Written by Shawndra Russell | Photos by Anthony Harden (June 2017)
Self-professed “chair nerds” Brandy Clements and Dave Klingler are helping to resurrect the nearly lost art of chair caning.
It’s something we take seriously here in Western North Carolina. We want our beer to be high quality, our art to be envelope-pushing, and our meals to be sourced from local produce. In Asheville in particular, perhaps this culture traces back to the Biltmore Estate’s impact on the city’s artistic culture and the influx of creators who flooded the city to help bring the estate to life. (It’s even reflected in the de facto residential Asheville home style, Craftsman.)
Among those proudly carrying this mantle of craftsmanship are Brandy Clements and Dave Klingler, the chair caning couple who opened the Silver River Center for Chair Caning in 2015 in Asheville’s River Arts District. These two serious “chair nerds,” as they like to say (they even have stickers touting the phrase), operate the only chair caning school and museum in the United States. They’ve truly built their lives around this niche craft, mixing Dave’s engineering background with the knowledge and experience that has been passed down to Brandy through four generations of chair caners.
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