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129H x 129W x 129D inches, vintage chair, woven canvas, layers of plaster, cured, carved, acrylics, urethane, waxed. Functional, durable. The design on the Tree of Life Chair incorporates a few ancient, cross-cultural esoteric symbols for beliefs that still hold meaning for many of us today. The Tree of Life, a widespread mythical idea with branches and roots representing, among other things, the philosophy of “As above, So below”. Symbolic of longevity, and central to the design is the Japanese character Shou, very much resembling, and possibly originating from the shape of a tree. Stylized branches, roots and cones of the Pine, also symbolic of longevity in Japan, are interwoven in the classic Celtic style. I was also inspired by the ornate work of illuminated gospel manuscripts in “The Book of Kells”, illustrated by Irish monks around the year 800 A.D., Common Era.
Snakes are well-known as having similar religious or mystical connotations in many cultures, and two resemblances are drawn around the circumference of the chair in a familiar Yin-Yang placement. Australian Indigenous legends regard the Rainbow Snake as the most important sacred symbol; believed to be the creator of all things. Christian biblical literature advocates that the snake that offers the apple from the Tree of Knowledge to Eve. There are subtler symbolic references here as well, starting with the overall circular shape of the chair itself, and the repetition echoing within. The circle is another universal symbol, a common shape seen in nature and nature’s effects, suggests Life’s recurring cycles, unending unity and a sense of completeness.
I played with various color combinations, painting the Celtic design over and over, also carving it out in areas and trying to make it look like ivory inlay, but it never did get there until finally deciding it looked best as aged Sienna colored wood. I felt the carving outline wasn't suitable, so drywall compound was reapplied, it dried, was redrawn and repainted. Colors from those previous layers add to the depth of the faux antique patina finish.