It all started with a single chair. My daughter and I sat side by side at the public auction of the contents of my childhood home. The property had been in our family for generations and housed the antiques, memories, and treasures that several generations of ancestors had accumulated. Toward the end of the second day of auction, a lone chair was brought to the auction block. No one wanted it. Countless chairs had already been sold. People were tired and ready to go home.
I guess my daughter felt sorry for the old wooden chair with its cracking finish, layer of cobwebs, and inability to appeal to the dwindling crowd. “Shall I buy it?” she asked. “If you buy it, I’ll paint it for you,” was my response. And that’s how a new passion was born.
As soon as I uttered those words, I had a vision for the design. About twenty years earlier I had been intrigued by a group of high-gloss hand-painted chairs which were being sold at a favorite local eatery. Their bright colors and folk art designs remained cataloged in my mind. I had always wanted to do something similar. This was my chance, but I immediately knew the design would have a personalized focus. With a nod to my ancestors who came to the United States from Germany, Switzerland, and the Alsace-Lorraine region of France, my designs would be inspired by the symbols of Pennsylvania German folk art.