Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Of Beads and Thrones

When I was in Oberlin a while ago, we did a little window shopping and I was shocked, utterly shocked to see the chair of my dreams in a vitrine.

In the summer of 2007, I had purchased an O at Home magazine strictly because there was a wildly colorful beaded chair inside, residing at the apartment of Canadian editor Suzanne Boyd. (You can see it in the corner of the frame.)

The chair was from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria, and apparently is a throne. Its ornamentation (the chair was beaded from head to toe) thrilled me. I’ve looked at the magazine about once a month for . . . well, two years now!

No, I didn’t purchase the chair, partly because I’m off on a month-and-a-half journey, partly because I just bought a birthday chair a couple of weeks ago. And partly because something troubles me about the rather colonial activity of buying someone's throne. But surely I can admire it!

I was delighted to see this chair in real life and will keep it in my memory.

The artist Dale Chihuly has one:

And here’s a cut-out version:

(My favorite is the “one piece” version, or, in summer speak, the maillot rather than the bikini.)


materfamilias said...

Beautiful! Well worth the admiration.

WendyB said...


Sal said...

Gorgeous! Though I'd be afraid of inflicting damage every time I sat ...

La Belette Rouge said...

I have to tell you, I am reading "Home: A History of An Idea" by Canadian architect, professor and writer Witold Rybczynski. He has a chapter where he explains that chairs are all about art and not function. Fascinating book. I fear I am going to tell everyone about it.

Get the thrown, Queen Cavendish!:-)