Hand-carved Burl and Leather Club Chair and Ottoman
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Juniper legs and knotty pole work frame a pair of Chris Chapman’s hand-carved leather side panels on this leather club chair by John Gallis of Norseman Designs West. The rich coffee-colored leather of the chair and ottoman cushions is accented by taupe leather piping, which in turn reflects the natural pattern and coloration of the pine and juniper pole work. Hand-selected to compliment Chris’s leather carvings, the chair’s pine legs were undoubtedly pulled from John’s extensive wood lot, hand-carved, sanded, and oiled to perfection.
This collaboration between John and Chris is indicative of the level of craftsmanship achieved by two of the most attentive and detail-oriented artists at By Western Hands. Chris’s carvings represent countless hours of shaping and smoothing saddle leather in low relief, while drawing out the curved horn of the big horn sheep until it extends several inches from the panel’s surface. Likewise, John committed countless hours to the collecting, sanding, polishing, and applying of over 100 bullet casings as accents along the arms and top of the ottoman.
A native New Yorker, John has been fashioning custom furniture for many years. Although he started a lucrative career building custom cabinetry at Bloomingdales, his heart wasn’t in it, and he moved to Cody, WY. He worked for a local furniture maker in town, then eventually opened Norseman Designs West where he began building his own line of award-winning high-end western furniture. He combines the simple honesty of Shaker-style furniture with the flowing curves of Art Nouveau. Wood, his favorite medium, is warm and forgiving, and each different species of wood has their own smell and characteristics like people. John enjoys working and incorporating different textures in his pieces. He gains inspiration from nature, and by looking at the work of old masters, from Shaker to Stickley, Art Nouveau to Molesworth. May was a great month for John, he received the Mountain Living Award for lifetime achievement in western furniture design and celebrated the birth of his children and grandchildren.