The Briefly Extensive History of a Creative Couch

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Sometime between the 1960’s and the early 1970’s, a couch was born in Forsyth, Georgia. In a pretty shade of green – a hue laying somewhere between celery and olive – this tufted beauty began her early life as a sales piece in Cawthorn Store for Homes, one of Forsyth’s local midcentury furniture stores.

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She sat on the showroom floor with a bevy of other age- appropriate furniture that was meant to awe and inspire the home decorator just like the goal of this vintage 1970s Levitz ad…

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But her destiny was not to be bought, enjoyed and then eventually discarded. There was no rubble heap in store for our green girl. This couch had vagabond stories to tell deep within her bones which is why at some point in her maturing life, our fair couch left the confines of her small city and headed out on the open road, eventually migrating five counties north to Athens, GA where she took up residence in a vintage clothing shop giving rest to weary tryer-on-ers. The clothing shop was above a grocery, The Daily Co-Op…

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in a historic building owned and renovated by R.E.M.’s lead singer Michael Stipe. There she stayed for quite some time until this past June, when the vintage clothing shop was packing up to move locations. In a wonderful moment of serendipity, Ms. Jeannie happened upon this couch for free just days before moving to Nashville.

While loading all 7′ feet of her into the moving truck, a piece of paper fell out from underneath the tufted section…

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It was a 1930’s paper postcard from Nurnberg, Germany.  While the card was never mailed there was a detailed message hand-written in fountain pen ink on the back. It read…

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“As you look at this card the house to the left on the corner was bilt in the 18th century. And on the rite is the first wall that was bilt around the city. At the time, it had not many houses. Later they bilt more on the outside of the wall and then they bilt another wall around it. All of this is broken down now.”

The house that our postcard writer is referring to…

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is that of 15th century German artist Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)

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Albrecht’s self portrait completed in 1500 at the age of 28.

who was an influential German renaissance painter and a prolific artist of landscapes, portraits and religious iconography throughout his career. These are some of Ms. Jeannie’s favorite Durer paintings…

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The postcard was not signed so there is no telling who it belonged to or how it wound up in the couch but it does add a fun little piece of story that strings together a collection of creative spirits across quite an extensive number of years. From the initial mid-19th century furniture maker to the 1990’s famous musician to the contemporary vintage shop keeper to the 16th century German renaissance painter to the 1930’s postcard writer to the present day antique lover that is Ms. Jeannie, this one couch has managed to connect six artistic people across four centuries.  Not often are such associations all wrapped up in one piece of furniture!

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As with all vintage items, the beauty of this couch lies deep in the fact that she’s lived a mysterious life, well-worn and adventurous. Her interior stuffing is made from hog hair, and her wood frame shows a few knicks and scratches. Spots of threadbare fabric on one seat cushion match some shabby fray on both of the arm rests, but these imperfections add more dignity than distraction.  Eventually when the fabric can hold up to time no more, she’ll be reupholstered in smooth black leather, but until that day occurs she’ll reside as-is in the land of Ms. Jeannie.  Adorned with some handmade boho pillows (a new sewing project!) and a pup who thinks she is heaven, this vintage couch seems happy to build up a new layer of history here in Music City. Time has only yet to tell what other kindred-creatives will leave their impressions upon her!

Cheers to making new friends for your furniture!

 

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