Don S. Shoemaker
A great Mexico Modernism furniture designer

The purpose of this website is to discuss Don S. Shoemaker´s  furniture designs created between the early 60´s and the late 80´s.

Don S. Shoemaker is the most important representative of Mexico Modernism furniture design. His  furniture masterpieces in tropical woods from the 60´s and 70´s are becoming important examples of 20th century design. The precious woods used to produce his organic forms were unmatchable  by any other furniture designer of his time. When I refer to his organic designs, I am talking about a marvelous prototype I had the opportunity to see, sit and enjoy, which was the base of what we know now as his simple “SLING” chair, made in some sort of bone shape disposition.

I will show samples of his original designs and furniture models. I invite you all to share in this site comments and pictures of your Don S. Shoemaker original furniture pieces. Lately I have seen a wide range of fakes or attributed pieces on sale on the web, in magazines, at auctions and even on renowned showrooms. This is an invitation to fight for the purity of Don S. Shoemakers lifetime work that I am sure every owner of a chair, stool or table of the real SEÑAL, S.A. production will share with me as long as when you own, care and cherish your solid tropical wood piece you become a “Shoemakeristi” and we do not want the corruption of his designs and name.

During the decade of the 70´s Don also experimented with linear designs, he challenged the traditional boundaries of functional design and created the renowned “Diamond Line” or sometimes called the “Z” models. Built in stack-laminated wood this line became very well known through the iconic “diamond desk”, which was used by Jacobo Zabludovsky, one of Mexico´s most famous newscasters on his daily TV program. Unfortunately there are many new copies of this desk in the market; street tales say that only a total of 25 were produced but the unlabeled desks currently on sale might be easily ten times that number.

If the piece seems odd, the leather is new, the wood looks new and smells like new and carries no label or stamp or is taped then it is a new copy!

Copyright © 2010-2014 Karin Goyer

All rights reserved. No content of this website may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the owner of this website.

@donshoemaker.com

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hugo Eduardo Beteta
    Sep 12, 2010 @ 11:28:31

    Gracias por su nota. En donde se pueden adquirir muebles legitimos de Sheomaker en Mexico?
    Any leads on reputable places to buy legitimate pieces un Shoemaker in Mexico city?

    Reply

    • Karin Goyer
      Sep 12, 2010 @ 18:23:31

      The purpose of this website is to provide accurate information about the models, names, lines, woods, etc. on Don S. Shoemaker originals. This data will become the greatest tool to make your own decision on whether or not it is an original. Please do not forget the mantra included in one of my posts. I have been making personal “incognito” visits to galleries in the US and in Mexico to certify the furniture that they are selling. Soon I will release the results. If you have any doubt about a specific piece, send me a picture.

      Reply

      • Nick
        Apr 25, 2011 @ 11:13:43

        Hi,
        I am not sure what email address I can use to send you a photograph of a chair that we recently purchased.
        Can you send the information. We would like to know if it is an original – and hoping to get advice as to how to restore this piece – it requires a replacement peg.
        Thanks,
        Nick

        Reply

      • Tammy Salvatici
        Nov 16, 2011 @ 17:51:03

        Hi – I have a parquetry service tray with diamond design. It has a tag on the back that says design by Don S. Shoemaker made in Mexico. I would like to know if it’s authentic or not. I would like to send you a picture. Thank you – Tammy

        Reply

  2. Joan Davidson,Ph.d
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 19:27:08

    My father & wife lived in San Miguel GTO for many years and acquired the sling chair, which I now own.I saw the chair in a museum in Mexico 5 years ago & the WWweb has finally caught up with him.The back is very off-w hite (no longer) leather and the cushion oddly a plastic of some kind, naughahide?Wood is clearly beautiful rosewood.
    I’s not comfortable for me but is surely an object of interest for friends visiting

    Reply

  3. Diane Kirby
    Jan 18, 2011 @ 16:07:06

    This website is outstanding for all those who wish to inquire about the fascinating works of both Don and George Shoemaker. Through an estate sale purchase, my husband and I recently became owners of one of, evidently George Shoemaker’s, dominoes sets (as has the transparent fiberglass even though has the Don Shoemaker label). It is such a unique piece – truly a treasure to own.

    Reply

    • Karin Goyer
      Jan 19, 2011 @ 16:34:57

      Congratulations for your purchase!

      Reply

  4. chris
    Jan 24, 2011 @ 16:23:45

    Can you create a page, about some of the bookends that Don Shoemaker Senal produced?
    It seems he used a few species of wood, some say cocobolo, rosewood, and mesquite, do we have any idea of the number of species, years created, and quantity produced?

    Reply

  5. Peter
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 02:08:53

    Hello, your blog is fantastic. keep it up!

    I recently purchased a Don Shoemaker rocker and it requires a bit of restoration. For example, some of the pins have broken off at the ends, the bolts appear to have been replaced and there is a poor repair job done to where the swing bracket attaches to the seat pad ‘tray’.
    Do you know where I could obtain any replacement parts?

    Many thanks

    P.S. I cannot find any reference to the rocker/rocking chair on your blog. Do you call it something else?

    Reply

  6. Peter
    Feb 02, 2011 @ 22:20:08

    Hello I have a few questions. Im into mid century decor and about a year ago I purchased a Shoemaker slouch sling chair from a fellow picker/ mid century enthusiast. The pins have the half round tops and I read somewhere that early pieces have the half round tops. Is this true? Also my sling has a different type of sling that you normally see on these. My sling is exactly like this sling.
    http://www.1stdibs.com/furniture_item_detail.php?id=488608

    My sling leather looks really old (definitely period 50′s/ 60′s) and the patina on the brass tacks are really dark. Originally I thought it was a period replacement but after seeing the one to which I provided the link for above it makes me think it may be original. Mine does not have the through tendons as the linked one but like I stated the tack, the sling leather and the cut of the leather is exact.

    Reply

  7. Engelmann Christa
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 12:32:33

    Ich habe seit Jahrzehnte eine ganze Wohnzimmereinrichtung, diverse Sessel und auch meine Essstuehle und einen grossen geschnitzen Esszimmertisch, mit Glasplatte und Schnitzereien.(Der Tisch ist weiches Holz)
    Vor vielen Jahren habe ich es in einem Geschaeft vom San Angel Inn in Mexico D.F. gekauft und bin sehr gluecklich.

    Nur wuesste ich gerne, wie ich das Holz, welches durch Sonneneinstrahlung gelitten hat, auch das Leder, gut pflegen kann, damit ich an meinen Orginalmoebeln von Don S. Shoemaker weiterhin viel Freude habe.

    Viele Gruesse
    Christa Engelmann

    Reply

  8. Keoni Rosa
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 19:12:49

    I have one of the sling sloucher chairs, my father has owned it for years. I and am considering selling it. Does anyone know what a fair value for the sling chair. It is in great condition, the leather is slightly worn, but otherwise perfect.

    Thank you,
    Keoni
    San Diego

    Reply

  9. Po Shun Leong
    Mar 21, 2011 @ 15:55:32

    Hi Karen:

    Don Shoemaker was very influencial in the way my career turned out.
    I used to visit his workshops when I was working in Morelia for the Mexican Government in 1967. His work inspired me to break free to become an independent wood artist in California thirty years ago.

    When I exhibiting at the Smithsonian Show in DC in 1989 or 1990 an frail elderly man in a wheelchair came up to my booth and it was a surprise to recognize Don. He was with a family member, his daughter I believe.

    She purchased an elaborate console table from me, in memory of Don.

    Po Shun

    Reply

  10. Pablo Villegas
    May 12, 2011 @ 11:50:16

    Great Blog, thanks for creating it! I own a sling chair, but unfortunately it got damaged about a month ago, I need to find some who can restore it, but i’m having a hard time doing it in Mexico city. I also own a black leather couch which I couldn’t find in this blog. They were both bought directly in the Morelia factory in the late 80′s. Is there a way to upload pictures?

    Thanks again for creating this Blog!

    Regards.

    Reply

  11. zoe
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 17:42:15

    Hello – I had a research question regarding a Shoemaker desk. How can I contact you as I wish to discuss this with you directly via e-mail or phone (in private). If you could get back to me as soon as possible it would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    Zoe Weinberg
    zoeweinberg@gmail.com

    Reply

  12. Matt Western
    Feb 13, 2012 @ 12:48:13

    Hi,
    I bought a strange looking chair in a London auction a few months ago not knowing what it was but only that I thought the design was brilliant. No one knew what it was and then the other day I stumbled across a website which led me to you.
    The chair looks like a Pernos chair although it is different in some minor respects to the images you show. In the same sale they had a table which I now know from your site to have been a Parsons coffee table but I’m still not sure as to the authenticity of the chair. Rather unusually, it has hand-written labels on some joints to aid the person (owner?) in how to re-assemble it. The leather stitching is also different.
    However, when I bought it I assumed it might be a prototype. The handwriting suggests someone educated in the 1930′s and 40′s who may have imported it to England or made it themselves. The pins are identical in nature to those you show. Could I possibly send you some pictures? It’s fascinating and I’m keen to establish the story of my chair!
    Thanks and regards,
    Matt

    Reply

  13. Ida C. jones
    Sep 23, 2012 @ 13:15:42

    I have a tray by Don S. Shoemaker, Produced by: Senal S.A. Sta. Ma. de Guido Morelia,Mich. Mexico. 3020 pesos (all this info is on the back of the tray) just wanted to know if it is original. Thanks so much, Ida 972-523-8483

    Reply

  14. chris kennedy
    Jul 01, 2013 @ 00:58:55

    Great blog, sign me up for future additional posts. Tnx.

    Reply

  15. Dora Espinosa
    Jan 15, 2014 @ 09:27:10

    Hola, tengo una silla que mi padre compró directamente en la fábrica de Morelia, desafortunadamente la piel se dañó y quisiera saber donde me la pueden arreglar. Vivo en México, DF
    Gracias

    Reply

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