Sometimes things have to go straight in the shitter before you can actually pick yourself up, brush yourself off and move onward and upward. Such was the case with the Hoop Chair. I talked about the flaming disaster of the Hoop Chair last week in what I think was some of my finest prose. I know I swore a lot in that post so that generally means the post was very, very good. Full of emotion, ya know?
Well this one is going to be equally full of emotion but on the opposite end of the scale. The happiness scale. Let’s recap. A couple of weeks ago I spotted a chair I loved and wanted to buy but actually acquiring it became a struggle. All hell broke loose and the world came very close to ending. It was kindda epic. You probably heard about it on the news.
I wanted the chair, the chair was gone, the chair came back, the chair was lost, the chair was a different chair and on and on until I and the store staff were reduced to puddles of saliva with eyelashes. You can read the whole story here.
I finally ended up getting the chair but knowing I’d having to paint the chair and recover the cushion because the chair was pinkish and the cushion a weird pink/grey. So I planned on doing an entire post on the process, because who doesn’t want to know how to paint and recover a brand new chair they just bought??
So I painted the chair.
That part worked out fine. The chair had a really strong pink undertone so I just dry brushed it with a mixture of neutral colours to get rid of the pink tinge. Easy. Worked perfectly. I used some old acrylic folk art paints I bought years ago at a garage sale.
But my next thing to tackle was to recover the cushion because it was a light grey and I hated it with a mighty strength. Then I thought … HEY! I bet there’s an easier way. I bet there’s a cheaper way. I bet I could just SPRAY PAINT the cushion. I mean, I’ve seen people all over the land of blogs and Pinterest do it. They just spray paint fabric. Velvet, canvas, outdoor pillows … basically anything. So I did a bit of research and discovered that Krylon made a spray paint that even they recommend for painting fabric.
So I spray painted my light grey cushion black. It took 3 cans at a cost of around $6 a can so a total of $18.
Doesn’t it look great?
It turned out reasonably well. I was shocked, pleased and prepared to tell everyone to do this.
Then I sat on the cushion. It was O.K. A bit scratchy maybe. And crunchy. And stiff. It was very much like sitting in a bag of potato chips that wasn’t filled with chips, but with shards of glass rocks. It was insanely rough and scratchy.
I guess I’d better sand it, I thought in a moment of panic.
I sanded my spray painted chair cushion.
This resulted in fine particles of black paint residue forming a cloud around myself, the chair cushion and the majority of my neighbourhood but I just kept on sanding. I Lucille Balled the shit outta that chair cushion.
Within minutes I was covered in a black dust, the backyard was covered in black dust. The only thing not completely covered in black dust was the cushion which now looked like it would be comfortable sitting on the ass of pretty much anyone at a Bon Jovi concert in 1987.
I had an acid wash emergency on my hands.
I gave up, swore at the chair, went to my trusty local fabric store and bought $50 worth of black outdoor fabric. The exact fabric I used for my Restoration Hardware Outdoor Furniture hack as a matter of fact.
And I did what I should have done in the first place. I recovered the cushion.
The chair is finally a relatively normal colour (although I’m still going to tweak it) and it has a perfectly comfortable, 100% fabric cushion.
But that’s just where the story starts. Because the real story here is how I posted a picture of the chair when I first saw it in the store and an old high school friend of mine said I HAD to buy the chair and I HAD to cover it in twinkle lights so when I was sitting in it it felt like I was in a planetarium.
Marta, you’re a genius.
I immediately knew that this was the reason I had to have this chair. This was the reason I had to buy it and do whatever I needed to do to make it work in my backyard. This was the reason I had to paint it and fix it and spray it and recover it and make it perfect.
Because I had to make a Constellation chair in honour of Canada’s Tragically Hip. And I did.
If you aren’t Canadian you might not even know who the Tragically Hip are let alone how constellations are associated with them. They’re a band. They’re the band. They are quintessentially Canadian. Gord Downie is a poet and a rock star and a wonderful human. Last year when he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, the entire country mourned and rallied behind him and the band. We celebrated the Hip for their subtle but unapologetic patriotism. Their Canadianess.
I didn’t mention it at the time, but when my house was being shot for The New York Times I rearranged my bookshelves. I made sure Gord Downie’s book of poetry, Coke Machine Glow would be in the shot.
It’s the orange book above my saddle.
On Monday I’ll finally be revealing the finished hoop chair. It was a struggle. But I don’t mind a struggle. Anything else would bore me.