Vanessa Johnston from Seattle has proved to be a versatile and prolific woodworker whose skills are matched by the quality of her designs.
She’s now turned her hand to designing and making a Sam Maloof-inspired chair which, like all her pieces, is entirely created from elm and ash, two species that aren’t native to the USA.
The front legs were attached to the seat using a complex tenon and rabbet joint, known as a Maloof joint, named after the iconic furniture designer who first designed it, and which is both a beautiful feature and provides particular strength and rigidity to the chair.
Sam Maloof is regarded as a central figure in the post-war American crafts movement. His pieces have been owned by film stars and American presidents, and his work is in several collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The chair’s back legs were sawn into strips and then laminated around a former to create a curve. The chair was then hand shaped, which involved many hours of sanding, and finished with Danish oil.
Vanessa is setting up her own company, Vanessa Johnston Woodworking, and plans to stay on in incubation space at the school after graduation.