Chairful – Signing Off

Halla Hannesdottir is currently the Resident Armchair Artist at The Beaney in Canterbury. 

Hello there,

Today I am writing from my hometown of Reykjavik, Iceland and this will be my last blog post about my residency at the Beaney. Those three months went by so quickly – but I tried my best to see the surrounding areas and explore beautiful Canterbury while I called it my home.

Since it’s my last blog I’d like to share with you some of the beautiful miniature pieces from the Beaney’s collection which served as inspiration for my Chairful Project. When I visited the Beaney for the first time I was drawn to two themes within the museum, the curiosity cabinets and the miniature and was quite torn about which one to work with, in fact, before I visited the museum I was sort of set on working within the first theme of the Wunderkammer. But as so often happens you’ve just got to let time pass and see what your instincts tell you.

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I quickly got lost in exploring the many items within the miniature collection at the Beaney – each shelf in the display has been decorated as a room, a kitchen, office or living room. The rooms are of course filled with furniture pieces. Some of my favourite pieces looked handmade and had little quirks or imperfections – like this night stand table on feet that look so wobbly it seems the table could come alive walk away.

These little quirks were what initially inspired the sketching process for Chairful with special emphasis on hand drawing but not technical drawings. The hand drawn lines will never be perfectly straight, so interpreting the lines with their “faults” into a miniature piece always meant that the model would be quite different and have its own personality. After realising this potential of taking the personal touch of both the idea of a sketch and seeing the difference in the way it’s drawn I thought it would be perfect to get other people involved – as the personality of the models was what I was really looking for.

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So I decided to see if people would get involved and put their ideas on paper and sketch a chair. The decision about only making chairs instead of other types of furniture pieces was mainly due to the fact that I wanted the final collection to look coherent – and focusing on one shape would be the best solution. As I said in my last post, I could not be happier with the amount of people that participated in the project, and the sketches they drew! The chairs that were submitted were so inventive and I feel they really fit into the playful world of the miniature where the need for imagination exceeds function and utility.

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For those who didn’t manage to see the final outcome at the Beaney a few weeks ago I’m very pleased to tell you a selection of the miniatures will be up for display for a while in the new year! So keep your eyes open and go see if your drawing was made into a miniature model.

And thanks again to the Beaney and it’s staff for having me these past three months, it has been an absolute blast and I will definitely be coming to visit next time I’m in the UK.

And finally – I hope everybody is having a wonderful holiday and wish everyone a happy and exciting 2016!

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