Indiana chair maker carves works of art - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Indiana chair maker carves works of art

Sam Maloof died this year.  You probably don't recognize the name but Sam Maloof, a Californian, created one of the world's most artistic rocking chair designs. 

And Pat Cornett is working to keep it alive.  In his workshop north of Madison, IN, Cornett collects beautiful pieces of walnut or maple, ash or beech - and turns them into creations even more beautiful.  The second chair he ever made - out of curly cherry - is where Pat's wife Kim likes to sit and read.

Kim Cornett says, "Anybody that sits in it, this will adjust to the width of your back.  And it actually hugs you and it feels really comfortable."

Pat Cornett says, "The seat's made so you slide back into it and the back braces bend and flex, sideways and backwards.  They really fit whoever's sitting in it."

As Pat fashions a chair, the soul of the hardwood comes out.  The hard edges disappear into soft curves.

He says, "These laminations are put in this form and clamped to it for 24 hours, and it comes out one solid piece like this."

Pat Cornett says he spends three solid weeks working on one of these chair.  It sells for about $3,000 or more.  You do the math and figure out what his per-hour expenses are.  But there's a reason this chair isn't in a furniture store.  It's in an art gallery.

Madison's Artisan Gallery is where Cornett's chairs are sold.   Look closely and the grain of the wood seems to sing.  Everything is beautifully balanced, perfectly sculpted to fit the human body, carefully crafted to please the human eye. even to preserve a splinter of Hoosier history:

Pat says, "This is reclaimed heart pine, came out of a building in New Castle, Indiana that was built in 1802."

Pat Cornett doesn't talk much.  But through him the wood speaks.  Simple elegance that rocks you back to a slower, gentler way of passing time.

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