Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Custom of 'custom' furniture.

Designing and making 'custom furniture' can be like playing music by ear, a spontaneous creative act; every new order is a harmonized balance of client needs, location, function, dimensions, budget, time, suitable wood and its proper use, color, grain, construction techniques, available tools, etc.
All of these and more are weighed, implemented, and brought to a finished whole; and if successful, attain a balance that pleases the client.
Like other art forms, this is a combination of personal, pre-existing style, and the inspiration in immediate circumstance.
What is more uncommon in much custom design work however,is being truly 'custom.' The overall tendancy is to pre-determined or personal expression, and not so to allowing or orchestrating the expressions of environment, of medium, of others, of nature, of the moment.
A great potential exists, not in accustomed and self-willed expression, or personal projection, but in being a kind of conduit which perceives the inherent value of all involved factors, and choreographs their blended and original composition.
The ability to do this comes from the successive use of our vital six senses (including the mind;) which are all really "listening" senses, for perceiving outer information - not senses of projection. A long and sensitive life in nature required refined senses, for listening.
Much furniture of the world is apparently designed with priority to form, dervative of individual expression, or mental ideas, and not often from pragmatic, natural, or medium-oriented inspirations - the latter of which usually retain a greater timeless quality.
While learning how to "read" and use wood, (and not only how to work it,)from Japanese shokunin, or professional craftsmen, I became aware of a 'selfless' way of thinking, designing, and composing work which emphasizes the many other qualities involved; along with your own preferences or accumulated style. This may also have much to do with Japanese customs and tradition, but not entirely I think.
My hope is that these 'other' qualities, and a natural feeling can be felt in the furniture pieces that I am entrusted to create. I am as pleased to put my work in the care of the client as I was in making them. The greatest satisfaction in this work comes from having the real value in a piece of wood find realization, without waste, and then be appreciated for its own qualities.
Please feel free to contact me. Russell Jokela