I found the little antique chair when I was searching for useful things at the Habitat store. She sat bravely amongst other would-be treasures, looking lonely, broken and forlorn. She had seen better days. The caned seat was tied 'round and 'round but not safely secured to the seat's frame with green cotton string. The slats where the caning would have been threaded had broken away from the frame, which needed to be re-glued in four places. It was obvious to me that the reason antique dealers hadn't snapped her up was because she was no longer restorable.
But this little lady had once been loved. She was cherry or mahogany, and appeared in my unprofessional opinion to have been made at least 70 or 80 years ago. And though she was quite rickety, the old girl still had a grace and character that only comes with age.
A piece of tape was slapped on her back. "$8", it said. Was she worth that much? I took her down, wiggled her about mercilessly, just as my husband Bill had taught me to do with old chairs. I deemed her hopeless.
I had to save her.
Loading her onto my cart, I brought the little chair up front, noticing an "Everything in Store 25% off Today" sign along the way. Now she was a six dollar chair. Well, she was worth every penny of six dollars!
I expected Bill to shake his head in disgust when he saw the broken little chair. After all, buying broken chairs is one of the Seven Deadly Sins of Housekeeping, according to Bill.
Of course, I had talked her up nicely first. I told him that she was probably a genuine, bonified antique children's dining chair, and needed but a little gluing and a piece of wood screwed onto her seat's frame to make her perfect.
Silently, my husband took her from the back of my car, placing her on the concrete driveway. He wiggled her about, just as I had. Saying nothing, he carried the little chair up the stairs and into our living room. He liked her.
She now sits contentedly in front of a sunny glass door. The sun's rays dance about her, slipping between the delicate woven caning and the graceful turned legs, and onto the floor below, casting patterned shadows.
I bought my first bunch of tulips for the year. I placed them in an antique vase brought from my parent's house and decided I must photograph them, using the new old chair as part of my set up.
I was not disappointed in her, my friend. She is absolutely gorgeous when dressed in tulips with a fringed turquoise scarf.
I took photos with back lighting, as is the painting requirement for my LongShadow Series. Then I proceeded to take pictures from above, from the side, with dogs, without dogs, with the cat, from this angle and that. I removed the flowers and placed other things on her lap.
She looked beautiful, no matter what she was wearing.
I've decided I'm not going to screw a new seat over the broken caning now. The shadows on the floor insist that I preserve the pretty little chair as she is. Yet she must be protected from the cat, the dogs, or the unsuspecting grandchild. A cushioned cover with a hard base that I can tie on shall grace her lap instead. Then when I want to use her for the next photos, she'll be ready.