Songs from the wood: mahogany, ladder, willow light and willow dark

Maxine Naylor

Research output: Other contribution


'Songs from the Wood' visually explores the cultural content of furniture artefacts. It is an experimental investigation of the relationship between two seating typologies, the stool and the chair. Informed by Naylor‘s earlier research concerning timber as an advanced material, the installation comprises four hybrid forms that are partly industrial and partly natural. The seats are realised with the technologies of industrial carpentry and ply, while the backs are formed from willow or solid wood. The seat forms are architectural in reference with an internal space to be explored, while the backs have diverse identities derived from their material or other furniture references. The radical and original juxtaposition of the seat and back of the forms is conceptually and historically referenced to the Windsor chair. The Windsor chair was classified as a stool because of its innovative construction, which placed the back on top of the seat and was not an integral extension of the back legs, the then-accepted formal definition of a chair. It exploited this relationship economically, as at the time chairs were taxed, stools were not. Originally from the Thames and Chiltern region, it was a highly successful contemporary export. The Windsor chair has been extensively re-produced encompassing a variety of quality and integrity to the extent that it is now ‘invisible’, as are many vernacular chairs. 'Songs from the Wood' was developed at the invitation of Tass Mavrogordato, Director of Contemporary Applied Arts (CAA), for an exhibition of work from distinguished CAA members across the disciplines of ceramics, glass, paper silver, textiles and wood. The group exhibition offered insights into larger-scale innovative works by key makers: Felicity Aylieff, Vladimir Bohm, Sara Brennan, Elizabeth Fritsch, Matthew Harris, Danny Lane, Maxine Naylor, Peter Niczewski, Anna Raymond, Bruno Romanelli and Lucien Taylor.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherContemporary Applied Arts, London
Place of PublicationLondon, UK
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2005


  • Artifacts
  • Hybrid furniture
  • Chair


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