Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life of a Saluki Architecture Grad Student

By John Svast

In 1567, during the late Ming Dynasty in China, a ban on imported hardwoods was lifted
that sparked new design and joinery techniques among furniture makers in China. Previously,
furniture craftsmen utilized softwoods along with heavy lacquer and paint to assemble beautiful
classical Ming dynasty style furniture for patrons. Once the hardwood import was lifted, the
designers were able to create forms that before were never able to be devised. During this late
Ming period, The classic form was retained but the use of lacquer and paints to add ornament
were stripped away leaving the grain of the hardwood and classic form to stand alone.

I propose for my non-western structure project, to recreate a late Ming dynasty piece of
furniture with the design principles of that time. I will spend time in the SIUC-SOA woodshop to
create this piece of furniture using modern tools for the recreation. If I use any form of
ornamentation, it will be that of the Ming dynasty. I would like to use authentic lumber in the
process to create this furniture but due to monetary constraints I may be forced to use locally
acquired lumber to achieve this task. The final test of this furniture will not only be its aesthetic
and form but also to be structural sound enough to carry the weight of its designer and builder,
myself. This will be of no small task, for in my past, due to my large size in person and
personality, I have fell a many unfortunate pieces of furniture. I look forward to this task and hope
that my backside and gravity don’t win another round in a cosmic battle of furniture testicular

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