I had a set of four very shabby old dining chairs I inherited from my father’s father Albert Edward Norman. I never liked their gold striped upholstery, and over the years they got more and more threadbare and full of holes. But I treasured the wood of their frames, so kept them. The wood is probably silky oak (Grevillea Robusta). My parents had a grevillea in their back garden when I was a kid, back in the days when folk had large gardens, before high property rates and subdivision. A very tall tree with beautiful golden brush-like blooms. The maker of these chairs stained and french-polished the wood, so it is more honey coloured than blond… but beautiful none-the-less.
This winter (2014) I caught a cold and my mind was too dull to work on creative writing (sonic or otherwise), so I did two relatively mindless activities: my tax return and repairing my chairs. This is the result of one of those activities. [The good photos are taken by my mate Dave Matthews in the warm spring light of late November. Thanks Dave.]
The newly strung seagrass backs are more supportive than the original padded material backs which were tacked in place using around 100 staples per back (an insult to the wood). My new approach to “upholstering” is inspired by the woven dilly bags of aboriginal women; spider’s webs; tennis racquets; the seagrass matting we had on the floor in our play room as kids; and of course, the emu feathers and weathered shells I had lying around my home.
A related topic will be my exploration of the Medullary ray. All you woodies probably knew that term already. I only just learnt it from a new friend and native plant wizard, Gidja Walker. More later…