Video shot & edited in 1 day by Ben Schreiner for Traditional Arts Indiana & www.indianaartisan.org
Jerry Wallin has been an artist for 43 years, and always open to the unexpected. While he majored in fine arts, his interest in metalwork led him to open his own business, Wallin Forge, in 1966. He still operates the forge in a historic Vevay home, which he and his wife Sandra bought in 1990 and restored.
Over the years, Jerry also pursued his interest in woodcraft. This hobby led him to study the history and craft of the Windsor chair. Windsor chairs are works of art, Jerry says. It is one piece of furniture you can look at from any direction and it is beautiful.
As a master blacksmith, he was able to make his own period woodworking tools, such as scorps and adzes. Today, Jerry uses these tools and traditional techniques to transform a variety of woods, such as poplar, hickory, oak and hard maple, into hand-crafted Windsor chairs. He even re-created a dark green paint to replicate the 200-year-old patina. The only concessions to modern style are the seat height and width.
Part of the charm is the historical accuracy, Jerry says. The chairs have a look that you can only get using the original tools. Its just charming.
So far, Jerrys woodworking business has grown by word-of-mouth and through his participation in the Kentucky Guild. He hopes the Indiana Artisans program can help him spread the word about his chairs throughout the state.
In Kentucky, the state parks buy locally made pieces for their gift shops and tourist stops. Were hoping Indiana Artisans can do something similar within the state and then go beyond that as well, Jerry says. It could be fun.