961. Of sassafras, this chair is 42 inches high (fig. 35). The rockers are 34 inches long and Pis inches thick. The seat is 17 inches deep; it tapers from a width of 22 inches in front to 17 THE CHAIRMAKING BUSINESS 41 inches in back. The arms are 2114 inches wide, % inch thick, and 18~ inches long.
24 Using a special bit, Chester shaped the top of the front post into a tenon to fit into a hole in the underside of an armrest. 25 Driving the armrest into the mortise on the back post. 30 Craftsman of the Cumberlands 26 One of about ninety pegs carved in the same pattern for an elaborate rocker made in 1962. Each peg probably took thirty to fortyfive minutes to make. THE CHAIRMAKING BUSINESS 31 constructed other kinds of chairs, although the armrests and rockers had to be dressed, shaped, and added to the chair.
He bought a large rocking chair at the full amount the craftsman requested, and encouraged Harry Caudill, Wendell Berry, and other writers to purchase furniture. He was instrumental in bringing the press's attention to Chester, which attracted a client base from outside the area. " asks Gurney Norman in his article. "Most of the few people who buy original Cornett chairs think not," he writes. "They have more important reasons for wanting to own one. " He continues: "They buy them, too, because they know that Cornett chairs are among the last such hand-made furniture our society will ever produce and that their creator is perhaps the last of a long line of craftsmen that reaches farther back in time than we can even imagine.