In addition to being royal thrones and pieces of architecture and sculptures on display, for the most part chairs are practical, useful, and common pieces of furniture. The basics include potty chairs, high chairs, lawn chairs, folding chairs and rocking chairs. If you want to make an elite statement, the Chippendale chairs continue to be the popular, collectible and outlandishly expensive choices.
Times change, and tastes in chairs—and thinking—also change. As Jean Kerr wrote, “When the grandmothers of today hear the word ‘Chippendales’, they don’t necessarily think of chairs.”
My mother and I have always loved chairs of all kinds. One of my favorite expressions I heard her say, as well as my grandmother, an aunt, and several older neighbors say, was “Come on in and sit a spell.” What I loved best about the invitation was the word “spell.” Of course it meant to sit awhile, but to me it also cast a spell and became something magical. Being with friends, sharing conversation, ideas, and cookies with iced tea, hot tea or coffee created a special moment in time.
Which is why, for me, the best spell-casting chairs are created by hand. And to make these four chairs below extra special, they are all from the children’s section at the Chapman, KS library when I was there recently. To my way of thinking, when you combine excited young readers with happy, creative chairs, you create magic. As author Stephen King said, “You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.”
As H.Jackson Brown Jr. wrote: “A true friend encourages us, comforts us and supports us like a big easy chair, offering us a safe refuge from the world.”
This first week of May, I hope we’ll all be aware of the gentle rocking chairs in our lives, the given-new-life hand-painted chairs, and the true friends who encourage, comfort and support us, offering safe refuge from the world.