These awesome chairs have been springing up all around my neighborhood. After accidentally finding a StumpChair facebook page, I was inspired to reach out to the artist to see if I could get an interview. Lucky me, thank you StumpChair! The interview was granted (with the promise to keep the artist anonymous). We met in a local coffee shop and had the following conversation:
Get Along And Go: Where to begin…ok, what makes a StumpChair?
StumpChair: Well, I was walking down the street with a friend about a year ago, we saw a broken chair next to a stump, and we thought – those should be the same, that should be one. It’s a place to sit, why not make it actually be a chair?…I drill into the stump to fit all the spindles, put glue in the holes, hammer it down with a big sledgehammer and a couple of screws just to hold it while the glue dries. I could remove the screws, but I just leave them.
GAAG: When do you install StumpChairs? Is it always a nighttime mission?
SC: It’s traditionally a nighttime mission, but…the Elgin St. chair was during the day, and the homeowners came out, and they really liked it. They planted flowers around it. If someone doesn’t like it, they’ll just take it down.
GAAG: How did you get into this project…Do you have a background in woodworking?
SC: Yeah, in woodworking. Which is an embarrassing thing to say, cause this is decidedly not woodworking, to drill and glue.
GAAG: Well, these are for sure being recognized a public art…Where do you get all your chairs?
SC: Umm…mostly on Sundays (trash pick up day) I ride my bike around and try to find them being thrown out. Some are donated.
GAAG: Are you looking for donations?
SC: Umm, yeah, sure! (you can message StumpChair on facebook if you’d like to donate a chair.)
GAAG: Is there a statement or mission behind the project that you’d like to share?
SC: Mmm…ok. Did you ever read the Shel Silverstein book The Giving Tree, the kid’s book? I have this thought, like the end of the Giving Tree there’s this page with the old man sitting on a stump, the tree is saying ‘I have nothing more to give’ and the old man says, ‘I need nothing more’ and the tree was happy. I think this is a good continuation of that. I would like to make the stump actually be a seat, that’s all the tree can do now. That’s all it can give back. Probably the best children’s book of all time. Shel Silverstein is awesome.
If you want to visit the StumpChairs (and you are in the Providence vicinity) there are currently 9. They can be found on Elmgrove Ave, two on Hope St, two on Blackstone Blvd park, one on Morris Ave, one on Elgin St. and one on Larch St. Part of the fun is in the discovery, so I highly recommend hunting them down. And if you want your very own StumpChair, check the facebook page for news on deliveries of these mini StumpChairs, being delivered to shops around Providence as we speak (I think they’re being left on the shelves covertly). This one was just left at Frog and Toad on Hope St.