I have always loved entering creative contests. Perhaps it is because my siblings and I always entered every coloring contest we came across as kids, winning many fabulous prizes. But as an adult, I really enjoy entering any creative contest that I come across, simply for the creative challenges they pose. On any given day I would never, for example, decide to build a miniature chair out of recycled champagne corking hardware. But, if someone came up with that great idea and offered incentive to do so, I'll jump at the chance.
This year marks the 6th year that I have participated in Design Within Reach's annual champagne chair contest. When the competition was started in 2003, it was a great opportunity for me to invite over all my fellow designers from work (Best Buy corporate headquarters) to socialize, sip some bubbly, make something with our hands, and enjoy the holiday atmosphere. Everyone really got into it, and I've continued to host the "chair building party" ever since.
The basic goal: build a miniature chair, no more than 4" x 4" x 4", out of nothing more than the corking hardware (wire, cork, and foil) from up to 2 bottles of champagne. I love the fact that this year they are being more green about it...entries can be emailed in stead of shipped and then only the ones they select are shipped to their office. Here are my past entries...
A very simple little chair with woven foil "webbing." This was the first year of the competition, and the only year where they made a poster with the winning entries. It was maybe 1 inch tall. I made several other more impressive looking chairs, and this one at the end of the night out of the last scraps I had of corking hardware. It was charming enough for me to choose as my entry, and I'm glad I did because it made it on the poster of winners!
In 2004 they allowed the use of both adhesives and glass. I took advantage of this with my crushed glass chair. The seat and back are made primarily of hot glue, covered with crumbled glass:
In 2005 I went for a minimalist approach with my "spiral chair." It was clean and simple, and apparently good enough to earn an honorable mention and make it into their selection of chairs sent on the traveling show around the country:
Going in the opposite direction from the previous year, this entry was much more complex. I decided to stretch the definition of a chair, and make a tire swing. But, of course, you can't have a tire swing without a tree to hang it from. I had fun making this tree, and used a leaf shaped paper punch to create all the tiny oak leaves. No winner here...but it is still my favorite!
Last year I did not host a party, being that I had just given birth, and the mere thought of sitting on chairs was painful enough. ;-) But, this year we're back on! I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet...I really never do know until the night I start playing with the materials. But, that is half the fun.
So, if you're celebrating with champagne for any reason this weekend, or still have some corking hardware lying around from your new year's eve celebrations, don't toss it out! Get creative and make a chair...who knows, you may even win something!