Ted Lott is a Craftsperson, Designer and Artist whose work revolves around the history of wood in Material Culture and Architecture. Lott received his BFA in Woodworking & Furniture Design from the Maine College of Art, and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Lott has exhibited work in numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Swarthmore College, and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte College of Art & Architecture. He has received grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, Emma International Collaborative Conference, Joan Mitchell Foundation, and the Belvedere Fund for Professional Development in Crafts. He has been an Artist-In-Residence at Anderson Ranch Art Center, Kohler Arts/Industry Program, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, Center for Turning & Furniture Design, and the Vermont Studio Center. He has taught Woodworking & Furniture Design at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Murray State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and teaches workshops throughout the United States. Lott lives with his family in Grand Rapids Michigan.
Along with clothing, food and water, shelter is one of the basic requirements for the sustenance of human life. During most of our history shelters were made of local materials; timber, stone, hide, grass and mud provided protection from the elements. However, with the coming of the industrial revolution, locally sourced materials gave way to industrially produced ones, 2x4's and nails replaced timbers and elaborate joinery.
Today, in America and all over the world, balloon frame construction is a primary means by which shelter is created from wood. While connoisseurs of woodworking have long lauded the skill, precision, and exacting craftsmanship required to create a post and beam structure, the majority of our homes, commercial buildings and other structures are made using the balloon frame method.
By combining a diminutive version of this building system with chairs and other objects pulled from the everyday domestic environment I honor the logic and engineering brilliance of stud frame construction, taking what we usually only see when we pass by construction sites, and exaggerating it in a way that renews our vision and understanding. The work uses the bandsaw as a scale sawmill to generate perfectly proportioned raw materials. An engagement emerges between the architecture and found objects, each bringing it's own visual language while differently scaled systems try to occupy the same space. Unexpected solutions often emerge from the two finding ways to accommodate the other, and pointing to the deep relationship between the design of domestic objects and the architecture of the space itself.
This method of construction is ubiquitous but hidden, common yet almost completely overlooked. Simple, however requiring its own set of skills and knowledge to execute successfully, it is emblematic of the human struggle. Like us, these structures are regular, nevertheless they strive to be unique, transforming their everyday bones into something beyond the banalities of basic needs. To me, this is the reason for making objects, to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Through this process we point to the complex interaction of necessity, artistry, economy, function and beauty present in the original objects, while highlighting the possibilities of transformation and growth that are a requirement for the continuation and evolution of life.