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Ben Grieve-Johnson

Ben Grieve-Johnson

Other Furniture

I’m a maker with a background in philosophy. I limit myself to hand-tool processes and non-batch-production wherever I can to cultivate a design idiom of vitality and objects oriented toward human-life rather than the project of totalised technology. I work in my small studio in nipaluna/Hobart.

Tīd rocking chair

ben grieve

Tīd is Old English for marked time:  A time of day, a harvest, a high point; the natural cycles through and in which we experience life.  In the 14th century, it also came to mean the flód and ebba—rise and fall—of the ocean. 

lutruwita (Tasmania) is surrounded by the ocean.  We repeat that fact a lot: Island life; isolated life.  There’s no denying, though, that the rhythm here is related to water, to the ebb and flow that seems to move a little differently—or, perhaps, a little more affectively—than elsewhere. 

The ocean is our boundary, both setting us apart from the outside and calling us together; it’s the wall to our agora. Within, this is a place of winding rivers, lakes, tarns and dams.  Some days it feels as though the rivers only just finish falling into the sea before being evaporated and rising back up to the peaks to flow again.  Here, the cycles can take on a meditative quality.

A rocking chair ebbs and flows as well, marking time and marking off time for its sitter.  One can find a moment all to oneself while rocking, to think contemplatively or in reverie.  It’s not a thing that can be rushed and this, in its way, makes it a rebellious piece of furniture in our systematically-connected, attention-demanding cultural milieu. 

In the Tīd chair I’ve aimed to speak with the clarity of contemporary design language while not succumbing to austerity or emptiness.  Its curves evoke a sense of flow and ease but also of meandering and unexpected thoughts.

These shapes are produced by labour intensive but simple hand-tool methods.  The rockers, crinoline, and crest are all steam-bent as green timber.  Every part is hand carved from Tasmanian Blackwood and bears this process through the unique signatures of information left behind for the user’s hands to read.

Tīd is a chair that expresses something about the cadence of life in lutruwita (Tasmania), where our minds tend to dwell on the landscape and where we occasionally forget ourselves.