Despite all the hurricanes, North Carolina has a lot of things going for it including a long and illustrious history of furniture making. We have plenty of high style period cred through John Swisegood and Thomas Day and a whole body of work from the Moravians in Old Salem, but I have to confess that everyday vernacular furniture is my current passion. I’m talking about those home-made chairs that have been handed down for generations sitting by fires and on porches and the chests and dressers that served so long as ‘furniture of necessity.”
A week or so ago I was delighted to read Will Myers’ post on the Lost Art Press blog about an exhibit called “Uncommon Chairs” at the North Carolina History Center in New Bern devoted to the common furniture that has held generations of North Carolinian posteriors. New Bern is a short drive from Ayden, so we took the long weekend as an opportunity to check it out.
In some ways, the following pictures will speak for themselves. The chairs were arranged by regional traits common to the turnings. The “Oxford urn” finial, for example, or the curious, almost playful balls at the top of the back posts of the Warren County chairs.
I do want to highlight a few things. First is this chair, that I love.
I also want to point out this marking stick used to lay out a pattern on chair posts and legs while on the lathe. Nearly all of the chairs were constructed of turned components and this struck me as one of those things that makes so much sense, I wonder why I’ve never heard of it before.
Also, this rocker, because it’s just quirky and fun.
As Will said in his post, the exhibit runs thru Sept. 17, and is free to the public. If you make the trek, it’s worth a trip over to Tryon Palace as well, if only to check out the Welsh stick chairs in the kitchen.