So What?

What you see today is the center and one end of the headboard for my bed. It was originally made with my wife, Sharon in mind. She grew up hoeing and picking cotton. Her dad was a share-cropping cotton farmer. I wanted something that referred to that past. The piece in the middle is meant to be a version of a shock of something grown (wheat, sorghum, whatever). On the ends are the representations of some leaves. The whole thing was given a Greek type of shape with a low middle. The reason for this is that the only place this bed would fit in our bedroom was below a window so the headboard couldn’t be too high.

Well, now Sharon’s passed away, and the bed represents a memory of her memories. Someday, it will be in someone else’s bedroom possibly, where it will have some other context.

So, why design anything if it will, in the end, have little significance to the people who will use it. If a piece of furniture is made well, it will outlast the people who originally made it or bought it. There are still people who don’t believe this. They come up every generation. I once came across a company in California, I believe, that made chairs tailored to a particular individual’s biometrics. They got you out there and took all kinds of measurements for your chair. To me, that sounded excessive. If the chair was made well, it would outlast the person for whom it was made. They seemed to have a thriving market.

What does design accomplish? I am a moderately capable workman in wood. I am no master who will design something that will change history in general or the history of art in particular. What I may do, though, is make someone’s life or living space a little bit brighter or more usable. I have the capacity to bring happiness to someone who gets to see their idea in the round. That’s my calling, and it allows me to develop relationships with people and contribute to their lives or lifestyle. To me, that’s not such a bad “So what?