My Material Life

Beaded Champagne Chair

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Are you familiar with the champagne chair?  I learned about champagne chairs in the Design Within Reach catalog in the early 2000’s.  I even entered one of their champagne chair design competitions one year.  I hadn’t thought about them in years until I saw the magazine below.  It’s from the U.K.; I found it at Whole Foods before the holidays

Finding that magazine was one thing that inspired the chair above.  The other was the book you see next to it.  Have you ever been to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago?  My dad was from Chicago, so I’ve had the opportunity to visit that museum several times during visits to relatives.  Colleen Moore’s doll house has resided at the museum for many, many years now, and it’s always been one of my favorite things to see there.  The museum calls it Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle; it’s an amazing creation.  Colleen Moore was a silent film star who eventually had the means to build the doll house of her dreams.  You can read more about the castle and its history at the museum’s website.  I found the book that is photographed above at a used bookstore a few years ago.  Such an exciting find.  It’s a beautiful book:  the photography, the layout, etc., and it’s written by Colleen Moore herself.  I was looking through the book during the holidays when I found the chairs below.

Those jeweled chairs were made with green cloisonné, platinum, diamonds, and a pair of emerald clips owned by Colleen Moore by a jeweler in Des Moines, Iowa.  They sit in the Bedroom of the Princess.  Those chairs are what gave me the idea to bead my champagne chair.  I found a few great beads in my stash and purchased some inexpensive glass ones from Michael’s to complete the chair back.  I think it holds its own next to the jeweled versions, don’t you?

Making champagne chairs is relatively easy, but you’re going to need some wire cutters and some pliers (the kinds used for jewelry making are ideal).  The idea is that you use your pliers to unwrap and pull out the circular wire part of the cork’s cage.  Then you use that wire to form a chair back that you’ll attach to the remaining part of the cage and the metal cork cap that forms your seat.  That’s the simplest thing to do anyway.  My first chair was very different.  If I can find a photo, I’ll add it to this post.  Search for “champagne chairs” online and you’ll find tutorials and all kinds of designs.  If you want to try beading your chair, just make sure the hole in your beads is large enough to accommodate your wire.  And please remember to protect your eyes whenever you cut away excess wire.

You can use these chairs for doll houses, party favors, weddings, anniversaries, to commemorate special occasions – you name it.

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