We finished our week of MAKESHIFT with Crafting Design, a chair workshop hosted at Partners & Spade in New York City.

From the New York Times piece “Pull Up a Chair, Then Fix It” by Andrew Wagner:

“Last Saturday, as part of a conference called MakeShift, Natalie Chanin, the founder of the fashion label Alabama Chanin, held a workshop to rehabilitate some of these castoffs at Partners & Spade on Great Jones Street. The event, which she called Crafting Design, was dedicated to resurrecting the bent, twisted and broken remnants of what the poet David McFadden has described as ‘the most ubiquitous and important design element in the domestic environment’: the chair.”

Krrb provided found chairs for our day that were piled in front of the design studio. Guests picked through the random selection of chairs – ranging from your standard IKEA chair to retro, a leather chair, and a stool – then chose from mounds of fabric scraps, nails, stencils, and an assortment of tools to redesign them.

Among the “crafters” who attended were Tanya Aguiñiga, Cathy Bailey, Amy Devers, and Melanie Falick.

“Ms. Devers, a furniture designer and the star of ‘Fix This Yard’ on A&E, was hammering nails into the seat and back of her old Ikea chair, piling T-shirt scraps on top and carefully threading them through the nail bedding, so that the material began to take on the appearance of a colorful shag rug. One lone, loose piece from the back was left to dangle gracefully to the ground.”

Saturday’s open collaboration in the design studio reinforced MakeShift’s conversation on design, craft, and DIY.

Check out “Pull Up a Chair, Then Fix It,” by Andrew Wagner for the New York Times.  And take some time this week to refurbish some of the furniture (stuff) in your own life. Or throw your own Crafting Design party.

Andrew Wagner’s knowledge of the Bloody Mary was especially helpful to the whole design process. We suggest the following recipe from page 88 of Alabama Studio Style for your own Crafting Design event:

Serves 6-8

3 cups tomato juice (use juice leftover from canning tomatoes this summer if available – this makes all the difference in the world!)
1 cup vodka
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6-8 dashes Tobasco sauce (or to taste)
Juice of 2 limes
Olives, pickled okra, or Tomolives (pickled green cherry tomatoes) for garnish

Stir all ingredients but the garnishes together in a serving pitcher, add ice, and serve.

Thanks to A.J. Mason and Jeff Moerchen for their help in rounding up tools, coordinating chaos, helping with design/build, and for bringing a general good spirit to the day.

We are planning a Crafting Design event for our studio in Alabama.
Start collecting chairs…


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  1. Denise

    I have had a chair waiting for this very purpose for a long time. This summer I will be pulling it out and making my vision for it come to fruition!