As an amateur furniture maker who is a lady, it has been really interesting to hear some of the comments men make when they find out that my wife and I made a lot of the pieces in our home. My favorite is when this super macho 6ft+ guy who is a friend of a friend was in our house. After seeming completely shocked that Claire and I had made our farmhouse dining room table by ourselves from scratch, he then proceeded to SIT ON THE EDGE OF IT, his feet off the floor, and CHAT WITH US like it was no big deal, almost like he was testing whether or not the table would fall apart, to prove to us that our handiwork wasn’t so impressive after all. Despite his gigantic muscle-bound body pressing weight on the very edge of the table, it did NOT fall apart, but I am ashamed to admit that I was so shocked at his behavior that I didn’t even say anything to him about it. My mouth hung open and I was in a dazed state for several minutes afterwards. HOW DARE HE!!!! Who the hell SITS on someone’s dining room table anyways?? Why are two women any less capable of making furniture than a man, or two men, or three men? I don’t think he realized how obtuse he was being, but I have never ever forgotten it, and I have been passively aggressively rude to him ever since (not proud of it, but I feel like I kind of got a glimpse of his true self when he acted that way, so whatever).
Men tend to come to our home, question several times whether or not I made the object in question (“you made this? YOU made this? And it’s NOT from Ikea?”) and then they look underneath the piece to see if they can find any flaws, any hints of a lie, a weak spot. Conversely, women in our home usually run their fingers down the piece, admiring it, not scrutinizing it, and they almost always say “I can’t believe you made this!”, which is very different from “are you SURE you made this?” I guess it’s because women are fully aware of what we can accomplish, even if it seems difficult or unlikely; they know the possibility is there. The overwhelming majority of men (not all of them- I have seen some men come into our home and offer much praise and genuine appreciation for what we have created without a hint of doubt as to our abilities) would more easily assume that you are lying to them than to believe that you accomplished something that they have not. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the way women’s power is perceived in our culture, and I don’t singlehandedly blame men for this kind of thinking- all of us can be, in some way or another, responsible for this kind of antiquated thinking.
Anyways, to celebrate the power of using our wits and skills and bodies, for those of fortunate enough to be able to do so, here is a list of some of my favorite builds.
From top to bottom:
1. Bathroom vanity (I did the tiling as well as the build)
2. Kitchen island on casters (my Dad worked on this with me when he came to visit last year and it was super fun, but he was too afraid to use the saw, which I totally respect- nothing to play around with if it makes you uncomfortable!)
3. Office bookshelf
4. Printer console w hairpin legs
5. Dining room table bench
6. Farmhouse table (this and the bench are the first pieces Claire and I ever made)
7. Upholstered chair (this armchair had been in Claire’s family for decades and was pretty old and warped so it was taken down to it’s springs and rebuilt from there- it was SO much work but SO fun)
8. coffee table with two built in cubbies and undershelf
9. upholstered MCM dining room chairs
There are a few more pieces, but these are the only pics I could easily find this morning. I think I’m going to make a sewing/cutting table on casters for the craft room (inspired by Heather at closetcasefiles) when the weather gets cooler and working in the garage wont be so uncomfortable!