Studio furniture: knowing through doing

RadtkeStill buzzing from the ideaFestival last week, I wanted to end this week with an example of conceptual and physical innovation.

The work you see here is by Charles Radtke, a studio furniture maker in Wisconsin that I admire.

In the picture, take notice of the five-sided leg, the stepped post that looks to have been gently flared at the top and the hammered end grain. Notice, too, the slim and elegant hand-cut half-dovetail joinery in the drawer and the substantial drawer front. Soak in the image. Taking time to really observe it will reveal a high degree of technical proficiency and intellectual energy typical of accomplished makers in the functional arts.

I admire Charley because he's a sawyer, completely self-taught and doesn't work from plans of any sort, a start-to-finish process that I enjoy in my wood shop - with far less impressive results. And as an amateur philosopher, I find his work a fitting example of knowing through doing. It's the kind of sense-making that takes up residence in the shoulders, back, arms and hands of skilled craftspeople.

Thanks Charley for the permission to use the image. I hope you can make the ideaFestival next September!

Have a great weekend all,

Wayne