you can sit on (if you own it)
Currier hosts annual Furniture Masters exhibit through Sept. 5
We all have them — in
the kitchen, in the living room, even that one in your bedroom that you
only use once a day when you tie your shoes.
When is a chair more
than a chair? Can your nightstand be more than a nightstand? Can it be
The folks at the
Currier Museum for the Arts think so, and from now until Sept. 5 they’ll
prove it by hosting the New Hampshire Furniture Masters exhibit. The
show is, in part, a preview for the Furniture Masters’ Oct. 23 auction
at the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel.
The 22 furniture
masters hail mostly from New Hampshire with a few from surrounding
states. The exhibit is on the main floor of the museum, held in two
spacious rooms. The perimeter of these rooms is decked with pieces of
furniture-art, ranging from nightstands to lamps to desks.
I was skeptical about
going to a furniture exhibit but you haven’t seen furniture until you
see this exhibit. Each artist is inspired by something different, which
results in very original pieces.
Jeffrey Cooper, for
example, is obviously inspired by nature. He creates pieces such as
“Black Bear Pair,” which are absolutely adorable. “Black Bear Pair”
could be used as a coffee table, a bench or just as a piece of art.
Cooper also crafted a floor lamp, which serves as the home for two
Scarlet Macaws, entitled “Scarlet Macaw Floor Lamp.” Cooper also has
created pieces for the Squam Lake Science Center in Holderness.
Furniture maker Jon
Siegel gets his inspiration from a tool, the lathe. A lathe rotates
metal or wood, or whatever material you intend to work with, around its
axis, allowing you to carve symmetric lines on to it. This is how Siegel
created the “Rosette Table,” which resembles a chess piece with its
lines and smoothness.
I also noticed a
popular trend — two-tone pieces. The crafters mix woods, primarily dark
and light, to complement each other.
My favorite piece was
the “Spring Desk,” by Jere Osgood. A simple piece — a desk, quite a
large one, with a place for pens and a spacious work area. The laminated
legs are the focal point. I didn’t quite know what laminated meant
until I asked. First I thought Osgood just put something over the wood
but, what it means is that he took a one-centimeter-wide piece and
affixed it to another one-centimeter-wide piece and so on until he was
satisfied with it.
Another standout is
“Chest on Stand” by Ted Blachly. This piece has the two-toned look but
adds another intriguing aspect — a wood called curly sugar maple. Curly
sugar maple has a shimmery, wavy look that adds a lot of depth. The
chest part of Blachly’s piece is made of the curly sugar maple and the
stand part is made of East Indian rosewood, which is very dark.
Ouellette took full advantage of the curly sugar maple with his piece
One of the very first
pieces I spotted was “Dancing with Yellow Chair,” by Jon Brooks. It
starts out as a normal ladderback chair and works its way up to an Alice
In Wonderland-esque piece of furniture. The thing that amazes me about
Jon Brooks’ work is that they have these squiggles all over them that,
at first glance, look like they are done by a paint brush. With a closer
look, you realize they are all hand-carved.
Whether you’re in the
mood for something simple, imaginative or thought-provoking, it’s all
here. It’s a great place to go for inspiration and thought, and I don’t
even come close to doing it justice in this review.
Come on down
Museum hours are 11
a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 11 a.m. to 8
p.m. Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free from 10
a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays; all other times it is $4 to $5.