Paying attention to the graphics of the grain.
When I am designing, the piece must absolutely fulfil its function, be constructed for longevity and be made to high ecological standards.
Then the question is: What state of mind will it need to evoke and what are the ergonomic and aesthetic qualities that can achieve this? How will the components relate to each other? How will the graphics of the grain affect the sense of the piece? How will it feel to be in its presence. Does the design carry an instinctive sense of rightness?
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In creating a piece of furniture I feel it is of the utmost importance to pay particular attention to the “graphics of the grain”. This consideration is one of the many qualities that define a craftsman-made piece of furniture.
Few people have a painting in their home as large as a table. The composition of the graphics of the grain within a tabletop is just as important as the composition within a painting. How the boards that make up the table top are arranged, not only is important for the composition, character and harmony, but also for the structural integrity. The craftsman needs not to only be able to predict potential movement to ensure that the top remains flat in service, but also aesthetically to consider whether the components work well together or is there an incongruity in the way the grain flows into an adjacent board?
How the shapes inter-relate within a piece is obviously important, so too is how the grain of these components inter-relate. In a frame, a frame and panel door for example, the feel and character can be dramatically changed by using sweeping grain. When vertical components are orientated so that the grain is convex this gives a curvaceous shape; or concave for a more slender, elegant flow. Similarly using a convex flowing grain within a horizontal component gives a heavier, more grounded appearance; whilst a concave grain gives a floating ascending look.
The most suitable type of grain structure of each component, based on the craftsman’s experience can initially be decided upon within the design stage, then subsequently within the selection of each board and finally where in the board the component is cut from, in order to create a harmonious piece when all the components are assembled, sometimes months later.
It is this attention and sensitivity to detail and forward planning that defines a craftsman-made piece.