Silver River Center for Chair Caning
Media: Mixed Media
9 Riverside Drive
upstairs, middle building, of CURVE Studios & Garden Asheville, NC 28801
Brandy Clements & Silver River Center for Chair Caning
The nation's only chair caning museum and school in Asheville's River Arts District!
Chairs are documents and caners are historians that preserve centuries of designs and techniques. I am a 4th generation chair caner on a mission to preserve a threatened craft. After working on chairs at home for 5 years and doing restorations in the River Arts District for 5 years, my husband and I have expanded our restoration business to include a school and museum.
Silver River Center for Chair Caning, in CURVE Studios & Garden, is the nation's only chair caning school and museum. We have a permanent collection of chairs, rotating exhibits, a library, and activities for kids and adults. Daily demonstrations of a variety of seat weaving techniques happen 6 days a week. The museum is dog-friendly and FREE to the public.
Classes are available from beginner kits to advanced tutorials. We regularly teach basic styles of weaving on chairs throughout the year. We have restored thousands of chair seats and are excited to teach people to restore their own heirlooms. Classes include cane (machine & laced), rush, splint, Shaker Tape, and Danish Cord.
JULY 29-31, 2016: The SeatWeavers Guild Annual Gathering will be held at the Folk Art Center Auditorium. Join 100 caners from all over the country and get your hands on some chairs! Saturday, July 30 is for SeatWeavers Guild members only, but Sunday July 31 from 12-4 The SeatWeavers Roadshow is FREE for all ages! (see www.seatweaversguild.org for membership)
A family tradition since 1890.
My grandparents lived in an old school house on a hill outside of Charlottesville, Va. They worked on chairs to put food on the table for their four kids.
Ida learned caning from her mother Gladys McInnes Allen. My aunt Linda really upheld the tradition & taught me cane, rush, & splint weaves at Chair Repair Boot Camp in 2005. When I returned to Charleston, I got my first job rushing & painting 30+ chairs for Kasper’s Diner & began working with local furniture companies. I worked on some amazing antiques, including a 1940’s FDR style wheelchair, & I also fixed the cane chairs in the 5 star Charleston Place Hotel’s Palmetto Café.
Living at the beach was fun & the historical city offered many challenging & beautiful caning projects, but I’ve always been drawn to the North Carolina mountains. The Blue Ridge Mountain culture makes my soul feel at peace. Since moving to Asheville in 2007, I’ve worked with individual clients & several furniture repair shops. I was honored to be the Artist in Residence at the Grove Arcade Arts & Heritage Gallery in 2008. This wonderful opportunity was the inspiration to move my craft beyond repairs to creating vibrantly dyed splint weaves, & learning new ways of weaving cane.
By fixing (saving!) an old chair, we are preserving a piece of history & conserving valuable resources in a disposable world. I feel like both an artist & a historian. Every chair has a story to tell & every person that calls tells me that story. Chair caning helps me be totally in the moment, yet connected with the past, & keeping the tradition alive for future generations. Thanks for reading!
Memberships include: River Arts District Artists, The Furniture Society, American Craft Council, The SeatWeavers Guild, and Southern Highland Craft Guild.