Zoccolo is an Italian word for the hoof of an animal, or a hoof-like shoe for a person (like a clog), or architectural hoofs like a skirtings or plinths or the base of a wardrobe. A long time ago my father, an architect, beautifully mended the leg of a kitchen chair by matching its end with an unmatched section of wood, perhaps cut from the leg of another chair, so our kitchen chair ended up with one hoof different from the other three. Since then the leg broke in another place, and has been nailed and screwed back on so many times that it won’t stay in place anymore.

I have been wanting to build myself a chair since before I made my first raft, and today I made a practical start to it by getting out all the broken chairs under the studio and looking at what we’ve got. We’ve got lots of them. I want to extract parts and build from them a new chair that will properly accommodate me and the things I need over the course of a day as I sit and work. This morning I found some useful non-chair parts including several wooden boxes, a very small desk I can take apart and put on a pivot, a very small stool I can use the seat of for a slide-out shelf, and a concertina file that I might be able to incorporate to keep small or folded papers in.

The most beautiful one, which reminds me of sunny mornings around the kitchen table when I was very small, is missing a hind leg and a few rungs under the right arm. It can’t sit straight but it’s otherwise very sturdy, and looks like it would wear a cardigan if it were a person. I put all the other chairs back in their stack and took my one inside and cleaned it up, and stood back to imagine what would happen to it if I added things on. I’ve come to a complete halt because I don’t know how I could amend it without causing damage.

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