Only a couple of days went by before I was building a project of my own with his guidance and help. I didn't get to make a crazy racket of a noise though - he told me I would have to learn to use hand tools before he let me play with the big powerful electron burners. So learn hand tools, I did. I built a rather simple Acadian Style Cypress Entry Table. It lacked adornment other than beading but I built it - and boy was I proud. The entire summer went by and begrudgingly I never got to use power tools. By the following summer that changed, and I was turning out piece after piece of custom furniture still with his help. I continued to work with this man for 4 years and still visit him as often as I can.
To the best of my ability I have always attempted to research original illustrations and manuscripts rather than taking another man's opinion of them. I have an article here on Joseph Moxon, this is an ongoing project and you can expect to someday see a translation of Andre Roubo from it's original French here as well. My journey of the journeyman has no end in sight and I intend to continue the rest of my life as a father, a husband, a student of tradition and a craftsman of fine furnishings.
Unlike my method of work and the tools I use, my taste in furniture design hasn't changed all that much. Art Scholars blatantly over-look any furniture not originating from the North East as though it were meaningless and void of beauty. This is truly unfortunate as early 19th Century New Orleans was home to some of the countries most gifted tradesman from abroad. Over the last 300 years Louisiana's ever present Hurricanes, Fires and Floods have erased many of our benchmarks of art and particularly those on canvas or of wood. None the less some have survived. I urge anyone interested in these stunning works of art to read Furnishing Louisiana, a work by the Historic New Orleans Collection.
I began studying the classics. I've developed a greater appreciation for the Early Federal Period but my passion remains in Acadian and Creole style which like our Gumbo and our Cajun people is a pleasing, laid-back no nonsense melding of many cultures. It is an unfortunate fact that our
These days I enjoy the peaceful serenity of working in my shop, only the pleasant and soft sounds of hand saws and planes. The days of making a crazy racket of a noise are over for me. I periodically accept new apprentices because I will never forget and always treasure my experience as one and I hope to ignite that spark of interest in other talented would-be craftsman and woman. I take commissions for work on a limited and selective basis as my time is divided with the LSU Rural Life Museum and my work out there.
You can contact Jean by email with any questions.
Contact Jean Becnel
Enough about me, lets talk about my ongoing Living History project with LSU.
- Jean Becnel