Under the spotlight: hand-carving the Rouen stool.
Akbar hand-carves every one of our Rouen stools. He describes carving as a ‘divine art’. Literally, a blessed skill. He’s been doing it for over six years and it takes him two-three hours to carve a single stool.
He sharpens his tools every morning and sometimes throughout the day. The general curves of the frame are already there. The rest is up to him.
Akbar told us that he’s been using the same patterns for over 13 years. There aren’t any drawings, instead the designs are passed on from artisan to artisan, or between family generations. Naturally they evolve over time as each carver has his own style. Sometimes freehand using just his memory, sometimes with guiding biro sketch lines, he jumps between tools and works at a startlingly fast pace.
The motif at the seat’s centre point is loosely based on two parrots. They mate for life and Akbar tells us a romantic design needs a romantic inspiration. The cabriole feet remind him of herons.
We watched for 45 minutes. He didn’t make a single mistake.