der Volksstuhl

Seeking the antithesis to Hitler’s Volkswagen¹ – The People’s Car – Vanilla Beer decided to make Der Volksstuhl, the People’s Chair.
It is made by the work of the people: mothers, sisters, aunts.
It is intended to reflect the virtues and comforts of home: to promote peace and tranquility, not to kill², maim nor damage the air. You cannot sit on this; it is a reminder, only, that Hitler’s blood sacrifice continues.

Background :

As a young artist in 1972 Vanilla Beer painted tapestries for the Weatherall Workshops. A design would be sketched onto the fabric which would be delivered to her cottage in the Forest of Dean, with oil paint pre-mixed in foil cake cases and covered by cling film to stop them hardening.
The owners of the workshops – whom Vanilla Beer did not know – would not permit printing on their canvases. They said it was not accurate enough. The work was meticulous and Vanilla enjoyed it; painting by numbers was a holiday for her.

It came as a surprise to Vanilla Beer to discover in later years that she’d been working for Kaffe Fassett and Lillian Delevoryas, in a project that mirrored the ideas of William Morris and his group.

Because of this employment Vanilla Beer acquired a life-long appreciation of tapestry work and with the commencement of this project began to buy them at vide greniers³. She would carefully unpick them from the support to which they had been nailed or stapled, then wash, press and then site on the Volksstuhl with pins before stitching them into place.


¹ In 1934, Adolph Hitler announced that a car shouldn’t just be a privilege of the wealthy. He summoned Ferdinand Porsche to talk about his plans

² In the US nearly 115 fatal accidents per day – in total, since the car was invented, more than Hitler killed in his lifetime. The sacrifice to Mars continues.

³ Vide Grenier: literally, empty attic. Most French communes have at least one a year where the inhabitants put a table in the street and sell off unwanted items.