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Quaker Valley Project
This 6 month project was designed and realized by Terry Bostwick during 2002-2003. The project employed many talented Portland furniture makers as subcontractors.
After an extensive internet search a Manhattan design firm selected Bostwick from a number of furniture designers around the U.S. This selection was determined by his unique style, one that was most suited for the architecture of a new private lodge being built in Upstate New York. Thematically the intention was to imply an elegant and stylized view of woven tree branches one sees while looking overhead into the sky through the trees.
Happy Valley Project
An ongoing project, designed and constructed over a period of years, for a residence in Portland, Oregon, showcasing Terry Bostwick's extensive veneer and inlay capabilities. The project began as one piece and developed over time into many sections including a media cabinet, two office suites, and a game room table and accessories. Clearly a wonderful representation of the trusting designer/client relationship that developed over time.
Lake Grove Project
This was an interesting commission where the design developed out of a collaboration with a wonderful client who is both a collector and artist herself. The initial thematic request was for a dining table with a ‘forest of trees’ as the base, with an unusual top. The design process included exposing the client to the use of steel as a table top surface. The laser cut plate steel is polished and patinaed using a unique process developed by Bostwick which results in a rich and beautiful array of colors through the chemical process.
QUEEN ANNE DINING ROOM PROJECT
This Queen Anne Dining Room project includes the table, chairs, and server/sideboard. It includes some extraordinarily beautiful crotch cut mahogany veneer, matched throughout, with a unique two color black and white inlay, specially designed and engineered for this project. Bostwick uses traditional veneer techniques, carefully selecting veneers from all over the world. Thoughtfully cutting and piecing the veneer to create the most interesting matches enhances the beauty of the design and offers the client the opportunity to truly experience the use of veneer for its beautiful possibilities.
The Gig Harbor Residence
This custom furniture project is a contemporary approach to the Greene and Greene Style of furniture. Terry Bostwick built and designed most of the furniture for this beautiful Gig Harbor, Washington residence, which included 43 pieces of furniture in almost every room in the house. Bostwick had the help of many talented Portland furniture makers, as subcontractors, necessary for a project of this magnitude. Bringing in this kind of talent allows Bostwick to take on larger projects that can be realized within a more reasonable period of time than a small studio can handle.
Thematic work for me is an exploration of an ‘idea’. As a painter or sculptor I work in a series form - one piece may stand alone, but a body of work represents the opportunity to not only offer a more complete explanation of the ‘idea’, but gives me the opportunity to let the ‘idea’ fully develop. It gives my customers an understanding of how this theme might look in many different pieces of furniture. I found through the years that it wasn’t just a style I was after so much as the opportunity to fully realize the idea or image I was enamored with.
What you will find in this section of my site are a number of ‘ideas’ developed - as furniture, each becomes a style. As a grouping they complete a room. Many ideas for commissioned work derived from these specualtive explorations. Many of these pieces are still available and for sale.
1. SLAB SERIES
My most recent work is based on the stylization of the natural geologic rock formations found in the Columbia Gorge. Having spent 30 years doing extensive exploration throughout Oregon, both in hiking and for many years as an avid whitewater kayak enthusiast I have been watching this phenomenal natural occurrence, these tubular columns created by lava flow. The layers, the depth, the way light plays on all the surfaces has always been a natural architectural resource for me, an amazing resource to explore as architecture. This exploration has led also to a visual sensitivity for natural layering, skree deposits, decay and even the detritus left from bomb blasts or earthquakes. As the slabs slough off natural abstractions occur, falling they layer wonderfully in a gestural way.
2. NUVO SERIES
As a young furniture maker I followed my nose, followed the trends, did whatever suited my fancy or more pointedly my customers. This gave me a great opportunity to learn how to design from someone else's resources, someone else's ideas. I realized though that as an artist I wasn’t satisfied with the status quo and the acceptable, and as a furniture maker I found myself equally bored with with what everyone else was doing. Thus began my exploration into the history of furniture, beginning with that rock or stump on the side of the path. Low and behold I found continuity to why my predecessors made what they made, why trends and styles occurred. Along that path I found Art Nouveau and Art Deco furniture which happened in the late 19th Century into the mid 20th Century in Europe. Truly some of the most amazing design and craftsmanship of all time - The Decorative Arts Period.
Louis Majorelle, Hector Guimard, the Jugenstihl movement and others of their time, sought “to transcend all aspects of nature and to recreate its forms while staying within an artistic framework was the creative desire of the turn-of- the century designers.” - Lloyd Macklowe and Barbara Macklowe "LOUIS MAJORELLE, MASTER OF ART NOUVEAU DESIGN"
Here you will find my contemporary interpretation, my homage, to these extraordinary artists of the past.
3. ANIMAL/PLANT BASED SERIES
As I worked through my ideas from the Nuvo series I realized the visual relationship between furniture form and plants and animals. The natural grace and symmetry of a growing spreading plantform, or the gesture in the movement of animals became a new inspiration for thought. This elegance all around us became my design obsession for a period and led me through gesture into the observance even of how skin wraps a bone or the stretch and contraction of a tendon. The use of ‘black’ as color removed the work just enough to draw more attention to the design rather than an insistence on wood as the only resource for beauty. The occassional reaction to the ‘black’ at times became a stigma, a connotation to overcome, thus an exploration of ‘white’. I used metal as ornamentation, common historically and called “ormolu”, led me to the beauty of steel and forging and patinas. My sense of humor, subtle as it might seem at first glance, became important to the design - the work was becoming l
ess furniture driven and more conceptually intended.
My studies with furniture historically led me to the realization that the human body for many designers of the past has always had a close interaction not only with the use of the furniture but served as design inspiration as far back as the Egyptians and earlier. One can find documentation in the tombs of Egypt and in Pompeii, in Europe in 17th and 18th Century designs such as the Queen Anne style, and clearly was used in furniture and accessories in the Art Deco Period. I have referred to it many times in my unique designs. After completing a contemporary Queen Anne Dining Room commission I found myself driven to carry further the anthropomorphic aspect of the Queen Anne chair, so much so that the result was a wonderful collaborative series (link) in which functionality became unimportant and my sense of humor was prevalent.
FURNITURE AS SCULPTURE
I can't help myself. There are times in this life when functionality is just plain in the way, even an annoyance. It looks like a chair, it is made to last 100 years like any of my other chairs - must be an heirloom - but you can't sit on it. Louis the 14th could add all sorts of things to his furniture, like metal and such, why can't I? The 'ormolu' I embellish my chairs with is steel, hand forged, welded, polished and patinaed. The steel color compliment is beautiful, the placement is exacting, but it's in the way. The chairs almost appear to be usable but you just can't quite manage to sit on it.
A table you can't put your tea cup on forces the viewer to take a more considered look at my work. Furniture to most is about functionality, a little aesthetics maybe, but primarily about its use. In spite of the fact that, for the most part, my work is far more than functional, comfortable, and well made my intention is to draw attention to the design and uniqueness of each piece. By removing its functionality I hope to entice the viewer to take a little more time and find that with a little thought a truly interesting piece can enhance the home as a painting would, create a statement and provoke their visitors to enjoy the home as an environment for enjoyment.
Queen Anne Ladies
The Queen Anne Chair is one of the most beautiful and timeless designs in history. For more than 400 years this style, in its many versions has graced the homes of Europeans and Americans. Most manufacturers have attempted to reproduce this chair, but in its pure form as the original makers found, it is a truly graceful and elegant thing. It is clear to me that its parts are very anthropomorphic, its human characteristics beg further study. The crest rail as neck, the back splat as torso, with elegant shoulders and arms leading ones eye down to the waist area, which in turn draws the eye to the knee of the front leg. Its graceful rounded taper leads one to the beautiful ankle and spreads gently into the pad foot. A very elegant lady indeed.
What began as another dining room commission became a bit of an obsession for me for quite some time and led me to two collaborations with some amazing artists who shared the task of giving this wonderful chair the opportunity to free itself of its functional restraints and stand up and reveal two unique personalities. I worked with Kayla Kennington, an amazing clothing designer who is internationally known for her one of a kind unique style, who joined me and 'upholstered' "Rosa Anna" and shared in her creation. The "Painted Queen" was a collaboration with a wonderful clothing designer in Portland, Or., Suzanne Kraft (Donna and Toots), and Kristin Mitsu Shiga, an amazing metalsmith, who created the "ormolu", the metal embellishment, to compliment Suzanne's beautiful 'upholstery'.
The conceptualization of furniture as sculpture is a release, a relief from sanding the skin off my finger tips and I have found myself off in fantasies that maybe I shouldn't share with the world lest I become 'branded' with madness. But consider this if you have a moment to indulge me. Here's my Queen Anne chair, the real chair, sitting on a sidewalk in downtown Portland, or any city for that matter, full of despair having dropped her handkerchief, waiting for that perfect gentleman to relieve her of her deepest insecurities arising from her inability to pick up the handkerchief herself....Just think of the possibilities, how many will walk past so full of their own concerns that they would never consider helping this damsel in distress, yet one may notice, one may come to her assistance. Madness maybe, but what if she found herself at the end of her despair and finds herself at the top of a long flight of stairs wishing only one wish - to throw herself down to her death, end all
of this, but can't try as she will. She is just a chair, full of herself, lost in her own dismal fantasies, but just a chair all the same....so many possibilities.
This are a series of samples I made to show some possibilities I have been exploring doing graphic detailing on wood. A new direction I find full of potential to be used as detailing on furniture. (link to Slab section for examples)