Design

Chris Muhl Art The Pump Stool Banner

Artistic Exploration

Harnessing a wild imagination

Among our most sensational gifts are our boundless imagination, and the ability to give life to the intangible concepts of the mind. For me, time stands still when I journey through the artistic realm of my imagination.

There is an art to everything. Whether doing dishes, writing a business document, painting a picture, or living a perfect day, the mind naturally strives to achieve harmony and beauty in all the tasks and feats of our lives.

The following is a glimpse into some of my creative adventures.

DREAM

CREATE

REPEAT

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The Pump Stool

While working on the Drawings for Africa project, my lazy legs began to crave a comfortable chair.

I initially purchased an adjustable drafting chair from Wayfair.com. However, I was disappointed with the quality, thus I returned it. I then went to Restoration Hardware (RH) to check out a similar style drafting chair, but was disappointed to discover that the RH chair was of poorer quality than the one I initially purchased, and twice the cost.

I eventually decided to make my own art/drafting style chair, inspired by the vintage drafting stools of the early 1900s.

Step 1: Acquiring the Foundation

As the foundation for the chair, I purchased a refurbished vintage Singer sewing stool from Where Saints Go, located in the UK. I could not have found a better starting point for this project. The quality of the stool is exceptional.

Step 2: Carving the Back Rest

To create the back rest, I used a log of an Austrian Black Pine that had perished in a severe ice storm in years past. After several hours of cutting, sanding, and shaping, the back rest was complete.

Step 3: Parts Fabrication

An antique pump handle, purchased off of eBay, serves as the structural support for the back rest. To attach the pump handle to the stool, I created templates for links and brackets using plywood. These were replicated in steel by Luke Miedema, owner of Unity Welding & Fabrication in Hood River, Oregon. Luke did an exceptional job fabricating and welding the new parts to the original stool. The brace for the backrest was originally a beam brace forged by Old West Iron in Felt, Idaho. I cut the brace in half, and hammered it into its new shape. Luke welded the brace back together.

Step 4: Assembly

With the new parts welded into place, all the pieces were bolted together, and the finished product takes life.

Final Comments

The idea for the Pump Stool arose from my own frustration with the quality of furniture on the market today. I was disappointed to find that a $400 Restoration Hardware chair, wobbled like a spinning top just prior to falling. I was inspired to create a chair that was made from mostly reclaimed antique parts, could serve the basic needs of an artist, and could withstand the test of time. Time will tell if I have succeeded.


The Branding Iron & Stamp

My mind runs wild with ideas for improving upon my artwork. Every element opens up endless possibilities. A signature, for example, can be scribed in a multitude of ways.

In developing my own brand, I thought it would be interesting to actually create a branding iron, to burn or ink my mark into my artwork.

Step 1: The Initial Design

With pencil and paper, I sketched out a simple personal logo. I then used Adobe Illustrator, to recreate the design as a 2D vector object. This file was saved as a .DWG file for importing into AutoCAD.

Step 2: The 3D Model

Using a 30-day free trial of AutoDesk’s AutoCAD, I was able to extrude my 2D logo design into a 3D model. I added a base for the logo to rest upon, and a post for attachment to a steel rod. With the 3D model of the brand complete, I saved the work as an .STL file, and sent it to Shapeways, an online 3D printing company. The model was printed out in stainless steel.

Step 3: Assembly

After receiving the brand in the mail, I purchased a steel rod from the local hardware store. I threaded one end of the rod, and fastened a wooden handle to it. I cut the handle out of a wooden dowel. To the other end of the rod, the brand was welded in place by Luke Miedema, owner of Unity Welding in Hood River, Oregon.

Final Comments

My artistic interest lies in combining drawing and painting with wood and iron and other elements. The branding iron seems an appropriate tool for stamping my mark into my artwork. This project explored the use of modern design software and 3D printing technology, to create a tool originating from the earliest Egyptian civilization.

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