DON SHOEMAKER (1919 - 1990)
Furniture designer Don Shoemaker was born in Nebraska to an affluent family. During the 1930s he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. In the late 1940s, he married and fell in love with Mexico on his honeymoon. He loved the country so much that later in the 1940s he moved to Mexico with his wife. He lived and painted in a town called Santa Maria de Guido, overseeing the City of Morelia in the state of Michoacán.
Don and his wife Barbara lived in harmony with nature, growing many species of rare plants in their greenhouse. Don became inspired by the tropical woods of Mexico and began to manufacture furniture from these precious timbers. What began as a small factory in the late 1950s became known as Señal S.A and grew to the point where Dom employed more than a hundred skilled craftsmen. Soon he became an important figure in economic and cultural life of his adopted town. Señal S.A brought new wealth and an economic boost to the town, and Dom was known for his good and charitable heart.
The furniture designed for Señal S.A by Dom were modern interpretations of traditional Mexican furnishings. Many of his iconic designs were inspired by Mexican traditional woodwork. The pieces made from Cocobolo, a Mexican rosewood, and other precious woods were highly sought after. The furniture was exported to showrooms in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and to large cities in Mexico. His designs were very much liked by wealthy Mexican families who had complete sets decorating their homes.
Some of his most well know designs include the Sling Sloucher chair, Sling Swinger chair, the Suspension stool and his Coffee tables were also very popular. Don Shoemaker’s furniture, chairs, tables and decorative objects remain popular worldwide.
Don passed away in 1990 and handed the business over to his son George, George however died in the early 2000s and the company disappeared.
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