The importance of not being attached to an outcome is the backbone of contentment. This I know.
In mid October I was contacted by Los Angeles magazine to inform me they were including me in an editorial called "Handmade in LA". Needless to say I was happy to oblige in any way I could. They then called two weeks later to inform me they had chosen to put me on the cover. AWESOME!! I am a lively person for sure, but I have learned to never get too excited about things such as this, because they can change, and they did.
I was asked to make a new "Los Galos" chair since no client lived close by to borrow one from. I was flattered they were so in love with this chair that it was that important. I especially loved this because it was about the chair and not me. I usually spend about a week or more making this chair because it's better to grind hard for a couple of days and then tinker with something else for half a day and then go back to it. It's easy to get burned out with so many small steps and it's ripe territory for making mistakes. It's also hell on my hands.
So, I took the challenge with only 4 days to make the chair from rough. That means I had not selected wood or surfaced it yet to be ready to cut out the individual pieces. I work alone now since our daughter was born, so every second counts in this case.
I worked from 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 a.m. each day (I ate lunch and dinner of course), and I loved it!! It was the most intense I have ever worked. All I could think about was how fortunate I was to be getting this opportunity. Woodworkers don't get to be on covers of magazines that often. I was able to get my upholsterer to make my cushion in one day ( Rose Furniture in Hollywood), and I literally finished the chair 1 hr. before I was to be on set to shoot the chair. I oiled it, knowing I could apply oil as we shot to give it the shine it would have after proper finishing and got dressed.
I put the chair in my pickup and tucked a fitted sheet under all four legs so the morning sun would not make the oil gummy. With my wife and daughter behind me, we were off. The 10 freeway was a parking lot, so we got off and got back on Washington Blvd.. I was going about 20mph when I heard a "whoosh" sound. I knew that it wasn't right and when I turned to look in the back to check on The Los Galos ..............
IT WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!!!
The sheet around it had acted like a parachute and when it came back down it also kept it contained, so it didn't get hit by other cars. My wife had pulled up to it to protect it and I turned around pulled up along side and grabbed the sheet and lifted it as though it was a bag of laundry. I didn't even bother to look. I knew what it meant.
Sundeep was as white as a ghost when I looked at her (and she's Indian). I smiled and said, "it's ok, it's just a chair. Let's go home and get our other ones and continue on".
I honestly felt very peaceful about it. I know it's easy to think you wouldn't be, but that was my first reaction. It was how absurd it was that made it so funny.
I went to the studio and broke the news. Everybody was cool and we started shooting the "Kalifornia Lounger", another chair I make. They loved it and all of its lines and it was photographing beautifully.
At the end the art director form the magazine suggested that I get the broken Los Galos chair from my truck to take some pictures of me seeing how bad it broke, "just to see" what may happen.
I started fiddling with it and quickly realized that all but one of my joints had survived and the breaks were "clean". It had broken either above or below my joints in everyplace there was a joint. So this meant it would reassemble well.
THIS MEANT I COULD STILL HAVE THE CHAIR ON THE COVER!! AWESOME!!
I drilled holes and screwed it back together with the plan that we would cover the fractures in Photoshop. We weren't going to be cheating in any way because the chair shouldn't have the cracks and that would be the only physical alteration to the image.
Unbelievable Right... Well..
I received a call yesterday informing me I was not going to be on the cover. Two days before it comes out. It's a damn good thing I didn't tell everybody in the world and make a fool of myself. It turns out that the "publishers" wanted me sitting in the chair and since it was broken they didn't get what they wanted. To expand on all the other details and reassurances any further would be bitching and complaining, but I will say that everyone there knew I could sit in the chair after I fixed it, as I demonstrated by doing it. It didn't fracture in the area that supports your downward pressure when sitting, but they preferred to have me standing.......so I thought. I am certain that the motorcycle photographed better than the chair and it was a better looking cover. Being a visual person myself, I can see the validity in that choice. It would have been more responsible to have said from the beginning that they would have another option to choose from and that I may get bumped.
I must say that the folks I talked to yesterday seemed genuinely bothered by the turn of events and I believe their sincerity. I was never treated negative in any way and I do understand that these things are never set in stone. I am very grateful for the treatment they have given me on the inside spread and the how to part of making the chair is a great idea.
As I received the call I was laying on the bed with our daughter Sonia. Seeing her smile and play with us and realizing the most important moments I will ever truly have, is living up to my limitless conscious abilities to provide for her in every way. That was to be the gift from this happening. We give money to charities when we sell pieces and that helps make the world a better place to a degree.
But whyrHymer has never been just about making furniture and the end results, it's always been about what it manifests for everyone. This chair breaking and this cover had provided me with another opportunity to truly measure my level of peace within myself when a challenge arises. I live and breath my work and it means a lot to me. But this has proven to me that I have come to a place to where, as important as these things seem to be to all of us in our struggles to "get ahead", they don't mean anything, really.
What is permanent is my relationship to my self. If I don't take care of that, I don't have any thing to offer. I am grateful to the spirit of the universe that I can be aware of that.
It means I truly can help the world be a better place, because the whole world is in me.
Below are images from the shoot of me putting the chair back together.