Monday, November 27, 2006


On the way to work this morning, I spied this designer chair sitting on the kerbside, together with a pile of junk. I stopped and took in the sight. It was a chrome-framed chair with black leather seat and back. I forget who designed it- Corbusier? The seat was stained with paint but the chrome frame looked impeccable from my quick review. I carried on walking to work, wondering if I should have lugged it back, after all the other 70s dining chair which I've gleaned earlier, was starting to be somewhat wobby. However, I figured that if I stripped the chair of its stained leather seat, I would not be able to put in a canvas seat strong enough to take a person's weight without a sewing machine or industrial stapler to hold the cloth together. So I banished the notion and within 15 minutes, completely forgot about it.

However on the way back, the chair was still sitting there. I took a second look and started thinking perhaps I wouldn't need to strip the seat out. I could clean it up really well and then sew a piece of cover over it. That would solve the aesthetic problem and still ensured that no one would fall through sitting on a poorly-held together seat (made by me).

And so, I walked on by, deciding to make the trip back after dinner. So after a hot dinner of beef stew and soy and linseed bread, I made some more advancement in my fledgling career as a "gleaner" (so far, 2 chairs, 1 succulent bonsai, 4 cacti in pretty teacups and 2 milk crates, I am a little bit more hesitant about picking up bruised fruit and vegetables although I have been sorely tempted by a mango rolling by my foot the other day at the market). I rescued the chair from the heap, it was really in a good condition, frame-wise. When I got home, I rubbed a damp cloth on the leather and discovered what I had originally thought were paint stains were actually plaster marks, so that came off quickly. There were a few paint stains and the leather was worn in several places where the frame had rubbed against it. But generally it felt more stable than my old dining chair. A quick google search informed me that the designer was Mart Stam (1899-1986) or at least "in the style of" Mart Stam.

Gleaning is not a bad word, there are some goodies out there waiting to be rescued and put to good (re)use. All it takes is a sharp eye and some imagination.


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