Gord Peteran’s favourites
In my conversation with Yuri Kobayashi a few weeks ago, she named Gord Peteran as her favourite Canadian maker. Gord has mixed furniture making with art for decades, and has built a critically acclaimed career out of it. With pieces in many galleries across North America, his work will continue to be seen by the public for generations.
Favourite piece you’ve made?
Peteran: Like most illusioned makers, the piece of my own work I’m most proud of would have to be my next piece. That ideal is surely what keeps us all cutting forward.
Since there is no image of that yet, I might choose my first piece. Well, perhaps not the first piece of furniture I made, but the first piece of furniture that contained some kind of conceptual rigour beyond just craft and design. I’m proud of it because:
Glenn Adamson once wrote in the catalogue “Furniture Meets Its Maker” that “When stacked one atop the other, the two objects create a curious perspectival effect, as if a single chest were both close at hand and far off in the distance.”
Favourite Canadian-made piece?
Peteran: Heidi Earnshaw and I were in a show together, which is when I first saw this object. Lovely structural transparency, honesty of craft and reserved choice of solid white oak.
Back detail reveals a very flat-footed carcass triangulation trick, with no apology necessary; a lovely single line. Her designs are consistently understated and always high quality.
But also, Rob, do you ever cover historical Canadian woodworking?
John Doan, of Sharon, Ontario, [created] “Secretary Desk” 1830 (ish) in solid bird’s-eye maple. I had the opportunity to examine this work closely. I have never seen more elegant and exacting traditional proportions throughout every aspect of such a complex piece of high-quality furniture. One of many very good examples of Pennsylvania Chippendale by this maker. Also worth noting is that it was made with hand tools only. It also appeared to me, upon very close examination, to have been originally stained red. Can you imagine!? We are such cowards now.
Favourite internationally made piece?
Peteran: Also, two choices, one old school, one young school.
Michael Hurwitz is a serious studio furniture icon and has received many awards over his career. His “Bentwood Rocking Chaise Lounge” is a deceptively complicated, yet elegant, object. It seems to float effortlessly. A studio furniture masterpiece.
Peteran: Chris Schanck is the leading-edge example of the new movement of craft-art-design trilogy. His work is challenging to witness, yet within it lies the comforting history of built furniture. Those two components are very hard to couple together, at least well. I think he does that.
If any of you’d like to suggest a Canadian maker for me to approach with these three questions, let me know. I’m always all-ears when it comes to learning more about Canadian woodworkers.