Todd Baldwin

Todd Baldwin

I’ve honestly never put much thought into chairs before—beyond recognizing their practicality and purpose—but after visiting the Center of Art in Wood and seeing the banister-back armchair, I wonder why I haven’t.

The armchair at the Center has an elegance to it with beautifully turned banisters that are positioned with the flat side facing the sitter’s back. Its color is rich; its wicker seat, inviting.

I found myself contemplating this chair long after my visit. It motivated me to learn—to understand more about its form and to evaluate other chair designs. Through my research and reading, I was increasingly drawn to American Windsor chairs and its many regional variations from Boston to Philadelphia.

I came across a scaled model of a Windsor chair and immediately purchased it. At just 13 inches tall and 7 inches wide, I knew the model would be perfect for this project. I also have a penchant for working with small objects.

I disassembled the chair, and made rubber and plaster molds of each component. I cast each piece out of newsprint from Philadelphia newspapers. Unlike the usual subtractive process of chair creation, I worked in an additive manner—by taking pulverized newspapers and building each chair up. I chose to create five chairs; each representing a member of my birth family.

Armchair by Jay Brubaker