|The Darchen portable sketch chair|
My preferred way to sketch on location is on my feet. Sitting makes me even more “vertically challenged” than I already am, and since most of my sketches take no more than 30 or 40 minutes, it’s not a hardship to stand. In outdoor workshops, however, or in rare cases when I want do want to be seated, I have been using my teeny-tiny Daiso folding stool. As lightweight and small as any stool could be, it fits easily in a tote bag or backpack. I have schlepped it easily in my carry-on bag to symposiums and on other travels.
It has its limits, however: about half an hour. Longer than that, the low-to-the-ground seat is not comfortable, even with legs as short as mine. With a plein air class coming up, which would meet in parks for three hours each week, I knew I needed a better solution. I had been looking around for a while, and at the last sketch outing, Sue had mentioned a sketch chair she liked: the Darchen portable chair.
At less than $40, it’s a reasonable price (OK, it’s more than the $2 I paid for the Daiso, but it’s a solid upgrade). It weighs 2 pounds.
|Stored in its case, this is how large the chair is next to a 9" x 12" drawing pad.|
When I first pulled the frame out of its zippered storage case, it looked like a broken umbrella – a bunch of hinged legs and supports flailing and flopping around. With no assembly instructions whatsoever, I was already skeptical, but the bungee-corded legs popped into place fairly intuitively. In fact, the design is mildly ingenious.
|Assembled chair frame|
That part was easy; the seat placement was another matter. The four seat supports are inserted into small pockets in the corners of the seat/back unit. Like a fitted sheet, the fourth corner is the most difficult. In fact, it was impossible without a third or fourth hand to help. At home, I did have another pair of hands to help, but I knew I had to learn to assemble it alone. After several aggravating tries, I was ready to return it. Sue, however, came to my rescue with tips she had learned in assembling hers.
|Each of 4 corners of the seat/back has a small pocket. A support peg is placed into each pocket.|
|Here's the chair with 3 of 4 supports in place. This is the easy part. Like a fitted sheet, the 4th support is the most difficult to insert.|
After the first three supports are (easily) placed, the last will go in, with some effort, when the seat is pulled diagonally. Once I learned this tip, it was a snap to assemble with only two hands!
|Pull the seat diagonally in the direction of the arrow to place the 4th support.|
|Assembled and ready for comfortable sketching.|
Disassembly is even faster, and the whole “broken umbrella” folds back into its case for schlepping.
|Folded and ready for schlepping again.|