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As Curtis describes the project: "The Yanesha have been sustainably harvesting their forest in the Peruvian Amazon for more than twenty years. I traveled to the area to observe their skills and resources and to develop an elegant form of seating using simple hand tools and local materials. This design was built with an axe, handsaw, adze, drawknife, brace and bits, spokeshave, scorp, scraper, reamer and knife. It can be made quickly using green wood and requires modest woodworking skills. The seat is the central structural element and it is hewn from a 3-inch-thick plank of wood with interlocking grain. It is carved deeply for comfort and eliminates the need for stretchers in the base. The legs and posts are split from green stock, maximizing strength and efficiency while minimizing waste. The back is woven from tree bark, supporting the sitter in flexible comfort and eliminating vertical spindles. Joints employ the natural shrinkage and expansion of the material and are secured with wedged tenons. The textural finish is achieved with well-honed edge tools and creates a warm and welcoming human habitat--without sandpaper--grounding the chair and inviting folks to touch, relax and come sit for a spell."
Now, two prototype Mantis chairs that Curtis designed for the Yanesha in Peru are going on tour in North America. One is currently featured in an exhibition entitled, "Are Chairs Just for Sitting?" which runs from May 5 to August 14, 2009, at the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, University of North Carolina in Hendersonville. According to guest curator, Wayne Raab, “Chairs are not just about sitting and comfort, but as much about the artist/designer/maker and their personal expression in their work.” A second Mantis chair was included in a previous show at the Center for Craft, entitled "Soul's Journey," which ended on April 25. "Soul's Journey" was developed from a documentary film series on contemporary southern artists, and it is scheduled to travel to Western Carolina University (August 1 to September 18) and Myrtle Beach Art Museum (October 11 to January 8).
For more information about any of these exhibitions, contact Katie Lee (828-890-2050) or visit the Center's website: www.craftcreativitydesign.org
Curtis Buchanan: www.curtisbuchananchairmaker.com