MOJOWORKIN: This is a popular design of mine. It is made entirely of stacked plywood. This chair is as comfortable as they come. It seats you low to the ground and at a comfortable recline. This is an entirly original chair design. You won’t find it in a friends home unless it comes from my shop. These have shipped out as far as Dubai. That customer purchased six to form a sitting parlor. These are heavy chairs; about 25 lbs. They come in natural or ebony. They are finished with 5 coats of satin lacquer.
I build and design rocking chairs, rocking ottomans, kids’ rockers, quilts and crib bedding. Custom orders are my focus, and many people send me their own fabrics and choose their own wood finishes, so the customer is always involved in the design process. This is much more exciting and rewarding than shopping at a big-box store!
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started woodworking in 2003 and developed an interest in rocking chairs when a friend brought me an antique family heirloom rocker to repair. I was hooked on rocking chairs. Later I learned to sew and found that went hand-in-hand with my upholstery work.
I’ve always been a creative person, writing, drawing and building things since I was a child.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
My partner Matt suggested it, because he feels sometimes I am a bit “off my rocker”! I was going to call my business “Franks Fine Furniture” but he said that sounded stuffy, and his idea was much better anyways. Sometimes you have to listen to your better half!
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I mostly work alone on my customer orders, but sometimes I engage my partner Matt to help out with cutting fabrics and painting, and I am always bouncing new design ideas off him. Matt looks after my website and clerical work, freeing me to concentrate on building rockers.
It is important to take breaks from work and so I make time for simple pleasures like bike rides and day trips.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I have tried numerous venues to sell my work, including local craft shows, word of mouth, blogging, Ebay, Etsy and my website. By far the most successful venue is my stand-alone e-commerce website, where I can showcase my rockers and other items to a very large market.
What inspires and motivates you?
I get excited when I can build a custom chair for a new customer, and esp. when they received their new rocker and tell me how much they love it. Every customer’s order is different and unique, so this keeps my work fresh. It’s a great feeling knowing I’ve built an item that will be someone’s treasured heirloom
What do you wish I had asked you?
“Do you think people still appreciate hand-made quality?”
My answer would be absolutely yes! I’ve had tons of people tell me they were delighted to find my website and were happy to buy something unique and made with care just for them
A pleasing form by Farzan Nemat.
name design studio
Retro style handmade armchair upholstered with best quality fabrics with beautiful combination of the lovely colors. Thai Hmong fabrics, floral printed fabrics and Turkish velvet fabrics are used in upholstering the armchair. The wood construction and the foam rubber are brand new. The frame is made of kiln dried hardwood. Very comfortable and lovely piece suitable for homes, offices, cafes etc.
Hosting the 2010 World Cup is a tremendous accomplishment for this complex region, hopefully the excitement of the moment will continue to inspire economic growth and social change. The growth of the handmade industry is also taking root, with traditional African artistry becoming globally relevant. Enock Mpofu is a fine artist who grew up in public housing in the slums of Zimbabwe, where he shared a tiny apartment with his seven family members. Now Mpofu is an internationally recognized artist whose fine beadwork results in these dazzling creatures, each animal reflects the beauty of its living inspiration. Each piece is signed by the artist and numbered.
Aid to Africans is an international non-profit organization that uses craft to spur economic development, and one of their artisans is the collective Feeling African. Based in Soweto, Feeling African produces wire furniture that has been nationally acclaimed (Elle Décor recently featured this table.) Furniture ranges from side tables, coffee tables, stools and bowls. Feeling African also creates custom made pieces.
Wola Nani was established in 1994 as a non-profit organization aiding people and communities impacted by HIV. Historically women bear the brunt of the global HIV pandemic. They have limited resources to help when this disease comes into their lives. Wola Nani is an art collective offering women a way to earn income, even in a time of crisis. In the Xhosa language, Wola Nani means “we embrace and develop one another”. These papier mache bowls are handmade by local women in South Africa who are dealing with HIV.
**If you happen to be visiting Johannesberg in August, you can stop by the South African Handmade Collection event taking place from the 5th-9th.