Sunday, September 14, 2008

kitchen couch

this time i brought out the hazard team.

my couch didn't stand a chance.

i am kind of endlessly fascinated by the insides of things. taking it down to the springs, coiled and held in tight, made and makes me feel like the kind of craftsperson who would know what to do with a bellows or a last or a strop or some other manner of old school mechanism that no one uses anymore. elderly metal and burlap and twine - now that the horsehair, funky padding, and straw are gone, i am passionately, burningly in love with this couch.

when i was younger, i took everything apart. everything. pens, calculators, cameras, etc. i think if i had been a boy, i would have been encouraged to take apart things like cars, bikes, radios - the sorts of things that have a ton more moving pieces, that you need precision and memory and skill to put back together and make functional. instead, i went the cooking/sewing/bookbinding route. i won't say that couches aren't fundamentally seen as women's work, but i love finding out the secrets of construction too much to care.

besides, while it would really help me to learn how a bike goes back together (a LOT, actually, as my own bike crapped out as i was riding down mass ave today), i don't own a car and i don't care much for radios. this is what engages me; women's work or not, it's too cool for me to get offended. i am also hoping to learn some woodworking; perhaps i will give up and make my own midcentury-inspired coffee table. (craigslist is disappointing me.) what about kidney shaped butcher block?

i almost want to let the bones breathe for a while; they are so beautiful. that is what i will be going back to on monday; my coworker will help me with the wood, and then i'll diagram out the way the couch needs to go back together, do it, and that will be that. i meant to do that tonight, but i am pretty sleepy. i took pictures at every stage, though, and it's pretty self-explanatory, so i'm not too afraid anymore.

it is amazingly empowering to know that you can take something like this apart and understand it. granted, i haven't put it back together YET, so i should probably zip the lip on this. but i have an incredible sense of accomplishment right now. and i'll enjoy this couch so much more because i haven't cut any corners, because i'm doing it the right way, and because i fully understand what's going into everything that i am doing. if i needed to, i could restring those springs. i maybe couldn't intuit the shape and tension necessary to build the wooden frame yet - but maybe that's the direction i'll go in next. anything to have this kind of raw beauty, to work it with my hands.

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