"Lost Art" seemed to be a depressing title for this entry and not completely accurate. The subject is caning. Very few people cane any more - probably for at least a couple of reasons. First, chairs that require caned seats aren't made anymore, that style of chair is altogether too "grandmother-y" for today's tastes so even old chairs that need to be re-caned aren't, and, I think, that unless you do it often, it must be hard on the hands. So the art of caning is fading fast.
We are lucky enough to have Hitchcock-style chairs that had been in the dining room of my in-laws home, and they look very good in our dining room (after all, I am a grandmother!). However, much to my total embarrassment and horror, during one dinner with company, I was suddenly aware of the seat of my chair slowly parting. You can be sure I sat very still until the dinner was over, and I could stand up, assess the damage, and admit to what had happened! After that, we looked carefully at all four of the chairs, and used only two of them - infrequently and very gingerly.
By sheer luck, through the good offices of a friend, we found a man who could refinish old furniture (I've mentioned getting the "library table" and my mother's sewing machine cabinet refinished by him). When he delivered the cabinet, he either saw or D mentioned the chairs with the caned seats. D casually asked him if he might know of anyone who did that kind of work any more (thoroughly expecting a "no"). Much to our surprise, he said, "Well, as a matter of fact, I do. My wife does that."
I asked in some surprise, "Would she be willing to cane ours?" and showed him the chairs - again expecting the answer to be a, "Gee, too bad but she doesn't do it anymore." Instead he said that she loved to do it, and he'd bring her with him the next time he came by this way. That took a while, but come they did and took the chairs.
One month later we received a call that the chairs were finished, they brought them up, and here are two of the four.
They really do look good, don't they?
Here's a close-up of the seats. The only difference that I can see between these seats and the old ones is these do not have the patina of age (or a large hole in one!). They'll get that, I'm sure - the patina, I mean!
But can you see what I mean when I said that it must be hard on the hands?