‘Cultivating a life of elegance & authenticity’ is the tagline for The Natural Eclectic. We hear the word authentic used a lot these days..but what does it really mean? A person that is authentic is one who is honest, genuine, trustworthy. Someone who presents themselves as who they really are. In design and craftsmanship, the same applies. There’s certainly a demand and desire for mass produced items that have been made to resemble natural materials or aged treasures – nothing wrong with that -but there’s just something so charming and satisfying about the real thing! Knowing it was carved by human hands, seeing the patina burnished from years of love, noticing the irregularities caused by the unique man made processes involved.
Yesterday I found an old Hans Wegner chair. While mid century design is not really my thing, I did grow up though with the iconic ‘wishbone’ chair which is an amazing example of great design. My parents bought eight chairs from Denmark 50 years ago and my mother just found the old receipt of $180 for all! I do hope to adopt them one day as I find them elegant and timeless.
While the chair I found yesterday was a different style and was covered in a new fake python vinyl, I knew instantly with it’s great curved shape and joinery detail it was the real thing.
Underneath we found the original upholstery, which we think is vinyl as well. Somehow though, knowing it was the original seat covering, made it such an exciting find! It was the ‘authentic’ choice of the designer, even if the material choice itself was ‘fake’ so to speak.
The vinyl was probably the first choice due to it’s practicality. So when I think of or use the word authentic, I use it in the sense of ‘how it was intended or meant to be’ and not fooling, pretending or passing something off as one thing when it it really another. Not being false or deceitful about origins.
The vinyl has lots of marks on it, which purists may not like, but I love all the fading, scrafitto and speckling. It resembles a delicate etching or gentle water color painting.
In my boutique I like to mix new with old. Old that really is old, new that is new, clean fresh and contemporary. I embrace both. I also love to craft things with my own hands even though I know I could be more profitable going another route. It’s just so satisfying to have a concept and see it through to the end, making it myself, feeling the materials. People respond to this. They know the difference. I was going to write this post about a series of pillows I just made from ‘authentic’ old woven towels that were from my sisters old farmhouse in Italy. Then I found the chair and it seemed like the right metaphor for the theme of aunthencity. So I will share the pillows that I made by hand on my mum’s 50 year sewing machine for my next post : )
All Photographs Heather Ross 2012