One of the simple joys in life is figuring out how to creatively solve problems that will save time, money, or resources. I recently faced one of those challenges and thought it would be a great opportunity to share with PrairieMod Monday readers.
One of the favorite seats in the little red house is this antique Limbert rocking chair. It's a quintessential Arts & Crafts era piece, made from quartersawn white oak and showing off an honest use of materials and approach to construction. Even though it is beautiful to look at, it lost its cushioned back some time ago (at least before I bought it) and is a little harsh to sit in for any length of time. So what to do?
Well, when utilizing Principles to help creatively solve challenges, start at the beginning. First, I Considered the Cost of buying a new chair (out of the question--I loved this aged beauty), having the back professionally upholstered (I'd be without it for some time and it would probably be expensive) or seeing if there was a way to have someone "crafty" and creative take a shot at the problem.
After consideration, I opted for the last route and turned to my mother to see if see could take a shot at executing a customized back cushion that we could design together. Luckily, after talking through the options and getting a feel for what could be done, she agreed to give it a try.
I told her I wanted something elegant in its simplicity; worked with the rest of the chair to achieve a unified effect; utilized the beauty of natural materials and whose form would naturally follow its function. It would also be nice if the material used could be from a sustainable source. In short, a principled solution to a challenging problem.
I know this seems like a tall order for such a little detail. But Principles, when considered and utilized correctly, make finding solutions to challenges like this easier, more fun and ultimately, much more fulfilling. I thought it would be cool to show the solution we came up with in a series of captioned photos, so that the process could be seen and enjoyed. Here goes:
After some research, my Mom found two naturally dyed, woven rag rugs that had both a fantastic textural quality and a rich, earthy brown color that unified perfectly with the existing colors found in the rocker. Using strong brown carpet thread, she stitched the two rugs together and filled the inside with some batting. The rugs thus became a simple cushion. But how to attach it to the chair?
This is where Form Becomes Function. The rocker has two natural posts at the top rail area. We didn't want to permanently attached the cushion to the chair with tacks or anything, so we decided to utilize loops to hold it in place instead. Not wasting anything, my Mom used some of the cut-off edging from the rugs and fashioned the loops from it. We measured how long to make the loops so that the cushion would hang right.
Next, everything had to trimmed, tucked-in, and sewn in. When it was all finished, all that was left to do was to hang it on the posts.
And there you have it! For less than $30.00, some ingenuity and the help of Principles we had a creative solution to the problem that works perfectly.
I really appreciated my Mom helping out with this project and it was so rewarding that we were able to design it together. Let me know if you have any questions about how this cushion was made, and I'd be happy to elaborate further! Until next week!
Photos copyright PrairieMod