September 10, 2009


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Meet the Masters
NH Furniture Masters take over the Currier for their 14th auction

By Heidi Masek

This September, see work by state prisoners in the Currier Museum of Art.

The works by two prisoners will join the New Hampshire Furniture Masters at their 14th annual auction, which moved to the Currier in Manchester after a few years of holding it at the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel in New Castle. About 20 pieces are available to bid on at “Unsurpassed Artistry: New Hampshire Furniture Masters,” Sunday, Sept. 20, plus two from the Masters’ Prison Outreach Program.

The Masters are making some of the best studio furniture in the country, said Currier chief curator Andrew Spahr. NHFM work is in collections of the Smithsonian, Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and more, besides the Currier, which owns four pieces. A Masters’ 10th-anniversary exhibit was at the Currier.

“The members all have national reputations,” said NHFM current chair David Lamb. With about 24 members, it’s become more of a regional organization, with furniture makers from Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts since its 1992 launch, Lamb said.

In upstairs galleries, the Currier exhibits historic furniture made in Portsmouth from about the 1680s through the 1810s, and other examples from New Hampshire and Boston-area makers, Spahr said. The Currier has had a commitment to fine furniture and New Hampshire makers since it opened in 1929, and working with NHFM continues that commitment, Spahr said.

Wentworth is a “beautiful venue,” but Manchester is more directly accessible from many places, Lamb said. Plus, the Currier is one of best museums in the Northeast, Lamb said. “To be associated with them ... and for them to want us there, we couldn’t ask for anything more.... It’s a form of validation, really,” Lamb said.

Their first auction was in 1995, and the interesting thing about these is that a patron usually works with a master to create the piece. If someone else bids higher, the master can make a second for the original patron. Pieces can take months to finish, and final bids have ranged from about $2,500 at the bottom to $15,000 to $18,000 at the top, Lamb said. This year, they’ve tried to keep most of the items in the middle, while last year a number were “very pricey,” Lamb said. A part of the proceeds from the event benefits the Masters’ Prison Outreach and apprentice educational programs.

If you aren’t in a position to bid several thousand dollars, or even pay $75 for a ticket to the gala and auction, you can see all of the work for the price of Currier admission ($10 for adults, free for those under 18, and free for everyone from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays). Even better, visit the free preview exhibit at New Hampshire Historical Society Library (30 Park St., Concord, 228-6688, before it closes Sept. 16.

Auction pieces are displayed in the Currier starting Sept. 18. The change allows the Masters to give a series of lectures and demonstrations leading up to the event, which is part of their educational outlook, Lamb said. In previous years, potential buyers had time to look at the pieces and talk to the makers, but looking at something finished is much different than seeing what kind of work goes into it, Lamb said. Joinery, carving and precision work are all done by hand, which is “not a common thing for people to see,” Lamb said.

Not all the items are as involved, but that shows their range of complexity, and the masters want people to know they make more affordable pieces, too, Lamb said.

“We also want to show off ... but the main goal of what we do is we want people to know what’s possible,” Lamb said. Styles range from traditional to contemporary and art furniture.

Some auction pieces are “spec.” In other words, a craftsman makes something because they are “dying” to, Lamb said. Otherwise, many masters really only build what they are commissioned to.

If you are looking for something unique, “this kind of organization is exactly the kind of place you want to go,” Lamb said. “These are one of a kind, one at a time ... so [it’s] really a different animal,” Lamb said. If you are interested in commissioning furniture or just seeing how it’s made, come to the demonstrations or lectures at the Currier, he said.

Woodworking up close
Learn how these master craftsmen work, or see their work at these events:
• New Hampshire Furniture Masters auction preview exhibit at New Hampshire Historical Society Library (30 Park St., Concord, 228-6688, through Sept. 16. Free.
• Auction pieces are on view at the Currier (, 669-6144) from Friday, Sept. 18, until the auction Sunday, Sept. 20.
• Tom McLaughlin speaks on carving Friday, Sept. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
• Jeffrey Cooper speaks on carving Friday, Sept. 18, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
• John Cameron speaks on Asian joinery examples and engraving Saturday, Sept. 19, at 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m.
• Select Furniture Masters give illustrated lectures on the history of the NH Furniture Masters (Terry Moore); parquetry technique (Brian Reid); making a dining table (Ted Blachly); and carving and details (David Lamb) in the Currier auditorium Saturday, Sept. 19, from 1 to 4 p.m. 
• Tim Coleman speaks on incised details and carving Sunday, Sept. 20, at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
• Currier Chief Curator Andrew Spahr hosts an “Auction Exhibition Gallery Tour” Sunday, Sept. 20, from 1 to 1:30 p.m.

The auction
What: Unsurpassed Artistry: New Hampshire Furniture Masters, 14th annual auction
When: Sunday, Sept. 20, gala reception and silent auction of smaller works at 6 p.m., live auction at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester
Tickets: $75 in advance, $82.50 at the door, includes auction catalog.
Contact:, 898-0242.

The Masters
New Hampshire Furniture Masters Ted Blachly, Aurelio Bolognesi, Jon Brooks, John Cameron, Timothy Coleman, Jeffrey Cooper, Garrett Hack, Howard Hatch, David Lamb, Wayne Marcoux, Tom McLaughlin, Martin Milkovits, Terry Moore, Sam Norris, Brian Reid, Brian Sargent, William Thomas and A. Thomas Walsh participate, along with guest artists Richard Oedel and Peter Turner, and Prison Outreach Program participants Al Eason and Eric Grant.


9/3/2009 Green living

8/27/2009 MAA is early
8/20/2009 Maa Art in the Park show link with People Fest
8/13/2009 Greeley tradition
8/6/2009 Taming the painting
7/30/2009 Make your mark in Goffstown
7/23/2009 Kimball-Jenkins update
7/16/2009 Local color
7/9/2009 Currier offers free admission and wood-turning demos
7/2/2009 Not a drop to drink
6/25/2009 The SOPHA Community
6/18/2009 Manchester and Concord host gallery nights June 25
6/11/2009 Art out in the open
6/4/2009 Keeping jobs
5/28/2009 Monastary and Concord Arts Market return
5/21/2009 Her own path
5/14/2009 Nine public artworks for Nashua?
5/7/2009 Indoor and outdoor Mother's Day ideas
4/30/2009 SOPHA members show off to help Food Bank
4/23/2009 Visit the Currier for free during school vacation
4/16/2009 Colleges show off around the state
4/9/2009 Artist hotline pilot program launches
4/2/2009 Cause for soldiers
3/26/2009 Can art spider link NH?
3/19/2009 Group art shows open this week
3/12/2009 Earth, animals and learning to draw
3/5/2009 Where curiosity can lead
2/26/2009 Rockin' the art degree
2/19/2009 Where the art came from
2/12/2009 Get ready for free admission at Currier
2/5/2009 Pottery served with soup
1/29/2009 Wine and desire
1/22/2009 Art for your Valentine
1/15/2009 NHAA shows off at Currier
1/8/2009 Art on the airwaves in Nashua
1/1/2009 Learn to paint or draw
12/25/2008 Arts in 2008
12/18/2008 Conserving New Hampshire art with a moose
12/11/2008 What is it?
12/4/2008 New show openings and holiday fine craft offerings
11/27/2008 New shows and new lecutures
11/20/2008 Find out about 100 artists at Salmon Falls open house11/13/2008 A Warhol film, and Dean Spiilotes at the center
11/6/2008 A wealth of gallery openings
10/30/2008 Squeaky wheel
10/23/2008 Be surrounded by art making10/16/2008 Receptions and open studios everywhere
10/9/2008 Copyright blues
10/2/2008 Andres Institute at 10 years
9/25/2008 Andy Warhol's world leaders
9/18/2008Local color
9/11/2008Local color
9/4/2008 A weekend of fests
8/28/2008 Currier ventures into pop art
8/21/2008 Expert help on a craft project
8/14/2008 Great outdoors
8/7/2008 Local color
7/31/2008 Continuing tradition and exchaning culture
7/24/2008 Drinking for animals; masters of woodcraft
7/17/2008 What's an arts market
7/10/2008 Curtain calls
7/03/2008 The Lambovich Brothers
6/26/2008 HAS: How Art†Sells
6/19/2008 It's trolley tour time
6/12/2008 Helping hand
6/5/2008 Sumi-e and photography
5/29/2008 Digital to paint
5/22/2008 New Kimball-Jenkins board members
5/15/2008 Making it in New York ... or New Hampshire
5/8/2008 Public eye
5/1/2008 Art for Mother's Day
4/24/2008 New art walk planned for Manchester
4/17/2008 Awards for the state's artists
4/10/2008 New directions
4/3/2008 New exhibits: no April Art Walk
3/27/2008 Monastary Gibbons "Visions of Monadnock"
3/20/2008 Currier opens March 30 with week of free admission
3/13/2008 Looking back at baseball
3/6/2008 Painting, calligraphy and classic cars
2/28/2008 More snow delays; Dartmouth receives arts endowment
2/21/2008 Prints and animals in Concord
2/14/2008 From the Andes to New Hampshire
2/7/2008 What does your butt say
1/31/2008 Local color
1/24/2008 Local color
1/17/2008 Conversation starter
1/10/2008 Nominate your favorite arts-loving business
1/3/2008 The inner personalities of rubber finger puppets
12/27/2007 Changes in the arts in 2007
12/20/2007 Local Color
12/13/2007 Portsmouth markets Christmas spirit
12/6/2007 One more cause
11/29/2007 Three days of merriment
11/22/2007 Advocating for arts; Zimmerman season ends soon
11/15/2007 Images, past and present
11/8/2007 Back in time at a Concord mansion
11/1/2007 Governor honors artists with art
10/25/2007 Spatial Matters
10/18/2007 Perfecting a craft
10/11/2007 Handmade furniture
10/04/2007 Capturing nature on canvas and by camera
9/27/2007 Local color
9/20/2007 Nashua, in the abstract
9/13/2007 Local Color
9/6/2007 Looking at the world
8/30/2007 Art in the fresh air
8/23/2007 Berlin pride
8/16/2007 Finding money
8/9/2007 Park of arts
8/2/2007 New Hampshire treasure honored again
7/26/2007 Taking care of wood
7/19/2007 Local Color
7/12/2007 Local Color
7/5/2007 Local Color
6/28/2007 Local Color
6/21/2007 The great outdoors
6/14/2007 Play per day
6/7/2007 Goodbye, gallery
5/31/2007 Impressions
5/24/2007 Local color
5/17/2007 Stieglitz in Manchester
5/10/2007 They're artists and they vote
5/3/2007 Lowell is the canvas for a summer of art
4/26/2007 Local color
4/19/2007 Local color
4/12/2007 Local color
4/5/2007 A Saint paul student returns to show recent work
3/29/2007 Local color
3/22/2007 Compassionate cause
3/15/2007 Local color
3/8/2007 Making money
3/1/2007 Local Color
2/22/2007 Local Color
2/15/2007 Local Color
2/8/2007 Local Color
2/1/2007 DreamFarm Cafe's big show
1/25/2007 Built world
1/18/2007 Expressions of character
1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
12/07/2006 Stained glass, found objects and ornaments
11/30/2006 No shortage of art sales
11/23/2006 A Granite†State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
11/9/2006 Visual art meets poetry
11/2/2006 Local Color
10/26/2006 Local Color
10/19/2006 Local Color
10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
10/05/2006 Fine art in a field
09/28/2006 Local Color
09/21/2006 Local Color
09/14/2006 Local†color
09/07/2006 Bel†Espirit, a happening of chance
08/31/2006 An artistic endeavor
08/24/2006 The almost-all architecture edition
08/17/2006 Half century of creativity
08/10/2006 Obsession with the Isles of Shoals
08/03/2006 See the precise craft of carving with a chainsaw
07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
07/13/2006 Making their mark
07/06/2006 Sense of place
06/29/2006 New ground
06/22/2006 MAA honors scholars an artists of the year
06/15/2006 Galleries open doors
06/08/2006 It's sticky up here
06/01/2006 Mural for MCAM
05/25/2006 Scenes from the air
05/18/2006 Vanguardians sit down
05/11/2006 Public masterpiece
05/04/2006 Art helps kids at MAA show
04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
04/20/2006 No Pinocchio here
04/13/2006 School's out art's in
04/06/2006 Meet Michael Toomey
03/30/2006 Art builds community ...
03/23/2006 From Celtic design to Ayn†Rand
03/16/2006 Got Cow?
03/09/2006 A creative view of China
03/02/2006 Monastery Arts open new show
02/23/2006 Love and art in one location
02/16/2006 Job loss leads to artistic success
02/09/2006 Art in the key of Adam and Eve
02/02/2006 Art to make you think
01/26/2006 New York†artists to show at Derryfiled School
01/19/2006 A new age of artwork
01/12/2006 Photography buffs unite
01/05/2006 Jeweler teaches her trade
Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artistís studio
Itís art, and itís even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier