Chair Camp
With "Chairs Lady," Carla Hartman

Chair Camp, an enduring tradition at the GRPM, invites participants of all ages to honor Grand Rapids’ Furniture City legacy by crafting miniature chairs and seating from recycled materials, offering hands-on experiences inspired by iconic furniture design.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum presents Chair Camp, an educational and community event taking place from October 4 to October 7. This program offers workshops for various age groups, including a special evening for adults and a family day, all centered around the creative and practical aspects of furniture design. We’re pleased to welcome back Carla Hartman, Education Director of the Eames Office, owner of Chairs Lady, and granddaughter of renowned furniture designers, Charles and Ray Eames, to lead Chair Camp. This event pays tribute to Grand Rapids’ history as Furniture City and allows participants of all ages to design miniature chairs and seating using recycled materials, drawing inspiration from furniture design examples. Carla Hartman’s Chair Camp program has been a popular tradition at the GRPM for the last nine years, serving over 5,000 students.

Meet Carla Hartman

Carla Hartman is an esteemed figure in the realm of design and education, renowned for her dedication to fostering creativity and appreciation for design principles.  Her lifelong passion for design education and a profound reverence for the rich history of furniture design have been instrumental in inspiring and enlightening countless individuals.

Carla’s remarkable journey in design education began in 1998 when, in her role as an educator at the Denver Art Museum, she crafted the inaugural Chair Camp experience. Initially designed as an all-day, week-long program tailored for 9-12 year-olds, Chair Camp has since evolved, taking on various forms and captivating audiences in cities and countries worldwide. Amidst this evolution, one constant has prevailed: the presentation of Charles and Ray’s extensive body of work, coupled with their principles for merging work and play. This framework has ignited countless discussions about chair design, ensuring that their visionary legacy endures for generations to come.

“Chairs are intriguing because they are so similar to us. They are anthropomorphic; in other words, they have the same body parts as we do. Most have a seat, back and legs; some have arms; others can have feet and even a few, knees. Very, very few have ears.”

Craft Your Own Mini Masterpieces at Chair Camp!

Find the Camp for you:

Chair Camp: Designer Drinks (21+)

On the evening of Friday, October 6, Community partners, members, and other guests will have the opportunity to participate in a fun intersection of delicious cocktails, craft beers, and the creative process of designing miniature chairs or other furniture masterpieces. This event is led by Carla Hartman, Education Director of the Eames Office, owner of the design company Chairs Lady, and granddaughter of Charles and Ray Eames. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from some of the innovators in furniture design while potentially creating the prototype for future Museum installations.

Capacity is limited to 100 people. A cash bar will be available for this event.

Event begins at 7 PM

Tickets for the class are $20 per person, aged 21 and over. Sponsored by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Chair Camp: Fun with Furniture

Join us on Saturday, October 7th, for a day of creativity, discovery, and family fun at the Grand Rapids Public Museum! From 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Galleria, we invite families to immerse themselves in the world of furniture design with our special event, “Fun with Furniture.”

Drawing inspiration from a week’s worth of furniture design showcases, families will have the chance to explore various design examples and concepts. Then, in a collaborative and vibrant atmosphere, participants will have the opportunity to channel their inner designers and craft their very own miniature furniture masterpieces. Whether you’re fascinated by the intricacies of a vintage armchair or the sleek lines of modern design, this event is a chance for families to come together and create something unique.

Admission to the “Fun with Furniture” program is complimentary with your general museum ticket. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to bond, learn, and design with your loved ones. We look forward to seeing the wonderful creations that our community’s families bring to life!