Lately I’ve been trying to settle on a design for the Harris Tweed chairs so I took Malcolm’s advice and started doing a few sketches of the island for inspiration. I explored the colours of the land by painting over my sketches. I’m already very familiar with the Western Isles and feel like I know them well enough but this could actually make me overlook the details. Doing these sketches helped me to focus in a bit more and get into that island aesthetic.
I then went on to sketch a few chair designs, keeping the landscape in my mind. I also spoke to a few island natives and asked them how they would characterise the island – rugid; solid; dependable people; unpredictable (especially the weather); weathered; sturdy; strong; robust; reliable; warm people; colourful; always changing.
From these sketches I then went on to make a few cardboard models of a few of them. Making models is useful because it gives you a better idea of the proportions – some of the models look a little bit odd in terms of proportion but its better to realise that on a small cardboard model than on a larger scale model. It also gives you a better idea of how the structure will work and how it will be constructed.
I mentioned to Malcolm last week that the actual design of the chair was less important than what it represents and to that he suggested that maybe a stool would be just as effective. At first I was completely against that as I wanted to do something a bit more exciting than a stool – but I’m not one to just dismiss an idea without giving it a chance so I did a few sketches. While playing with varying heights of stools, a friend pointed out that different levels reminded him of one of the sketches I had done earlier (it was sitting on the desk). He was talking about the coastal sketch I had done and said that the stools made him think of the low level sea, the mid level landscape, and the higher mountain tops reaching into the sky. I really like the symbolism in that and its something I’d like to explore in more detail. I’m a bit tight for time now with the mk1 prototype due this time next week but I would like to get some time in the workshop maybe crafting a much more refined, larger scale model of one of these ideas.