Talking Chairs


Guest Blog post by Jane Revitt. Jane is an artist and designer. She takes commissions for bespoke chairs and other furniture. She also sells linen cushions and cotton tea towels printed with Ordnance Survey and other maps in her online shop. whitby_tea_towels_980x390 On Boxing Day, the main road through Hebden Bridge became a fast flowing river. As the water broke into the Visitor Centre near the canal, one of the Talking Chairs was tossed around the building and its leg was broken. For several years, the chair had surprised and delighted visitors by talking to them through speakers in its wings as they seated themselves upon it. Many a visitor had their photo taken in the armchair with enough room to seat two people, upholstered in fabric featuring a map of the town. After the flood, people were shocked to see it lying on the pavement covered in mud; a symbol of what had happened to the town and the whole valley. 5_cushions_header_shorter Its twin, a Map Chair in the new Town Hall, safely above the water level found itself at the heart of the flood relief effort. For two days it was a phone recharging station for those without power, but as the relief effort accelerated it became the ‘Social Media Chair’. This was home for the volunteers who updated the flood relief page on Facebook for days on end. They were surrounded by a steady stream of volunteers who arrived in hundreds every day from inside and outside the town. whitby.__92141.1416952034.1280.1280 Social media played a vital part in keeping people in touch with the latest news after the flood. It informed people where they could find the supplies they needed: rubber gloves, face masks, buckets, brushes and crucially, when the next delivery of hot food would arrive. Hundreds of plates of delicious hot food were delivered to the town hall for over a week by enormously generous people from outside the town. These were vital in a town where many people were without electricity or who were helping with the flood relief. The two Talking Chairs were originally made for a month long project and have and lasted for several years. This one could do with a good scrub now! Jane

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