A homage to Sam Maloof: Henry's Olive Ash Rocking Chair
A Homage to Sam Maloof, Henry's Olive Ash Rocking Chair.
Some students come to course wanting to make furniture only of their own design. While other students are happy to make furniture inspired by other makers for what it will teach them in terms of process and technique. Some students choose to do both.
Student, Henry Baltesz chose to make a Sam Maloof inspired rocking chair as his final project on our full time furniture designer maker course. As you can see from the images of Henry's chair above, the result was absolutely spectacular.
Sam Maloof is acknowledged as one of the finest woodworkers of our time and a leader of the California modern arts movement until his death in 2009. You can read more about Sam Maloof here: http://www.malooffoundation.org/about
This style of rocking chair is one of the most popular styles that Sam Maloof made and Maloof’s rocking chairs were highly esteemed by two presidents – Reagan and Carter. Maloof made his rocking chairs most often in walnut, but here, Henry has made it in a beautiful Olive Ash with some Walnut detail on the rails.
While making the chair, Henry's project also inspired our American student (Maurice) to visit Sam Maloof’s house while he was back in the States. You can see more of Sam Maloof’s incredible house here http://www.malooffoundation.org/visit. Sam’s home was hand built by Sam and his assistants over 40 years. It is an exceptional finely crafted wooden house, with hand crafted details right down to the door latches and hinges. The house is situated in Alta Loma, California.
Getting back to Maloof inspired rocking chairs….
We do encourage our students to have a go at making a chair, as chairs are one of the more challenging items for aspiring furniture makers to produce.
A Sam Maloof inspired rocking chair is quite high on the spectrum of challenging chairs to make, and as such, I think Henry felt this was a good project in terms of the amount that he learnt from it. It was also a project that allowed quite a lot of freedom in terms of the shaping, much of which Henry shaped by eye.
It’s a very successful final project, and importantly, we’ve all tried the chair for comfort! We are tough critics, but we can safely say it’s one of the comfiest chairs we’ve ever sat in. We are just sad that we can’t keep it for ourselves!
Why not head over to our Instagram page to see more images and footage of Henry making the Sam Maloof inspired rocker?