Makowa Club Chair

  • Prize
    Winner in Chair
  • Company/Firm
    Chris Martin Furniture
  • Designer
    Chris Martin
  • Other Credit
    Kente cloth produced by the Dogbeda Kete Center, Kpetoe Ghana
  • Photo Credit
    Austin Day
  • Location
    In Chris Martin Furniture's inventory
  • Project Date
    September 2022
  • Web URL

Steel, burned wood, kente cloth, African mahogany
27" x 31" x 26"

The overall design of the chair is inspired by the geometry of many of the Danish chairs designed in the 50s & 60s. The frame is made of mild steel & patinated. The back rest is coopered & hand carved from African Mahogany, The seat form is fiberglass & is upholstered in Kente cloth which is unique to Ghana & Togo in West Africa. This particular cloth is made by weavers of the Awe tribe in the village of Kpetoe, (pronounced Pet twae) in the Volta Region very near the boarder with Togo. While serving with US Peace Corps, I spent a good deal of time with the Ewe weavers became fascinated in the traditional patterns and their symbolism. Many of these patterns are no longer made and this particular pattern is one of them. It is called makowa, translated literally in the Ewe language as "hot pepper". The cloth is to represent the moral; every marriage will have challenges (hot peppers) and a couple needs to learn to deal with them. This cloth was historically given to a bride’s family from the groom’s family prior to a wedding.

Chris Martin Furniture produces unique one off and small batch production pieces, commission work, and for the marketplace. The inspiration for the work comes from an industrial aesthetic, an admiration of mid century and Danish design, a need to explore materials, and a desire to collaborate with traditional artisans in India, Ghana, and Uganda.

Other prizes
2022 Best Seating, Professional 2022 ISFD INNOVATION + DESIGN 2020 Best Mixed Media Octagonal 2020 Exhibition 2018 Foreign Travel Grant - Iowa State University. To research potential colleborations in Ghana 2016 Fulbright Research Fellowship - Ahmedabad India Based at Design Innovation Craft Resource Center @ CEPT University. Designed & produced a series of furniture pieces in collaboration with traditional artisans. 2015 Juror’s Award 35th Annual Contemporary Crafts MCA Museum, Mesa, AZ 2014 Second Place 21st Annual Juried Show: Cabinets of Curiosity The Wharton Esherick Museum, Paoli, PA First Place 45th Annual Octagon Exhibition 2013 Juror’s Award 34th Annual Contemporary Crafts MCA Museum, Mesa, AZ Foreign Research Grant - ISU Design Education & Research in Ghana development of a study abroad program in Ghana. Foreign Travel Grant, ISU For travel to Ghana to do design research CEAH Grant - Center for the Excellence in Art & Humanities, ISU Used to produce a series of “stools” based on the Asante chieftaincy stools Miller Grant – (Co-PI) Used to explore ways to integrate digital technologies in my creative work. 2012 Foreign Travel Grant, ISU For travel to Ahmedabad, India to take part in the House of MG Design Residency. Iowa Arts Council Major Grant For production of a body of work inspired by my Peace Corps experiences.