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Today I’m shaking things up… ha ha… with a brief lesson in Shaker style furniture. I found this quote that really sums up the Shaker philosophy:
“Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.”
Shakers are a religious sect stemming from Quakers that came to America from Manchester England in 1774. They’re known for their strong beliefs in equality, life-long celibacy, and their lively worship services which earned them the name Shaking Quakers. They’re also well known for their furniture.
Shaker Tilting Chair
For the Shakers, form always follows function. Simplicity and functionality are the key principles behind their designs. The chair pictured above is long and lean with strong vertical lines, but the slight curves in the back slats soften it up a bit.
This particular chair was designed with a ball-and socket mechanism attached to the back legs so that a person could lean back without damaging the chair or the floor or rug beneath it.
I found another Shaker quote which I think is particularly inspiring:
“Do your work as though you had a thousand years to live and as if you were to die tomorrow”.
What do you think of the Shaking Quakers? Do you like their simple linear style? Do you have a Shaker-inspired piece of furniture that you love? Share with us!
Thanks Toni! We hope you enjoy this piece for many years to come!
Hello again! I hope you’re all enjoying this beautiful day! The weather is amazing, I have the door wide open here at the shop, letting in all the summery smells and warmth. ahhh…
I’ve recently re-discovered Finnish-American archictect and designer Eero Saarinen, thanks to a charming yellow tulip chair we have in the shop! When I was in art school I took a crash course in design history and I remember taking a liking to Saarinen’s futuristic, space-age looking style.
A lot of Saarinen’s work is made up of smooth forms and continuous lines, so it didn’t surprise me much to learn that he studied sculpture as a young student in Michigan. You can really see his consideration of form in his tulip chairs and table, as well as his Gateway Arch, a monument and observatory in St. Louis.
man-made monument Nerd alert: did you know that a variation of the tulip chairs were used on the set on the original Star Trek? Check it out!
Even though the Tulip chair was designed over 50 years ago they still carry that futuristic vibe, and continue to suit contemporary decor- the definition of a classic! Want to see a piece of design history for yourself? Our yellow tulip chair is for sale in the shop, come by and check it out!