I found inspiration, and the power of vision, in an inanimate object. The green velvet chair.

As I child I remember when mom bought an old, dilapidated arm chair from a farmer. It sat threadbare and shabby amongst the weeds in his field.

But mom saw something special in it.

Much to my dad’s chagrin, Mom excitedly carted it home with plans to restore it.

My father, siblings, and I thought, oh dear, what’s mom going to do with this piece of junk. But she had a vision that none of us saw.

Mom stripped that chair down to its horsehair stuffing and basic wooden frame, discarding the tattered outer layers. I think she soon realized that she may have taken on more than she could chew. But true to her unwavering style, she promptly enrolled in an upholstery course. In class, the walnut arms and legs were sanded down, stained and varnished to perfection. She then re-tied the springs, bought firm, new foam and elegant upholstery fabric. She recovered the chair, detailing the back with deep, diamond tufts. She finished off the design with covered buttons placed at the base of each tuft and a new bottom cushion edged with crisp piping.

What fabric did she choose? A rich, green velvet.

As the green velvet chair sits audaciously in front of my window, the sun shines on the still luxurious fabric, with soft shadows accenting the deep diamond design. Each day I look at it and appreciate the power of vision, the ability to implement a vision, and most importantly, the tenacity to plough through when others don’t see your vision.

It also taught me to look at art and design in a new light—each day, every day.

Laura Ballerini

Author Laura Ballerini

Laura Ballerini, a designer who started much of her creative journey at a big city newspaper and now owns her own digital design boutique, seamlessly weaves together an unlikely array of stories about her inspiring mother, museum visits, online shopping, designing in the dirt, and many other adventures (including a visit to Graceland).

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