About a month ago, Charles Neil (check out his online woodworking school), John Peckham and Jim Pell travelled down to Charleston with 4 beautifully turned bed posts in Santa Domingan Mahogany.
About 2 years ago these 3 fine oyster eating fellows (plus 4 more) spent a week learning the finer points of carving in my workshop. Fitting 7 people in my workshop was quite a challenge, but we all managed – with only a few small injuries. But nothing requiring stitches 🙂
On one of the days they were here several years ago, we took a little “field trip” to David Beckford’s workshop that is just a few miles down the road. David is a high-end furniture restorer who specializes in restoring period furniture. The day we stopped in, David happened to have an original Charleston Rice Bed in his shop that he was working on. Here are some of the photos of this amazingly beautiful carved bed:
John Peckham was so enamored with this bed, that he commissioned Charles Neil and I to build and carve a bed similar to this style. Charles turned the posts beautifully and I am now working on carving the details.
Last month I had the honor of being invited to demonstrate how to carve several different Charleston carvings for a MESDA (Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts) Furniture Seminar and one of the pieces of furniture I showed how to carve was this rice bed (along with an acanthus leaf on a pedestal table and ball and claw foot). Here is a video on this carving.
If you have never been to MESDA in the Old Salem village in Winston-Salem, NC, you are missing an amazing experience. The MESDA museum, library and bookstore are a wealth of information, and Old Salem itself is just a wonderful opportunity to experience a historic village very close to how it was when it was originally founded by the Moravians in 1772. You will probably need to spend several days (or more) to really enjoy everything both MESDA and Old Salem have to offer.
Now I just need to finish the rice bed carving, finish several other commissions that have come in, continue to publish a video every week for my online carving school, and write a book on acanthus leaves… in my spare time…