If you read my bio, you know that I am passionate about history, and I volunteer with a handful of local organizations that deal with local history, historic preservation, etc. This weekend, one of the organization's that I volunteer with hosted a lecture featuring Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers, a period and custom furniture maker in the Chester County region.
This lecture was of particular interest to me, because my direct focus and passion is historical archaeology and local history - I think it's incredible to uncover the history that is literally in our own backyards. Listening to Greg speak on furniture that was specific to our region was quite interesting, and it was fantastic when he was able to connect bits and pieces of the lecture to residents who lived in the region in the 1770s!
Fun Fact: Most craftsmen were farmers and focused on their craft in the months when they couldn't farm.
The trade is so involved and as people began asking questions, I realized how in depth the information that he needed to know in order to build some of his pieces really was. For instance, he told us about the various types of wood that thrive in our area, how he needs to store them, and the processes that he goes through in order to get the wood prepared for the particular pieces that he's making .
Fun Fact: Walnut is one of the best woods to work with, and there is actually a shortage of it right now because of it's high demand.
Most impressive, was the work itself. Greg brought along a Hugh Alexander's Secretary Desk which he made as a reproduction (the original is housed in Winterthur Museum) as well as a Chester County Spice Box (which, ironically, didn't hold spices).
Fun Fact: The piece in Winterthur looks to be built of a different wood than Greg's reproduction piece; however, they are both made of walnut... the wood fades over time, and Greg stated that his reproduction piece would be the same color as the original in about 300 years.