A chair points to sitting.
Sitting points to stillness.
And stillness is all that remains.
I've made this chair to demonstrate my interest in the process of learning, particularly the learning I see by my son, Elias.
As an adult I had convinced myself that the idea of learning was an academic task, a process that initially requires a mentally critical nature prior to a physically playful one.
As I've grown older I imagined that a task should be turned over in ones mind prior to manipulating it in ones hands. Since birth, Elias has reminded me that this is simply not true and have learnt through my own insecurities that I've held knowledge in higher regard than i have held experience.
Of course the importance of mental activity is continually twinned with the physical experiences we have, yet i feel in an ever increasing virtual world the essential value of physical investigation can become lost.
The strength of will to consistently play within the parameters of any given task, instead of resorting to a mental dance that sparks conceptual difficulties before the experience, will enable a perspective that is more present and environmentally realistic in its results. There are many occasions where in our virtual world the mind plays an invaluable role, but in this instance I’m wanting to place the importance of what being present in a task means for our bodies and how much there is to learn from that experience.
The world is full of things, some elegant, some clumsy; yet all are somehow accurate to the intention of the hand of the maker. That is not to say these things are well intentioned or have an obvious beauty, rather that they are how they are, objective gauges from which we take our position.
Nature offers itself as testament to the balance between effort and intention, as all nature can only be as it is. The effort of man to change nature, (turning night to day with streetlight, or by the embankment of a river), is remarkable but also can have a continually negative effect on our environment in every sense of the word. Nature is always accurate and ultimately correct without intention as it holds no ego in matters of construction.
Beauty is a different question. Beauty does comply with accuracy and altered states too, yet it is simply perspective that makes a position of beauty something of note, and I would find it difficult to argue the judgement of ones beauty against another.
I believe our capacity for learning doesn't diminish as we grow to find our place in the world.
It may appear to do so as our interests pull the focus of our thoughts, and our intellectual gaze is played out over our story of who we think we are, and who we want to be.
I have come to see that it is difficult to go and look in another direction after we have decided our story or character.
As we establish our place in this world something happens as we begin to feel certain pressures from society. We believe time is short, we limit our field of vision and apply simple conditions to the success of our ambitions.
Yet as children we didn't do this. Children don't hold the shallow narrowing of vision in any regard as initially they simply don't hold the language that would describe it.
This chair is not to be an illustration of how ‘we’ learn or to construct an image of learning, rather it is to show the appreciation I have for Elias as a teacher and how I have become aware of the complexity in seemingly simple developments he experiences life.
This process for me has not been about making a new ‘product’, or something that hasn't been seen before. Rather it is about pointing the user towards the awareness of being present as they use it.
A mantra is often used when thoughts disturb the practitioner during the act of meditation.
It is a key which allows one to realise that thoughts have arisen and it is they who occupy the mind instead of the mantra.
After this realisation, practitioner simply allows the mantra come back to the front of the mind and to replace the thoughts as they drift away.
This practice gradually enables you to hold a clearer head, one that is often masked by the many active thoughts we experience in our daily lives.
Just as the mantra is there to bring soft attention back into your meditation, I intend the Ma chair to bring your attention to the act of its use.
A chair for sitting
It should not strive for your attention, rather its there to enable the act of pausing from movement, and bring significance to the space that surrounds you in the given act of sitting.
This is a simple proposition yet sitting and allowing oneself just to sit feels like it has become a little lost in doing. Sitting often signifies the beginning of a task not the task itself.
I want you to live with this chair, get used to its weight as it gets used to yours.
Become aware of your body and how it is staged in its position, comfortable or uncomfortable, as you make this connection you have begun to place you attention on the essence of why I've made the chair, you become aware of the present moment. In a sense it can be seen as tool to engage with ones body.
So in a sense this is not something 'inspired' by my son, rather it is inspired by the world my son has pointed out to me, he has been the key to the world as a door.
The ma chair is only available from the studio directly, so please get in touch if you'd like more information about sizing and availability. each one is numbered with a certificate of authenticity which will be signed by myself.
The chair in the photographs is made from ash wood, other sustainable woods are also available on request.
Each object is made by myself and to order so depending on the situation may take a few weeks to produce and postage is arranged on an individual basis.
If you'd like to find out more information about the chair or other projects please send me a message using the form.
Thank you for spending time here