Sycamore Signature Rocking-chair, 1990
Taken by the wonderful photographer, the late Lloyd Park in 1994, this is the classic shot of what has become a classic piece.
The first design was in 1990, following a year away in Australia, where I helped a friend building a stone house in the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. I had in mind to move on from a previous rocker that I had been making for five years previously. It was a more conventional ‘chair-on-rockers’, though with some sculptural elements. With the new rocker, I wanted to express in a fully integrated and sculptural design, the essence of what a rocking-chair could be.
It took several months of doodling and sketching before I finally drew the few key lines that gave me what I was looking for. The really hard part was translating that sketch into a functioning piece of finely wrought furniture.
After some experimentation, I decided that steam-bending was the only viable method of achieving the look and the curves I was after. The first chair showed me I had created something pretty special, worth all the effort, and worth persevering with. It was incredibly comfortable, well balanced, and with an almost alive feeling of movement, swaying and springing slightly in response to the sitter’s postural changes, as well as beautifully balanced in the rocking action.
Over many years subsequently, I have refined much of the detail , and of late have also greatly refined the making process, which has enabled me to train a couple of able assistants, who can do much of the basic constructional and shaping work. There appears to be an irreduceable amount of skilled handwork, though, which will mean that this chair will probably never be able to be produced in other than small runs, and in a very skilled workshop environment.
After 14 years, I have produced a little over one hundred of these chairs, a high proportion of which are overseas, mainly in the U.S.A., the U.K .and Germany, but also Switzerland, Holland, France, Hong-Kong, and Australia. They are numbered, signed and dated.
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