I am interested in the stories that furniture can tell. With this series, I was exploring the many ways that furniture can embody those stories, and carry the memories of the owners across generations. Old patinas, signs of use and abuse, impromptu repairs, all become part of the narrative. By using found objects, unexpected materials, and antique salvage, I hoped to bring an old story to each new piece, to manufacture a memory.
After the re-election of George W. Bush in 2004, I began looking at early 19th century American furniture (especially work made between 1820-40 in New York and Baltimore) that has been called “American Empire” after the French Empire styles of Napoleon. Using the forms typical of that period, I re-imagined the furniture that might celebrate the New American Empire.
Traditionally, furniture has been identified with the king or queen in power at the time - thus, for example, “Queen Anne”, or “Louis XV” become the names we use for a particular period or style. This is a collection of furniture “portraits”, imagining a style for those monarchs who are not normally associated with furniture.
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