I’ve produced a couple of chairs in my time, but nothing as beautiful and abstract as these wooden stump stools by American creative Kieran Kinsella. What interests me is that although they’re abstract in form it’s quite obvious that Kieran is following the grain and natural shaping of the tree, this is what controls and dictates the final shaping of the stool.
Based in New York’s Hudson Valley, Kieran creates out of two generous studio spaces in the town of Rosendale where he works surrounded by nature. He starts by selecting a piece of wood that’s either sourced locally or salvaged, he then he uses a chainsaw to cut them quite rapidly, later working with chisels and other tools to perfect the form. To finish he treats them with oil to preserve and bring out the grain in the wood, alongside blacking the wood with a blow torch where he sees fit.
His method reminds me of the way that sculptor J.B. Blunk used to create, as Blunk once said “it’s a matter of revealing the theme and this is achieved by removing material”. As the wood is manipulated there must be some sort of connection between maker and material, which no doubt leads to surprise and character in the final form. This surprise can be seen quite prominently in the pictures above and below, where there’s natural splitting and cracking running throughout, but the general functionality of the seat still remains. These are obviously works of art but they have some sort of functionality in mind, connecting us with an archetype of what we believe to be a chair. I recommend flicking over to Kieran’s website to see more sculpture like this, you won’t be disappointed.