Years ago I saw a print or a postcard of a Rothko painting. Just two squares of color and I scoffed and thought what's the big deal- any one can do this.
I was so wrong. I was in DC on business and while exploring the city I saw a Rothko up close and personal and the feeling it evoked were immense. I was completely overwhelmed. It was an amazing experience and I never said I could do that again, well, in reference to art that is!
While everything in my house is dear to me it isn't precious. My furniture is functional and meant to be used, but I also love good design.
There are certain things that I adore, like my Eames plywood molded chair, because I appreciate the story. These chairs came about because Eames had been given a government grant to create splints in WWII. Before Eames created the plywood molded splints that cradled the leg and provided support the splints were made out of metal. I can't even imagine the pain. After the war he used the same process to create a new type of chair.
Having an original means a lot to me because it represents the spirit and the history of the designer. I'll admit that I did get a wicked good deal on my vintage chair though!
Or the Bertoia chairs that I have in my dining room. Bertoia worked with metal and wanted to create a chair that "[is} mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."
I appreciate a slight yield, lightness of weight, some motion if possible, because in moving about, the human body determines… the comfort and the measurements of its environment… the human measure is still the strongest factor. But coming back to the chair, there are certain motions we go through - we like to lean back, like to toss things - and if the chair’s adaptable it responds and it’s almost like wearing a comfortable coat; you really don’t know you have it on- Bertoia
At the same time I have a workbench that was made by my grandfather out of scrap pieces of wood. That workbench, like my Eames and Bertoia chairs, is built to last.
So next time you see something with a high price tag, especially if it is handmade, think about the design and the craft and the care that goes into making it. If a piece is out of your reach then keep an eye on ebay or craigslist. Every piece of furniture in my house, except for my sofa and coffee table, are used or vintage.