“A Tradition of Craft,” hosted by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers, opened March 30 and runs through Sept. 8 at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford.
This juried exhibition of furniture, tools and other household items is showcasing how the work of contemporary woodworkers, with their skill, passion and appreciation of history, is keeping the traditional craft alive. Along with members’ work, the museum is exhibiting 18th and 19th century furniture pieces from its collection.
The exhibit opened with a keynote address by Phillip Zea, member of the furniture maker society’s advisory committee, titled “A Collector’s Passion for Craftsmanship: The Pioneering Path of George Alfred Cluett (1873-1955)”. It focused on the work of an early collector of American furniture and analyzed some of the unifying passions that are common to collectors, historians and craftsmen: connoisseurship, craftsmanship, quality and an interest in the meanings of things.
The lecture was followed by the “From Inspiration to Completion: Four Case Studies” program, a discussion about the inspiration and motivation for society members to continue the tradition of American furniture making, as well as a lot of talk about furniture.
The 20th annual statewide juried woodworking show of the Hawaii Forest Industry Association runs April 1-15 at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The exhibit features furniture, turnings, sculpture and musical instruments made from woods native to Hawaii and also a new student division.
“We hope people take advantage of this opportunity to see the show so that more might realize the incredible, inspiring talent among Hawaii’s craftsmen,” association executive director Heather Simmons said in a statement.
In partnership with the Hawaii Forest Industry Association, the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, and the U.S. Forest Service, six Hawaiian woodworkers have been recruited to design works for the show using young-growth koa. The program, called the Young-Growth Koa Wood Quality Assessment and Demonstration Project, aims to address questions about the viability of young-growth koa in existing koa wood products markets.
The show was initially created to educate and promote an appreciation of the tremendous variety of Hawaii-grown woods and has expanded to teach conservative woodworking techniques such as veneering that can make the most effective use of woods that might be in limited supply.
Hawaii Forest Industry Association. Tel: 808-933-9411. http://hawaiiforest.org
Connecticut Historical Society, One Elizabeth St., Hartford, CT 06105. Tel: 860-236-5621. www.chs.org
Society of American Period Furniture Makers. www.sapfm.org
This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue.