Wharton Esherick’s work inspired the craftsmanship of many of the 20th Century’s top studio furniture makers – the most iconic of which probably was Sam Maloof. The reason he inspired so many (and continues to inspire makers today) was because his work was an extension of his being. When you look at an Esherick piece you are seeing some of his mind, his mood and his unique view of his surroundings.
Although Esherick lived and worked at the end of the Arts & Crafts movement, he was a quintessential product of that era. He grew up and matured during a cultural rebellion against industrialization. For many, life had become too mass produced; too artificial. Their solution was to completely create (or hire someone to do it for them) their environment – they built their homes and all the furnishings within. Oddly, they often did it in ways that mimicked their friends, family and neighbors. Esherick, however, saw his environment differently. It is his different vision that has made his work, his life and his personal environment so unique.
Sweeping curves and twists as well as abstract “natural” embellishments run through much of Esherick’s work (Fig. 1). The music stand embodies that same sense of nature and movement present in all of his work. While the stand is one of his more symmetrical pieces, you still can see how, when viewed from any angle except directly from the front, Esherick has captured a natural imbalance.
In the first part of this project, I walked you through the design and planning stages of making this music stand as the sheet-music frame took shape. The joinery methods used were not complicated, but they easily provided a challenge for anyone looking to expand their skills. (Fig. 2)
The second part of the construction is more sculptural in nature, however, the joinery (while being a bit more complex) is still pretty straight forward. In the video that follows there are more than a few tips to simplify the processes by which the stand reaches completion.