Opening Reception: July 1, 4-6 p.m.
Studio Furniture hand crafted by Furniture Masters from the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association .
The idea for the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association was first conceived in 1993, born of a creative meeting of the minds among six of New Hampshire’s finest furniture makers: Brian Braskie, Lenore Howe, David Lamb, Terry Moore, Jere Osgood, and William Thomas. Successful artists in their own right, these individuals had already achieved recognition on the national stage, yet they found themselves surprisingly unknown and largely unappreciated in their own home state of New Hampshire. The artists’ practice of their craft reflected a continuation of the legacy of fine furniture in the state; from the eighteenth century onward, New Hampshire craftsmen had labored in their studios, creating exceptional pieces of furniture from the woods around them. The trend toward mass production of furniture, begun in the 19th century, was threatening this indigenous art form. The furniture makers realized that if they were to have any hope of perpetuating their craft as a full-time profession in modern society, they needed to build public awareness and cultivate an audience for their goods closer to home. And so, in July of 1995, they formed the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association.
Today, more than two decades after that initial meeting, the Association enjoys a membership of nearly two dozen makers from New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont. These gifted artisans create studio furniture that is exceptionally beautiful and wonderfully diverse, and spans an array of styles including Period, Early American, Shaker, Neo-Classical, Traditional, Contemporary and Art Furniture.
In addition to Furniture Masters of NHFMA being represented at The Gallery at Somes Sound, the Furniture Masters work collaboratively, leveraging the potent body of knowledge and experience of this collective to stimulate each other’s creative output, host educational initiatives that engage local citizens in the tradition of fine furniture making, and participate in exhibits and an annual auction that generate a market for their works. They create the majority of their handcrafted furniture on commission, collaborating with the patron to determine the materials, style, functionality and budget for a given piece. In so doing they create fine, one-of-a-kind pieces which they hope and believe will be the cherished heirlooms of future generations. Today, their works grace many private homes and public spaces and may also be found in the collections of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American Art; The Currier Museum of Art; the American Craft Museum in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Johnson Collection (Objects USA) to name a few.
A select number of masters are participating in this juried exhibition:
Ted Blachly: A woodworker and furniture maker with over three decades of experience, Blachly designs and builds his stunning pieces in a cozy Warner, NH studio. His aim: creating furniture that is “calm, elegant and subtly sensuous.”
Jon Brooks: A Manchester, NH native, Brooks is a leading figure in The American Studio Furniture Movement, recognized at home and abroad for his ability to combine craftsmanship, inventiveness, and poetic whimsy. "My artwork is about collaboration with nature,” he says. “I am attracted to the architecture of nature as a compelling dance of control and chaos.”
Greg Brown: A graduate of Boston’s North Bennet Street School, Brown draws his inspiration from a variety of periods and styles. An extraordinary carver, he takes great pride in blending elegant design with exquisite craftsmanship and is always seeking to “expand on the evolution of fine furniture making.”
John Cameron: A stint as a boat maker’s apprentice in the early 1980s sparked Cameron’s desire to pursue a profession that unites hand and mind. Today, his focus is fine furniture, which he creates in his one-person shop in East Gloucester, MA. “The sweeping curves and uninterrupted lines in my work are a result of the relationship between design and material,” he explains.
Timothy Coleman: A master whose passion for design stretches back four decades, Coleman seeks inspiration from the world around him, perusing sculpture, architecture, textiles, nature, and contemporary and historical furniture for ideas. “My furniture has been described as poetic, sculptural and exquisitely detailed,” he says. “For me, it is a constant exploration and engagement with ideas and process, and a way to express the richness I see in the material and natural world every day.”
Jeffrey Cooper: From his Portsmouth, NH studio, Cooper delivers work in a whimsical, folk art style that is unique and instantly identifiable. He believes that imagination can engage a viewer in ways that realism cannot, and carves nature in a way that is “lifelike without being truly realistic.”
Garrett Hack: A furniture maker and teacher with international appeal, Hack creates distinctive contemporary designs based on classic forms. “I want my furniture to be fun. Useful and elegant is nice too, but I love lots of delightful surprises.”
David Lamb: A founding member of the Furniture Masters and New Hampshire’s former Artist Laureate, Lamb began his career in furniture making trade in 1972, apprenticing with the European master Alejandro de la Cruz. The consummate craftsman, Lamb takes great pride in creating works of “high value, refined craftsmanship and exquisite form.”
Terry Moore: A self-taught artist and founding member of the Furniture Masters, Moore draws inspiration and design influence from all around him and delights in creating one-of-a-kind pieces that will last for generations. “…Living with such furniture can give a sense of groundedness, of meaning, of beauty to our daily lives,” he says.
Richard Oedel: An artist with a background in engineering and business, Oedel is fascinated by the development and construction of form. “Every piece is a conversation in materials and design,” he says.
Brian Reid: A master woodworker based in midcoast Maine, Reid divides his time between creating fine furniture and fine woodworking course instruction in the U.S. and abroad. His unique works feature traditional dovetail joinery, hand-rubbed oil finishes and rare woods including Bog Oak and Bog Yew.
Jeffrey Roberts: A master craftsman with over 30 years of experience, Roberts builds custom original and period pieces; his forte is ornamentally carved and shaped pieces. “Like a composer seeks to combine notes and harmonies to create a beautiful piece of music, I seek to inspire people with the richness of wood, the lines, carvings and detail of each piece of furniture I make.”
Roger Myers: A graduate of the North Bennet Street School, Myers looks to nature for inspiration in creating the unique pieces that are born in his StrathamWood Studios. His goal with every endeavor: creating works that are “crafted with quality and integrity to last for generations.”