Furniture Society Conference

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The deeply held values that account for the life and work choices of the Shakers, the boat builders and all those who coax wood is predicated on the strength of community and tradition. The Furniture Society's 2012 conference - Design, Community & the Sublime - will celebrate these traditions and the intersections of craft, community and design, teasing out the ethic that results from their combination.

For more information on the Furniture Society and the conference contact Jean Aslund at the Furniture Society office: 828.255.1949

The Society's 2012 conference will convene in Portland, ME at the Maine College of Art, June 14-16, 2012. (Pre-Conference tours & workshops on June 12 & 13)


Maine College of Art will host the Furniture Society’s annual conference on June 14-16, 2012. Located in the heart of the Portland Arts District, Maine College of Art offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts, a Post-Baccalaureate in Art Education as well as Continuing Studies for adults and youths, including a Pre-College intensive for high school students.

MECA’s Woodworking & Furniture Design Program:
Woodworking and furniture design have deep New England roots - a tradition of transforming Maine-grown timber into functional artwork. At MECA, you’ll quickly move beyond basic woodworking skills into designing and crafting complete projects. You’ll learn to take your concepts from sketch to technical drawings, find your raw materials at the local lumberyard, mill them down to the required size and then get creative with steaming, bending, planing and joinery, using both classic and modern tools. The knowledge and connections you make here will prepare you for a career in wood craftsmanship—part of the next generation of talented New England-trained artists.

MECA Mission:  Maine College of Art delivers a demanding and enlivening education in visual art and design within an intimate learning community. We teach each student how to transform aspirations and values into a creative practice that serves as the foundation for a lifelong pursuit of personal and professional goals.

Furniture Society Mission: The mission of The Furniture Society: to advance the art of furniture making by inspiring creativity, promoting excellence, and fostering understanding of this art and its place in society.

Purpose of a Furniture Society Conference:  The annual conference is the highlight of the Furniture Society programming, providing a dynamic range of intensive lectures, demonstrations and panel presentations as well as a format for multiple exhibitions and networking opportunities. It is hosted each year, usually in mid-June, in a different geographical location. A concerted effort is made to insure that the conference site rotates from north to south, east to west, as well as across national borders, on a regular basis. This allows each conference to showcase local and regional artists, designers and makers through programming and concurrent high-quality exhibitions. These exhibitions are a unique opportunity for conference attendees and for the community at large, featuring work by professionals of national and international stature, and emerging artists as well as established local and regional makers. The conference is a significant annual event for the membership and for the field. It serves as an important forum for discussion and presentation in all the areas of furniture design, construction, marketing, and collecting. It offers stimulating discourse on a range of topics through an exciting program including national and international speakers. The Furniture Society also holds its annual general meeting during the conference to inform the membership and to receive feedback.

Organizational Description:  The Furniture Society was founded in 1996 by a small group of studio furniture makers, and began its commitment to an annual conference in 1997. By 2004 it has grown to over 1500 members, spanning 5 continents. Membership includes furniture makers, designers, educators, students, collectors, gallery owners, retailers, and lovers of fine craft and design. The Furniture Society, through its various programs, seeks to fulfill its mission by informing members and nonmembers alike. It stresses its commitment to the advancement of the field by providing assistantship opportunities to students, including a student member on its Board of Trustees. Its exhibitions showcase local and regional makers, as well as those of national and international note. Its annual publication and a quarterly newsletter keep members abreast of broad ranging developments within the field, and of current issues and events. The Web Site provides a constant source of information on events and activities, a communication route to other members on a variety of topics, and links to a multitude of related interests.