The Queue: Misha Kahn
The Queue: Misha Kahn
Misha Kahn blends craft, design, and sculpture into spectacularly maximalist furniture.
In the world of Misha Kahn, no material or technique is out of reach. His exuberant sculptures and furniture incorporate wood, glass, metal, plastics, resin, textiles, clay, found objects, fur, electronic components, gemstones, and countless other materials. He sews, carves, blows, weaves, shapes, throws, paints, and chars these materials into weird, wild, wonderful couches, tables, lighting, jewelry, wall hangings, objets d’art, and everything in between. Born in Duluth, Minnesota, he learned to sew from his grandmother at a young age. A year of studying the highly specialized craft of shoemaking illuminated for him the possibilities that arise when one attempts a new medium or technique. “This is the characteristic that generally makes craft so compelling—discovering this tiny, tiny door that somehow opens into an enormous world,” he says. Kahn is currently based in Brooklyn, where his studio is working on building an entire house, his Gesamtkunstwerk. His new book, Casually Sauntering the Perimeter of Now, covering the first 10 years of his career, is available now from Apartamento. Jennifer Vogel wrote about Kahn and his loveseat Harvest Moon in “Assemblage” in the Fall 2023 issue of American Craft.
Your work comprises so many materials and methods. Which materials are your favorites? Which vex you?
I love to sew. I find working with fabric to create a form to be deeply relaxing, whereas most other materials involve more stress or fighting from me. I also love to sculpt in the computer, which ultimately gets 3D printed or carved in the studio. I think wood is the one that tends to frustrate me the most. I like when a material seems both readily additive and subtractive, and wood works so much quicker in the subtractive direction that I feel it creates a gravity that I don’t love.
What are your favorite tools in your tool kit, and how do you use them?
We just built an electroforming bath, and it is pure magic to submerge objects into a vat of acid and pull out something covered in metal. I love it.