This was a wedding gift for an artist friend from her soon-to-be husband. The brief was for an easel that would hold up to heavy use, could be broken down and easily moved, reassembled as simply and with as few tools as possible, and -most critically- could be shipped flat, so it wouldn't cost an arm and a leg to transport from the shop here in Houston to its eventual home somewhere in the Frozen North. The entire easel breaks down into four main components: the upright section, the base, the ledge, and the canvas-clamp. The ledge and the clamp are fully adjustable, and lock into place with brass knobs; the main upright section locks into the base using angled tenons and custom-fabricated "bed bolt" hardware. And! The whole thing comes apart and goes back together again using only one hex wrench. I don't imagine this thing getting dragged out into an open field for a landscape study, but I have it on good authority that it will more or less fit into the back of "a decent-size SUV."
This ended up being a surprisingly fun (and challenging) project- lots of head-scratching about what exactly makes an easel work, and what are just bells and whistles. I love commissions like this, where the design is dictated by the needs of the piece itself, and a major part of the problem-solving that goes into it is figuring out how to make the thing simpler, rather than more complicated. I honestly have no idea if this thing will work as a regular easel, but I’m pretty excited about how it turned out. I figure at the very least it beats using one of those portrait-easels you stole from a funeral home. (They definitely saw you walk off with it.)