The Massachusetts Wedding Bed, 2004
Select woods, glue, metal hardware
Introducing the Massachusetts Wedding Bed, a queen-sized bed that is made to order by hand in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, just twelve miles from where the pilgrims first landed in North America, and the first state in the United States to allow same-sex marriage.
The Massachusetts Wedding Bed is just like any other well-made bed large enough for two people to sleep in. Just like most marriages, the bed has some visible flaws. We are not perfect woodworkers, but we do our best. It is a nice, sturdy, elegant bed, capable of providing a lifetime of rest and intimacy for a man and a woman or a woman and a woman or a man and a man.
The headboard and footboard are matched-grain boards splined together and then mortise-and-tenoned into three-inch posts. The bed rails are matched-grain boards doweled together to form a rabbet profile. Removable cherry braces are laid flush in dado joints that have been cut into the rabbet. These braces span the width of the bed, are of varying strength, and are adjustable. Finally, solid cherry blocks are inlaid in the posts, and slotted metal hardware are doweled into the rails in order to make their union stronger and more attractive.
The bed disassembles into 5 basic components for easy transport in a car or up a flight of stairs. The bed is delivered unfinished, and can remain that way if you wish. Otherwise, a clear varnish or low-lustre oil finish is recommended—preferably two coats—with a light sanding (220 grit) in between. The bed can also be finished with “milk paint,” a rich, flat, and extremely durable paint used by the American Shaker communities.
Commerce Breeds Acceptance
In the early stages of any civil rights movement, protests, demonstrations, editorials and public advocacy are crucial for bringing issues to the attention of a wider public. Such actions are generally spawned by frustration and received with anger, and no amount of appeals to ethics or rights can fully overcome the spirit of conflict, of resentment, with which a movement starts. However, after the high ideals and lowdown nastiness have run their course, it is commerce that ultimately accomplishes what piety and aggression could not. Americans, as a majority, are against gay marriage. But an even greater majority—and one with a much deeper conviction—is for the profitable sale of shoes, gowns, tuxedos, rings, flowers, cakes, flatware, decorations, champagne, pajamas, hotel rooms, airline tickets, almonds, lace, and candles. In the long run, the dull routine of commerce—of money exchanged for goods and services, the taxes paid on that income and the goods and services consumed—does more to persuade the American public of what is right and decent than sophisticated rhetoric ever could.
Hence, The Massachusetts Wedding Bed. The only bed on the market whose very purchase is a statement of support for the rights of any two consenting adults to live, love, and maybe even get married, however they see fit.
A Press Conference
The Massachusetts wedding bed made its world premiere at 5:00 PM on January 22, 2005. At the time, Thingsthatfall staged a press conference titled "Two or Three Americans Field Questions About Their Country From in Bed" at Galerie Expeditie, 46 Leliegracht, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For one hour, members of the Dutch press and art viewing public were welcome to ask Donelle Woolford, Greg Scanlan and Joe Scanlan questions about the United States, their fellow citizens, their government and their shopping habits, or any other questions they cared to ask.
$5,500 shipped U.S
$7,000 shipped International