Cork chair

Some very good friends have been collecting their wine corks for 12 years. When they showed me a basket full I said, “Hey, I can make something outta those!” They told me they had quite a few more. Approximately 2700. So I set to work. Initially I had in mind a figurative sculpture but they were luke warm to that idea. So instead I gave them the choice between two different styles of chair. One was a modern looking chair and the other a classic French Club chair. I have had a thing for leather club chairs from the ’40’s.



This project came about as a commission for our friends the Arndt’s. Years ago I became aware that they had been collecting their corks from 12 years of wine drinking. I told them immediately that I could do something magnificent with them. They had created a niche in their family room after a renovation and I was asked to create a piece of art for it. My initial idea was a figurative piece in a cork lined box. The client didn’t really care for that so I went a little more functional rout. I started with these sketches and quickly moved to a “fit” model chair. They liked the proportions with a few minor adjustments. After that I went to a 3/4 ply foundation.


Here is the process. I first made a rough “fit” chair. This helped me set the proportions. Then I made the basis chair from plywood and a luan skin. Each cork is glued and nailed in place.

Photos sourced from Google images

Over the summer I started a project with a young man from the neighborhood. He had his heart set on making a cork chair similar to the ones I had made. We made a prototype cardboard model. Then a “fit” model. Then a wooden base chair that fit him. Then we took the 3000 corks that he had collected through a series of restaurants his family visited and began covering the chair. Summer ended and the rigors of school set in. We would work on weekends picking away at the project in the corner of my studio. Now we are super close. Just the fiddly bits left. Next week we will get him over the finish line. In life every project has a beginning. The trough of despair. And the finish. This cycle builds grit and determination. It is a muscle that has to be exercised. Muddle through. You can do it!

Aaron Kramer, USA


Design, craft + the reclaimed

By exploring the intersection between the found and the fabricated in my sculptural work I seek a deeper understanding of the transcendent nature of ordinary objects. Street sweeper bristles or reclaimed hardwoods are woven over welded steel armatures creating a skin. Whether skinning an object or new ways, I am excited by the process of reinvention. At the core of this sensibility is that “trash is the failure of imagination”.

I have been working in recycled and reclaimed materials for over 20 years. While my materials may be reclaimed, Design comes first. It is my belief that for an object to be successful and Green it must first be well Designed. Second it needs to be well made, the Craft. And third, that it is made from reclaimed, recycled or green materials. I have found that even though everyone wants to be green they don’t want to be preached to. My approach recognizes that fact and presents the material as “value add” in the larger context of the work.

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