DATELINE: May, 2001
< LAST | NEXT >
18 Year Studio Partnership Ends!Gaucho - the Art of Furniture Feline Mascot Dies
New "GILDed Art Mirrors" to Honor Spirited Collaboration
Gaucho died in the Art of Furniture Design Studio on May 7th, 2001. After 3 years battling many illnesses, his heart peacefully stopped as he lay beside me. I am touched and honored he shared with me his life and his death.
He was a big cat with deep green eyes, a beautiful cream and tan tabby named for the Steely Dan album - "Gaucho". We shared 18 great years listening to Dan songs. I found him as a weathered stray. When Gaucho died, he was at least as the Dan song sings "Hey Nineteen" (mid 90's in human years), maybe more. He had an aura of ageless wisdom - - he was a very old soul. His life force could fill a room, but mostly it filled my heart.
His cattish curiosty often got the best of me. Through Gaucho's eyes, I discovered the playful world of furniture. In 1983, I began a unique quest - - seeking new ways for my designs to transcend mere purpose. My feline friend guided the way, drawing me into his world. Rambunctious cat play, mixing fun with furniture (the Lazy Boy Leap and Hide & Sofa Seek), inspired me. I found my artistic calling - - designing fun furniture.
Working at my home-studio, I was never alone. At the office computer, he would jump to my chair to type his "two cents worth" into the company books". On the drawing table, he would nestle amongst the papers often pawing my pens or curiously watch me work. And in the wood shop, he always found that perfect piece to puck about. For years these antics would lure me into the Design Studio to start a new project or explore a fresh furniture idea. Gaucho was part of my creative process, bringing joy and life to my studio furniture work.
Gaucho's last month of life was shared with me in the Design Studio - - resting on the corner of the drawing table, overseeing my thoughts and ideas as I created a series of Art Mirror sketches for new and future furniture works.
In a final tribute to Gaucho and our studio life together, these last collaborative "Cat & Keer" design sketches will be developed, then fabricated and sold as limited edition Products (50 units each) with a percent of the proceeds being donated to the local Animal Shelter for the care of stray cats. This new Art Furniture series - - titled the "GILDed Art Mirrors" (for Gaucho & Ira's Last Design editions) will debut over the course of the next few years. Each Mirror will share common materials and elements, melding "gilded" brass accents, elegant wood lines and timeless character - - features which reflect Gaucho's bright, beautiful and enduring spirit.
I.A.Keer - Art of Furniture, 2001
The magazine pages reproduced herein appear with the permission of the publishers: (1) CWB - Custom Woodworking Business Magazine.