Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I am not able to design contemporary furniture. No matter how hard I try to be original, as soon as my pencil hits the paper centuries of furniture design cloud my vision. That is why all the work I have produced is historical. I guess you could say I was into historical revivalism in the late 20th century.

I have also lived in Paris and travelled around Europe on many different trips, all expensed as "business". Sometimes I travel with my wife, but usually I travel alone. She likes the country; I like the city. So, even when we travel together, the schedule of activities is the subject of often heated discussion.

A few years ago, to celebrate our anniversary (don't ask me which one...), I offered to take a trip with her that was "not business". That meant I was not to visit museums, dealers, suppliers, antique shops, and would be forced to lavish all my attention on her needs. I know she appreciates what a sacrifice this was for me.

To make it interesting, we purchased Eurorail passes and I told her that all our gear must fit into one backpack, which I would carry. That would leave her free to enjoy the trip, and carry the water bottle that she never is without. No plans, no route determined, no reservations, no limitations at all. If we liked the area, we would stay days, if not we moved on down the road.

Well, we LOVED Florence, so we stayed. Found a nice place just in the center and enjoyed the Botero exhibit which was on the plaza at the Uffizi Museum. (I admit, she enjoys museums as much or more than I do.) How we talked our way into the museum for free ahead of a 2 hour wait line is another story.

While having the most amazing lasagna in the world at ZaZa's one evening, I couldn't help thinking about my Quilt Tilt table. While my lovely wife was talking to me about something (I forget) I was thinking about how I had to make two tables to show both surfaces of the marquetry design. Would it be possible for me to make a table which had two surfaces? A table which would show both tops in a new and creative way? What about pivoting the top on the corners so it could spin along a horizontal axis? What about spinning it at the same time along a vertical axis? How would that work?

By dessert, I had rejoined my wife's conversation with me and kept secret the new design I had worked out in my head. A quick sketch on a scrap of paper preserved the idea for me to develop when I returned after the trip.

Thus I created the RockeTable. Cut out of sawn veneer (purpleheart) and pewter, using the same quilt design as before, I engineered a mechanical system out of aluminum and covered it with more purpleheart. This system provided arms which rotate along a vertical axis, like a lazy Susan system. The top is fixed at two corners on pivots which allow it to rotate 360 degrees along a horizontal axis, so either side could be on top.

If you look at the four photos, you can see the different aspects of this table when it is set up in each mode. After over 40 years of working on period furniture, this is the first "original" design I have produced. It is not for sale.

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