For Jon Brooks
Musical Furniture Masters throw concert to put a friend back to work
By Heidi Masek email@example.com
Waking up at 3:30 a.m. to see your studio on fire has got to be a woodworker’s worst nightmare.
In the 15 years the New Hampshire Furniture Masters have existed, and the 30 years that Furniture Master Terry Moore has been working, he hasn’t seen a studio fire quite as bad as the one his colleague Master Jon Brooks suffered in January.
Brooks lost 40 years’ worth of work, his tools, templates, special woods collection and more when his New Boston studio burned.
“He’s a nationally renowned artist and a good friend, and we’re all pretty tight in the Furniture Masters,” Moore said.
To get Brooks back to work quickly, Brooks’ brother designed a small workspace, Brooks said, which has gone up, barn-raiser style, Moore said. Loans and gifts of tools have come in from all over the country, which he’s extremely grateful for, Brooks said. But some of the larger tools he’ll have to buy, Moore said.
To that end, the Moores, and two other bands with NHFM connections, are putting on a benefit concert at the Capitol Center for the Arts, Saturday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m., called “Rise Up! Out of the Ashes.”
“The loss is great, but the outpouring of support is great,” Brooks said. “It feels very heartening and appreciated,” Brooks said.
Those trying to help spread the word about the concert include the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, which has work by both Moore and Brooks.
In fact, some of the work Brooks lost was going to be shown in a solo exhibit scheduled for 2011 at the Currier.
Brooks lost 16 finished pieces and 20 in progress in the fire. Those in progress represented about three years of work, he said. He had a piece underway for the annual NHFM auction (www.furnituremasters.org), but won’t have time to create a new one in time for the catalog photo shoot, he said.
Brooks’ style is unlike any of the other Furniture Masters’.
“The distinctive nature of my work is totally connected to my personality, but it is my intention to put clear and concise imagery out. In other words I look at the imagery and think about the poetic nature of it. And when I finish a piece I want to be sure it’s really concise and direct and communicates what I’m trying to do. But in a diverse fashion. In other words, not just for the art crowd, so to speak,” Brooks said. See more at www.jonbrooks.org.
Brooks discovered after the fact that he was “woefully under-insured” for what he lost, on a policy he’d had for 25 years. Even if the policy had been more useful, what he lost wasn’t easily replaceable.
“In the end, it’s [insurance] only money to put me back on the road,” Brooks said. Tools that had been with him for a long time become personal, and had personalities — like a violin to a musician, he explained.
“I literally lost everything,” Brooks said. “I’m not the first to go through it, I know, but it definitely has got a sting to it,” Brooks said. He’s moving on, but still has realizations each day when he’s looking for something, and remembers, “Oh, you don’t have that anymore.”
Terry Moore makes guitars and drums, as well as furniture. Moore and his two sons have played together as a “pub band,” The Moores, for about 10 years. Locally, they can be seen at the Barley House about once per month.
“It keeps me out of mischief,” Moore said. They also have a bass player, and the group closes Rise Up with their rock originals, covers and blues April 3.
Moore is a little nervous since the first two groups don’t exactly cover Pink Floyd. It sounds like a good variety, though. Furniture Master Thomas Williams is in Celticladda, which plays Irish tunes, with flute, uilleann pipes, piano and fiddle (www.randymillerprints.com/celticladda.htm). Jazz trio Swing Cat features guitar, upright bass and piano (www.swingacatmusic.com).