Saturday, April 8, 2017

Have a Seat

My new Daiso Leisure Chair! (I didn't realize how breezy
it was until I saw my hair in this photo!)
In general, I prefer to stand when I’m sketching on location, especially when I’m making the initial composition. I’m so low to the ground as it is (that’s a euphemism for “short”) that it’s difficult enough getting a good view of an interesting scene, and when I sit, it’s all the worse. But once in a while when I feel like spending more time and especially when I’m applying color, I like to have a seat.

Around town, I’ve been happy with my three-legged REI trail stool, which is easy enough to toss into the trunk of my car. It’s too bulky to travel with, though, so when I went to Paraty, Brazil, for the Urban Sketchers Symposium a few years ago, I came up with a compromise solution: an inflatable cushion. It’s definitely not as comfy as a stool, but it’s still better than sitting on the hard, dirty ground.

Shopping for a packable sketch stool wasn’t exactly a priority as I prepare for upcoming travel (more on that later), but one came to my attention serendipitously. At the Seattle USk outing in Ballard last month, I spotted Sue getting ready to make a sketch nearby, and she pulled out the world’s tiniest folding stool! (That’s not quite true – Mike Daikubara uses the world’s absolute smallest stool – folded, it actually fits in his back pocket! I found this picture in his Flickr photostream.) She got it at Daiso, the Japanese discount store.

It fits easily in any tote or carry-on flight bag.
A few days later, I trotted over to my neighborhood Daiso and got one for myself! In fact, I got the store’s last two – for $2 each! (At that price, I figure they are practically disposable – if I take one on a trip and it breaks or gets in my way, I’ll just leave it there.)

Sue and I both laughed nervously about the information on the stool’s tag, which says the supported weight is 50 kg/110 pounds. I’m almost there now . . . would I have to cut back on Chicago-style pizza this July if I want to use this stool? I consulted with Mike D., who is an industrial designer, thinking he’d be impressed that I had found a stool almost as small as his. Familiar with this “Leisure Chair” (he knows about all the cool stuff), he said that only two-thirds of a seated body’s weight is supported by a stool, so I needn’t worry. Whew – I’m safe (well, depending on how much pizza I eat 😉)!

Among the tag’s many other dire warnings (with illustrations) are the following: “Do not use for two or more people. Do not stand on or rest your feet on the seat. Do not raise one leg while seated.” 

The seat height is about 250mm/10 inches
-- not bad for short legs like mine.
The little stool itself weighs almost nothing – I can lift it effortlessly with one finger – and it fits easily in my rolling bag. (It even fits in my Paraty symposium muslin tote bag, which shrank to about half size when I threw it into the washer.)

Although the seat is smaller and sits lower, it’s more stable than my three-legged trail stool, which can tip over without much effort. To be comfortable, it helps to have short legs like mine. But Sue has much longer legs, and she sat for more than an hour making her sketch that day in Ballard. (You can see her sitting on the stool in the photo I took during her workshop a few weeks ago.)

I did a search for the stool, and Daiso carries it online – but apparently only in a bulk package of 36 (For a garden party, perhaps? Summer wedding?).

I’m ready for spring and summer travel!

My 6"x9" sketchbook is larger than the seat!

Can't beat that Daiso price!
Filled with safety warnings!


  1. Yay for Daiso! I bought my stool there almost a year ago and it's still holding together. It's been in the rain, in the mud and recently travelling overseas in my carry-on. You will find your $2 very worthwhile :)

  2. Hopefully the coming Daiso in Southcenter will have them! Otherwise, maybe a group order... I wonder whether I could find 36 people who want one? And the bulk order is no savings... in fact more than $2 each.

    1. I think your Southcenter Daiso will have them! Sue and I each shopped at different Daiso stores, and they both stock them.

  3. Nice! I need to try this for lap typing with my portables. :-)


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