Pritam & Eames, The Gallery of Original Furniture
Archives: The Third Decade The Gallery of Original Furniture
© Copyright 2014 Pritam & Eames
Pritam & Eames: The Third Decade
2001 - 2011

The archives is intended as a record of work that Pritam & Eames received in its 30-plus year history. The prompt for the creation of the archives came from an unlikely source: a New York State auditor, when examining the gallery’s sales tax procedures, ended up so impressed with the quality of work being shown that, before she left, she made an emphatic suggestion that the partners had a serious responsibility to produce a record of this work. And so began the registration system -- photographs attached to index cards containing the specifications of each piece, which led to the creation of these Archives.

Throughout its third decade, Pritam & Eames continued its tradition of showcasing work in group and featured shows that was made by the artisans associated with the gallery. Occasionally, a new name would appear on the roster, but the partners' early decision to focus on the evolution of work by a finite group of furniture makers did not allow for a large turn-over in the gallery's representation.

As the third decade of the archives will show there were some remarkably strong pieces to write about. Of special note in this regard were the spectacular pieces made by Kristina Madsen and Brian Newell. It’s clear that when studying individual pieces, some of the strongest work of the gallery’s three decades was produced in this period. You could also say, in general, that most of the work produced in this period was a maturation of individual pathways and less a matter of pushing new frontiers.

At this point, any student of the decorative arts can’t help but appreciate the longevity of the studio furniture movement from its post-World War II beginnings. In fact, this decorative arts period has, by this point, outlasted the length of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods combined. However, there were cyclical outside events underway that would intensify the challenges for those operating a small shop/studio for furniture production. The recession of 2009 was but one of the influences that would affect the viability of the studio furniture maker.

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Carved Rosettes and Musical Instruments by Ervin Somogyi

Although Erwin Somogyi's work does not come from the tradition of furniture making but musical instrument making, his carved panels and instruments were so appealing that he was invited to show his work at the gallery.
Renowned as a guitar maker or luthier, Somogi expanded his repertoire of classical rosettes carved in the instruments to other fields of two-dimensional imagery carved into flat boards with a scalpel: intricate impressions of cave drawings, Celtic patterns, latticework, among others.

Kells Panel #1: Sitka spruce.

Waldalgesheim Pattern: Cedar.

Celtic Panel #1: European spruce.
3-Ring Mosaic Inlay Rings

Village Life, With Cattle: Spalted maple.
Amiens Cathedral: Engelmann spruce.

Japanese Panel

Rosshire Stone Design: European spruce.


MICHAEL HURWITZ: Furniture - 2001

Michael Hurwitz's work always maintains an innovative structural dimension, a defining characteristic that he attributes to the early influence of his teacher, Jere Osgood. You can also detect the influence of another of Hurwitz's teachers, Dan Jackson, in the mirror he made for this show. The hemispherical mirror is joined to a mantle shelf built into a form of an oxbow curvature. And like another of his teachers, Alphonse Mattia,whose mirror series became his signature work, Hurwitz chose to treat the mirror as a major piece in this show.

Damascus iron pulls on China Cabinet.


Mirror: Curly cherry, purpleheart, cashew finish.

Side Tables:
Curly ash, pau amarello, silver pulls.

His side tables are vintage Hurwitz with their arching stretcher and corner brace design.

The Flower Table is a glass top table that seats four; the center of the glass has a sandblasted floral based pattern. The top is supported by four intersecting ox bow curves, yielding eight arms. This resulting shallow cup form is jointed into the intersection of two domed pairs of legs. The table is so agreeable, it's as if Hurwitz was amused by this structural challenge.

Flower Table: Ash, milk paint, sandblasted glass
Chairs with Flowers: Milk paint over ash
The Collector's Cabinet is a large chest of many drawers. Although it looks like an apothecary's arrangement, the configuration is mostly double drawers. The boldness of the piece is projected by the carved relief of the drawer fronts, the strong grain of the Japanese elm as well as the shield shape of the front. The smooth encompassing form is surfaced in raw silk embedded in epoxy, more evidence of Hurwitz's distinctive embrace of materials, both new and old.
Collector's Cabinet: Japanese elm (zelkova), Spanish cedar, silk, copper pulls.




Damascus iron pulls
  China Cabinet: Nara, Damascus iron pulls.
Looking to the China Cabinet, you are struck by its spare, linear quality. The richness here lies in the details and Hurwitz's understanding of the power of restraint: the Damascus iron pulls, the axis of the mullions radiating from a central point, the antique glass, and, once again, in the base and the intersection of four arches. Oval in shape, it shows Hurwitz's fascination with the caged form. You think of his earlier Tea Cup Desk and his lattice supported chests. He once included a large bird cage in one of his shows at the Peter Joseph Gallery in New York.

Inkstone Desk:
Japanese lacquer over wood.


Also included in this exhibit were two collaborative pieces with Yuji Kubo, the Japanese lacquer artist: the polychromed floor-standing lamp, and the amber and black Inkstone Desk with its wondrous rubbed-out pine needle pattern.

Floor Lamp: Lacquer over wood, handmade paper.

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John Eric Byers, Linda Sue Eastman, Hank Gilpin, Julie Godfrey, Thomas Hucker, Mary Little & Peter Wheeler, Gary S. Magakis, Jere Osgood, Timothy Philbrick, Fran Taubman, Rick Wrigley

NOTES: John Eric Byers continues to evolve his carved and milk painted cylindrical forms, and Thomas Hucker continues his inspired forms in this pair of cantilevered end tables. Osgood's Easy Chair is joined by a companion settee.

The outstanding wood piece in this show is an oval dining table in cherry from Hank Gilpin. The Arts & Crafts flavored pedestal has a frame-and-panel core, the corners of which have a 45 degree facet. This allows for jointing at the bottom to the horizontal S-curved legs. From its oval top, which is rounder than the usual oval, through the use of figured wood in the panels of the pedestal, to the generous strength of the legs, this piece exhibits the best of Gilpin's fresh touch with standard design elements.

In metal, Fran Taubman's Thicket Table takes her a step away from her previous Art Nouveau inspired work that the Branch Lamp represents. The forged steel branches in the Thicket Table leave the floor in a swirl of thrusting energy, giving this piece a dynamic center. The cast bronze Celery Table by Jod Lourie adds sculptural interest from a newcomer to the gallery.

Branch Lamp by FRAN TAUBMAN: Forged steel, copper, paper shade.
Thicket Table by FRAN TAUBMAN: Forged steel, glass.
Oval Dining Table by HANK GILPIN: Cherry.

Bench for Four by JOHN ERIC BYERS: Mahogany, milk paint.

Stacked Table by JOHN ERIC BYERS: Mahogany, milk paint, forged iron.

"Thinking of Bugatti" Stool by LINDA SUE EASTMAN:
Tooled cowhide, lamb suede, mahogany, curved wood laminations, brass.
Carved Treasure Chest by MICHAEL CULLEN: Mahogany, nutmeg, milk paint.

Pair of Side Tables by THOMAS HUCKER: Yew, mahogany.

"Giovanni", "Marco", & "Dante" Stools; "Massimo" Bench
Cherry, polyester foam on wood, felted wool, Tafbi (polyester).

Celery Table by JOD LOURIE:
Bronze, glass.

Side Chair by TIM PHILBRICK:
Curly maple, Spinneybeck leather.
Tall & Short Square Tables by GARY S. MAGAKIS: Bronze, steel.
Mirror with Trellis and Vine by RICK WRIGLEY:
Fumed quartersawn white oak, marquetry woods, ebony, sterling silver inlays.

  Hall Table: Curly maple, maple, ebony, marquetry woods.

ANDY BUCK: Furniture - 2002
ANDY BUCK: Furniture - 2002


NOTES: Andy Buck's work carries the expectation of unconventional form and use of color. If it makes sense to speak of a "timeless modern" idiom, there were pieces in this show that would strike the observer as timeless. The Pod Buffet table and the Moonwalker bench have qualities that make them at home in any interior with walls of modern art.

Shield Coffee Table: Walnut, milk paint.

The Pinto coffee table in white oak, and the upholstered bench have smoothly sophisticated forms. The Pinto's top is a witty parquetry design that could have originated with Dr. Caligari. The soporific green stacked balls-on-a-pole legs of the upholstered bench are kept in rigid tension by an iron stretcher with a spherical center.
"Pinto" Table: White oak, walnut, mahogany, milk paint.
"Little Drummer" Tables: Mahogany, white oak, milk paint.
  Upholstered Bench: Mahogany, milk paint, iron, silk blend fabric.
The Pod presents a long oval top supported by ten oar-like legs. Its tension is created by the gouge-carved scooping of the top surface, yielding the illusion that the gouge carved ball on one end is in constant commencing of its run towards the center.
"Pod" Buffet: Mahogany.  
The Moonwalker, a ten-legged solid two-seater bench, stretches out its length with its space oriented, catch-all receivers. With its milking stool canted legs, and spoke shave surfacing, it is a credit to the piece's depth that we accept its personality as a planetary trekker.
Moonwalker: Ebonized walnut, milk paint.
Blanket Chest: Mahogany, cedar, bronze, milk paint.
"T" Table:
Mahogany, poplar, steel, milk paint.
Foot Rest: Mahogany, milk paint.

"Reflection" Cabinet:
Poplar, milk paint, mirror.
Also easy to include in an already furnished room, the stool/foot rest reflects on African forms. Also convening the warmth of association, the Checker's Chest, Little Drummer tables and the Shield low table, all demonstrating Buck's control of patterns in painted colors.
"Checkers" Chest with Lamp: Mahogany, brass, milk paint.  
"30 Legs" Console Table: Walnut, white oak, poplar, milk paint.



This is the first two-person show at Pritam & Eames to feature the work of graduates of the College of the Redwoods: William Walker and Brian Newell. The excellence of their work made the choice for this show easy.

When a maker completes a dining room extension table and ten chairs, all made from the same tree, one says they have done their work. When the table comes with such features as a resawn veneer top with cocobolo inlay and edging, a maple torsion box extending mechanism, and corner oriented, curved, pillowed, and faceted legs that pour from the apron, you know you have a piece that was not only time-consuming but fueled by a vision. The resulting table is simply one of the most appealing and sophisticated dining room tables the gallery has hosted.

This dining suite is
accompanied by a pair of flawless side tables in fiddleback maple, with tops of Kerilian/Masur birch. Square in form, the scale is sufficiently ample to support a reading lamp.

Walker's style is consistent with what was described earlier as a Northwest coast contemporary style, with roots perhaps in Scandinavian Moderne but by now comfortably American with its own sophisticated corner leg and apron solutions. It should be mentioned that the chair retailed for under $2,500. With a compound curved wooden back, an upholstered seat that fits neatly inside the wooden frame of the aprons, and five-faceted curving front legs, this was an unparalleled design feat that never lost sight of the production demands.

The basic nature of Brian Newell's approach to furniture is so distinct that his work commingled with Walker's without confusion. After his 2001 Spider Cabinet, one could only ask, whatever will this maker do next? This was Brian Newell's decade, one that firmly established him as a principal player in the American studio furniture movement. Living in Japan with his wife and young daughter, he worked uninterrupted for nearly a decade, producing a brilliant body of work unmatched by anyone for its vision and bravura workmanship.

His ebony cabinet and nine-legged ebony desk do not disappoint and prove how a work as eccentrically distinct as the 2001 cabinet could extend its aesthetic reach to include other works as strong. Having described these pieces as of a body of work, if you could call the desk Cinemascope, then the cabinet would be Silent Cinema of the darkly experimental variety. Like the Spider Cabinet, a pierced-carved grill sits in the center of the Ebony cabinet and dares the viewer to venture inside. The two doors are the full length of the cabinet and open by reaching through the grill. The inner space is a central, vertical tapered column of seven drawers which is flanked on either side by two shelves.

Ebony Cabinet by BRIAN NEWELL: Macassar ebony, pearwood, rosewood.

Dining Room Extension Table with 10 Chairs (all from one tree)
Cherry, cocobolo; sueded fabric.

  Side Tables by WILLIAM WALKER:
Kerilian/Masur birch, fiddleback maple, cocobolo.
The Ebony Desk stands like a creature from the depths surveying its newly acquired space. The segmented, curved shell armature of the carcass, as well as the fish scale pattern used in the grill and veneer, lend additional energy to the already animist feel of this piece. The innermost reaches of the carcass become the private crannies of the individual user.
Ebony Desk by BRIAN NEWELL: Macassar ebony, pearwood.

There is a pierced carved grillwork in the center of the Thorn Cabinet that holds the first look. It is carved through in a pattern of thorns. The cabinet sits on a proportionately tall stand, its eight legs descending without curve to their small eggplant-shaped feet. The effect is to have the cabinet itself sitting high as if in an aerie world all of its own, while projecting by means of the bottom leg stretchers a floor plan of the building above. And the sense of that cabinet is cathedral, with a central nave and left and right transepts.

Looking again at the central pierced carving, it becomes an arched porthole to the interior.  The thorn pattern of the carving is expanded into a “cracked ice” pattern on the façade, but it is also used to create “clerestory windows” at the top of the central compartments sides.


Thorn Cabinet by BRIAN NEWELL: English sycamore, holly.
Fish in Boxes by BRIAN NEWELL: Carp: Boxwood; longleaf pine.
Lookdown: Boxwood; isu noki. / Flounder: Boxwood; teak.

The two small tables that accompanied these two larger pieces did not break stride with this original style. The shape of both tops reflect simplified, oriental flower patterns -- a circumference of curved petals form the base. The top surfaces were used by Newell to extend his experimentation with laying veneer patterns by cutting pieces in succession. This additive process means that each piece of the pattern, a feather-like form in these two examples, is cut to the outline of the succeeding piece. The result is a flow of form more painterly than not.

The six-legged table has the tops of the legs snug into the intersection of each of the six petal forms. The second table has an arched cross base with four posts midway into the intersection.
Side Table by BRIAN NEWELL: Cocobolo, pearwood.
  Six Legged Side Table by BRIAN NEWELL: Leadwood, imbuya.

WENDY MARUYAMA: Turning Japanese - 2002


Turning Japanese

August 9 -- September 17, 2002

Stacked Boxes by KRISTINA MADSEN: Pau ferro, silk.

This exhibit is the fifth show at Pritam & Eames to feature the work of Kristina Madsen. Her major work for the exhibit, reminiscent of Shaker storage boxes, is a stack of three lidded chests, each chest successively smaller. The four sides, but not the tops, of the chests are carved. The patterns are prompted by the repetitive, geometric patterns of lace work: on each case, an upper and lower border of high complexity frames a broad mid-section of diagonal lines done with a toothed pattern. The grain of the pau ferro wood shows through the patterns and gives the illusion of moiré silk or a double weave. 

Other Madsen work in the show included a pair of square low tables combining tops of black granite with carved wenge borders. This time the pattern is based on the repetition of a moth-like figure. In her 1995 show, she had used a grasshopper figure in gesso on a small chest of drawers to wonderful effect. This time the black dyed pearwood border has an under layering of pau ferro to reveal red tones through the black.

Her small stool was a canvas for new bold pattern work to come. The carved surface is divided into rectangles, with each rectangle divided again by a diagonal, creating a repeat of right angled triangles. In a single rectangle, the pattern work in one triangle is based on spherical lines carved into the bubinga of the stool. The complementary triangle is composed of black stripes inter- spaced with stripes in white gesso in a repeat pattern that is suggestive of Roman numerals. Madsen has said that textiles offer her endless richness and diversity as sources of inspiration.
Wenge, pau ferro, dyed pearwood, black granite.

Stool by KRISTINA MADSEN: Bubinga, ebony, maple.

Turning Japanese

NOTES: Though she would exhibit an occasional piece at Pritam & Eames over the years, Wendy Maruyama's work was not a major presence at the gallery since her two person exhibit with Ed Zucca in 1983. Both artist and gallery thought it was time to remedy this. Maruyama was ready with an idea that had been germinating since the 1990s for a new body of work. The Turning Japanese cabinet series juxtaposes icons of Japanese pop culture like Hello Kitty paraphernalia, a Harley Davidson motorcycle mirror, female warriors and Godzilla figurines, Devilman comic book series, and "hentai" (Japanese slang for perverted) comic books with antique prints of samurai, women in kimonos, temple gardens, and images of the great Kamakura Buddha. The new cabinets are about the myths and contradictions she discovered when she visited Japan in the 1990s. Maruyama says these cabinets represent a complete contrast to the doll cases of her childhood and are a more accurate depiction of what she sensed in contemporary Japan.

The floor standing cabinets are glass display cases on simple, painted cabinetry. According to Maruyama, this design relates to the traditional Geisha doll cases she remembers from childhood where the porcelain doll was encased in glass. The King of the Monsters cabinet, with its elegantly proportioned case, supports a glass top with a diorama featuring a Godzilla figurine stomping through a Japanese city with a laser print image of Mount Fuji in the background.

In contrast to the quiet green of the Monsters cabinet, Angry Asian Women is a brilliant vermillion red. Its diorama presents two Devilman comic book female warriors standing in front of a photo montage of an ancient Japanese temple, its overgrown steps appearing to descend towards the figures who stand with glowering consternation. The sky is threatening. The doors of the cabinet have two lazer-burned tonsui-like plates of a geisha with a hand inside her kimono, an image from a 17th-century Ukioye wood block print. “I saw this woman as sure of herself, assertive, and a dangerous character. I love the depiction of women through these modern idioms. It’s a complete contrast to the geisha dolls in their glass cases from my childhood.”

In addition to these floor standing cabinets, there were nine wall hung cabinets and prints cases. These cabinets winkingly reference the Tokonoma alcove in traditional Japanese homes that house scrolls, flower arrangements, and other art. Chick-Chicky Boom-Boom, with its Harley Davidson mirror functioning as the cabinet pull, stands in stark contrast to the classical intent of the Tokonoma.

Although their work is a study in contrast as far as style, material, and focus, Maruyama and Madsen share a background of rigorous training in furniture making as well as status as among the most prominent figures in the American studio furniture movement. Also, Maruyama and Madsen have been friends since the early 1980s when they both exhibited at ArtPark in Lewiston, NY.

"Angry Asian Women" Cabinet by WENDY MARUYAMA:
Polychromed mahogany, quarter-sawn white oak, laser-etched stainless steel, glass, digital images, figurines.

"King of the Monsters" Cabinet by WENDY MARUYAMA:
Polychromed mahogany, quarter-sawn white oak, photo-etched stainless steel, glass, digital images, figurine.


"King of the Monsters" Wall Cabinet by WENDY MARUYAMA:
Interchangeable backgrounds.


Small Print Case by WENDY MARUYAMA

Large Print Case by WENDY MARUYAMA
Nature Kit & Garden Deity
"Garden of the Deity"
"Woman Eating Octopus"
Feelgood Cabinet
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Michael Cullen, David Ebner, Duncan W. Gowdy, Janene Hilliard, Kim Kelzer, Tony Kenway, Gary S. Magakis, Greg Smith, Craig Vandall Stevens, Fran Taubman, Joe Tracy, Rick Wrigley

NOTES: Duncan Gowdy's three wall-hung cabinets evoke a homesteading motif that seems to run through his work. His careful choice of material, imagery, and color, all lend themselves to charming effect.

"Alfred's Tree" Cabinet by DUNCAN W. GOWDY: Cherry, poplar, paint.
Cabinets by DUNCAN W. GOWDY
Yellow Cabinet by DUNCAN W. GOWDY:
Poplar, aluminum, paint.

House Cabinet by DUNCAN W. GOWDY:
Walnut, salvaged Douglas fir, dye.
Three Mirrors by MICHAEL CULLEN: Carved, dyed, distressed mahogany.
Acorn Lamp by JANENE HILLIARD: Double-fused hand made glass tiles, bronze.
Figured mahogany.
Game Table by KIM KELZER: Mahogany, paint.
Arm Chair by TONY KENWAY:
Tasmanian huon pine.

Small Drum Table by GARY S. MAGAKIS: Bronze.
Hall Table by GREG SMITH: Bog narra.



"Carpe Diem" Table
Wenge, maple, marquetry woods: pau ferro, pear, maple, bloodwood,
quilted mahogany, mother of pearl.
Vitrine by CRAIG VANDALL STEVENS: Kwila, wenge, German rolled glass.

Blossom Chandelier by FRAN TAUBMAN: Forged and fabricated steel and copper.

Hall Table by RICK WRIGLEY: Curly maple, maple, ebony, marquetry woods.



Dale Broholm, Andy Buck, John Eric Byers, John Dunnigan, David Ebner, Noel Hilliard, Thomas Hucker, James Krenov, Kristina Madsen, Judy Kensley McKie, Brian Newell, Richard Scott Newman, James Schriber, Greg Smith, Fran Taubman, William Walker

NOTES: Kristina Madsen's bench is simple in structure and spare in sculptural detail, but it continues her use of this genre as a canvas for pattern exploration. Here the use of triangular form yields an aggressive design while the use of black and white tones within the context of the natural wood color, accentuates their pattern. Note how the canted sides control side-to-side stresses.



Carved Bench by KRISTINA MADSEN: Bubinga, ebony, maple.

Wild Beast Bench by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Cast bronze.

Judy McKie also contributed a bench for this exhibit. Called the Wild Beast Bench, it was one of a bronze edition, the design conceived as a seating piece for the Springfield Art Museum in western Massachusetts. In spite of its title, the piece expresses a benign, almost beatific, feeling that welcomes the user.
Cast bronze.

Helping Hands Bowl
Cast bronze.
Owl Vessel by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Cast bronze.


From California, James Krenov sent a small cabinet in his continuing family of cabinets on stand. Its simplicity in style gives presence to his sensitivity for wood selection, while the asymmetrical layout of the six small drawers inside add visual interest. Krenov liked to place features on his cabinets asymmetrically to suggest an unplanned aspect to his cabinets.

The cabinet by Greg Smith, who studied with Krenov, exhibits his teacher's sensibilities, but also his own direction with a two-level, footed but door-enclosed base, and the use of glass in the two top doors. Krenov occasionally used glass in cabinet doors, especially his small wall-hung designs, but he also used open, wood-framed space, as well as curved to vent door panels to give a cabinet openness. Smith's cabinet is slender, accentuating its height, and follows his teacher's lead in the use of claro walnut for the top section and kwila and yaka in the lower section.

William Walker and Brian Newell once studied with Krenov at the College of the Redwoods. Newell was already a carver by personal inclination; his contribution to this show was a miniature Lookdown Fish carved from boxwood. Newell's time spent in Japan makes one think of the netsuke carving that might have influenced him to make this piece.

Walker's pair of bubinga side tables has handsome functional proportions, but also an elegant slenderness with their gently arched aprons and legs set into the corners at 45-degrees.

Cabinet by JAMES KRENOV:
Spalted beech, kwila stand, laurel and Cedar of Lebanon drawers.
Cabinet by GREG SMITH: Claro walnut, yaka, Monterey cypress, kwila, brass. Side Table by HANK GILPIN: Wenge

Side Table by HANK GILPIN: Wenge. Side Tables by WILLIAM WALKER: Bubinga, Indian marble.

The Big Chair from James Schriber was the first appearance at the gallery of this design. It is generous in proportion and most comfortable as an upholstered seat. The arms have a poured and fluid design, which makes an easy transition to the slightly sabered front legs. The crown has a simple classical reference, but a decided masculinity in its generous proportion; this member alone took three-inch thick bubinga stock to make.
Big Chair by JAMES SCHRIBER: Cherry, upholstery.

Bookcase by JAMES SCHRIBER: Wenge, steel.

Footstools by ANDY BUCK: Honduran mahogany, milk paint.

Five Ovals Dresser by JOHN ERIC BYERS:
African mahogany, Honduras mahogany, hand-forged iron, milk paint.

Bench for Three by JOHN ERIC BYERS:
African mahogany, Honduras mahogany, milk paint.

Chair by JOHN DUNNIGAN: Claro walnut, Larsen cotton fabric.

Sideboard by DAVID EBNER: Bamboo.




Vessel by DAVID EBNER: Cast bronze.

Door Pulls by DAVID EBNER:
Cast bronze

Anastasi Chandelier by NOEL HILLIARD: Hand blown glass tile, bronze.

Low Table by THOMAS HUCKER: Academy pine, gold leaf.

Low Table by THOMAS HUCKER: Bubinga.

"Gigantoni" Bench by JULIE MORRINGELLO:
Baltic birch plywood, pre woven chair cane, Poly-fill.

Lookdown Fish by BRIAN NEWELL: Boxwood, teak box.

Branch Sconce by FRAN TAUBMAN: Forged & fabricated steel, paper.

Hall Table by RICK WRIGLEY:
Cherry, makore, ebony, holly.

Wall Bowls

NOTES: Dean McIlwain's carved and milk-painted Wall Bowl series combined form and function: the bowls, carved from various woods, could be used as a table top accessories or hung on the wall as decorative objects.

Compass: Mahogany, milk paint.

Compass: Mahogany, milk paint.
Banded Square Circle: Poplar, milk paint.

Tall Banded Oval: Mahogany, milk paint.
Shield: Mahogany, milk paint.

Banded Ellipse: Mahogany, milk paint.

Banded Square Circle:
Mahogany, milk paint.

Mahogany, milk paint.
Flame: Mahogany, milk paint.

Frangipani: Mahogany, milk paint.

Yellow Circle with Quartered Circle Squares: Mahogany, milk paint.
Boom: Mahogany, milk paint.

Rustic Club Chair: Ash. Asparagus Stands with Frog Ball: Bronze.

Heroic Furniture, Vessels & Sculpture

NOTES: Pritam & Eames began exhibiting Howard Werner’s work in a 1985 show titled Subtractive Work. In that show, the Star Dining Room Table particularly illustrated Werner’s skill in chain saw carving. The carving combined fine external texture work with parallel internal planes that are very difficult to achieve. The earlier show presaged the flow of strong work that would come from Werner's upstate New York and Arizona studios.

Eucalyptus Chair #166: Eucalyptus.

Dining Table: Sycamore.

In the 2003 show, his sycamore dining table, in trestle form again, used geometric design cut from whole logs with parallel surfacing in two “X” forms to support the impressive mass of the top. The planes of the “X” forms illustrate the wonderful ways in which grain pattern can be revealed when anticipated by an experienced artist. 

The two Eucalyptus chairs, although in practice surprising comfortable due to the sensitive sculpting of the bowl forms that create the seat, step more dramatically into the realm of sculpture. Here the bowled interiors are nicely set off by the exterior planes of the sides and back.
Eucalyptus Chair #165: Eucalyptus.

Eucalyptus Vessel #129: Eucalyptus.
Double Pad Coffee Table: Eucalyptus.

The show also included two low tables. The Double Pad Table also succeeded through its use of contrasting forms. In this piece, the stolidity of the minimalist bench support is saddled by two pad forms which straddle, and yet float, on this base. While the one form is purely geometric, the pads are encircled by the live edge of the eucalyptus log from which they were sectioned.

There were also four vessel forms that rounded out the show, each vessel was sculpted from a different wood in Werner’s investigation of pure form.

Cottonwood Vessel #64: Cottonwood

Poplar Vessel: Poplar.

Hollow Sculpture: Palm.

Coffee Table: Ash.


Appetites:Tables & Garden Objects

(Bronze editions of 12)

NOTES: Trained as a sculptor and ceramist, Jod Lourie chose bronze and glass as her mediums for this show. Her fine arts background notwithstanding, Lourie made a decided effort to include utility as an added attraction to these delightful sculpted vege-tables and stands for the garden and home.

Tall & Small Asparagus Stands: Bronze.
Lizard Ball: Bronze / Flower Ball: Bronze / Beetle Ball: Glass.

Three Squash Table: Bronze, glass.

Celery Table: Bronze, glass.

Sprouts Table: Bronze, glass.
Single Squash Table: Bronze, glass.
Four Squash Table: Bronze, glass.



NOTES: The title of Osgood’s chest of drawers in this show was Semaine et Deux. A semainiere is a French term for a chest that has a drawer for each day of the week; typically, the semainiere holds lingerie. In this piece there were nine drawers; often it was referred to as the Tall Chest. The claro walnut used in its case and drawers was handsomely embellished with faux ivory pulls.  This piece joins Osgood’s historical family of chests of drawers including his high chests, low chests, and now this tall elegant form.

Semainiere et Deux by JERE OSGOOD: Claro walnut, faux ivory.


The curly maple Book Stand in this show is closely related in form to Osgood's Stand Up Desk. Here the long, curved front legs through a cantilevered form also provide stability for the top surface. Perhaps the most original piece in the show was Osgood’s Table for Two. Although the table obviously provides room for four, its title wryly refers to its unusual design for a split leg at the table’s corners. The top’s corners are sculpted out to reveal the split branch union of the double leg that supports the corner. The top of the base is created to form a crotch split in the horizontal plane at the corners. Each branch of this crotch is jointed in a twin or symmetrical leg which follow each other closely but in a left and right split identity. A single leg at the corner ends in a point at the floor. This point can act as a pivot and introduce motion at the corner. The twin legs counteract this nicely: they are at once very appealing in their twin-ship as well as functional. The shaping of the legs is informed by Osgood’s interest in natural branching, the flow of nature itself, rather than a sense of style.



Book Stand by JERE OSGOOD: Curly maple.

Table for Two by JERE OSGOOD:
European hornbeam, claro walnut.

His pair of chairs, also made in European hornbeam, continue the theme of a split branch design and is used in both the design of the side aprons with their accompanying stretchers as well as the design of the back support. One note about the form of the back support: although this split tendril design has appeared before in Osgood’s chair work, in these earlier chairs the termination of each tendril from the crown was at an acute angle into the rear leg. In these chairs, he instead uses a slight stretcher between the rear legs that allows a more satisfying structural termination and which alleviated the tendrils traveling all the way to the two sides.
Chairs by JERE OSGOOD: European hornbeam, leather.



NOTES: Tom Hucker introduced a new rocker in pickled maple in this show. There are a number of striking features about this chair starting with the seat that curves all the way to the floor where it joins into the rocker base. At first this appears to be a familiar shield-like form that Hucker has used before, but here the seat begins in a concave form which gradually flattens as it curves towards the floor. The concavity for the comfort of the human form, the flattening allowing for the downward bend.  Equally audacious was the continuous ribbon form of the arms which extended from the back’s crown through the vertical rise of the front leg in a seemingly continuous form. The delicacy of this first rocking chair attracted a number of women who happily tried it. Later versions were re-dimensioned to accomplish more universal comfort. 

Rocker by THOMAS HUCKER: Maple.

The vertical members of this side table by Hucker represent another example of a complicated puzzle that he likes to take on, which has its roots in his novel structural designs. This bent shield begins in a gentle chevron shape as it joins with the top but, as it sweeps down to its foot, ends as a straight line. The gentle chevron gives him necessary triangulation for his joint with the top, while the foot creates a simple modernist terminus. The shield, or forms using bent planes, occur throughout Hucker's work.

In the 1990s, Hucker came across salvaged 200-year old pine boards that had come from the king post of the renovated Philadelphia Academy of Music. He turned this material into a series of furniture pieces.

Hucker has always liked to play with opposite tensions -- buoyancy and mass, light and dark, elegance and poverty. He likes translucency in his cabinets but avoids plain glass as a solution. In the Kueihsing cabinet [introduced in 1999] he uses Japanese silk glass, which imparts a misty quality as opposed to the opacity of frosted glass.

Side Tables by THOMAS HUCKER: Unknown wood, wenge legs.

Low Table by THOMAS HUCKER: Academy pine.  
YUJI KUBO Lacquerware 12/2003
 YUJI KUBO Lacquerware 12/03

NOTES: It was Michael Hurwitz who introduced the gallery to the work of Yuji Kubo. Hurwitz had apprenticed with Kubo in Japan to learn the traditional art of lacquer-making. Hurwitz called one day and said, "You must have his work!"

Kubo works in the traditional meticulous 45-step process -- taking two months to complete a single piece.
Kohikidasi (Box of Nine Drawers): Cypress, plywood, Urushi ground,
Urushi lacquer.
Round Box: Medium density fiberboard [MDF], potter's wheel molding,
urethane ground, Urushi lacquer.
Rectangle Box: Cypress, plywood, Urushi ground, Urushi lacquer.

  Decoration Box: Cypress, Urushi ground, Urushi lacquer.
Box: Cypress, plywood, Urushi ground, Urushi lacquer.
Box with Four Drawers: MDF, plywood, Urushi lacquer.

Box with Four Drawers: MDF, plywood, Urushi lacquer. Cypress, plywood,
Urushi ground, Urushi lacquer.
Rectangle Box: Cypress, plywood, Urushi ground, Urushi lacquer.
Long Tray: Plywood, urethane ground, Urushi lacquer.

Red Bowl: MDF, potter's wheel molding,urethane ground, Urushi lacquer.
Cherry Tree Round Box: MDF, potter's wheel molding,urethane ground,
Urushi lacquer, silver.
Blue Bowl: MDF, potter's wheel molding, urethane ground, Urushi lacquer.

Moon Plate: MDF, potter's wheel molding, urethane ground, Urushi lacquer, platinum, gold, gold powder.

    2 0 0 4
  A chair display at P&E  

Michael Cullen, David Ebner, Hank Gilpin, Duncan W. Gowdy, Thomas Hucker, Kim Kelzer, Tony Kenway, Gary S. Magakis, Judy Kensley McKie, Jefferson Shallenberger, J.M. Syron & Bonnie Bishop, Rich Tannen

Redwood burl, pear, holly.
Cat Bench by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Cast bronze.

NOTES: Judy McKie's bronze Cat Bench originated as a commission for exterior seating for a children's library in Cambridge, MA. Its form suggests that it can support any burden easily, which its playful, inquisitive attitude seems to invite. There is a continuous arch of strength from the tip of the tail through to the top of the ears.

The show also included McKie's Trapezia Chest. The chest made use of her eye for carved, abstract pattern. The pulls stand proud of the drawer fronts, but set off geometric ripples sympathetic to their shapes. The sides have similar patterns, though their centers rest in the same plane as the side itself.




Trapezia Chest by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Basswood, milk paint.

Tom Hucker uses more of the 200-year old pine from the Philadelphia Academy of Music to great effect in his two mirrors and tilt-top table. The tilt-top is one of his favorite historical pieces, Hucker says, because it goes from function to function. He also takes into account that this kind of table would have been in vogue at the time the Philadelphia Academy of Music was built.

The tilt-top table here had carved slipper feet. Also, note the shaped edge of the top is not applied, but carved in relief from the solid top.

Mirror with Gold by THOMAS HUCKER: Pine, holly, gold leaf, antique mirror glass.
Tilt-Top Table by THOMAS HUCKER: Academy oak.

Mirror by THOMAS HUCKER: Pine, ebony, antique mirror glass.

Hank Gilpin's small desk chair features a beautiful use of curly ash. Note the use of double stretchers in this design which he had begun to use in the 1980s. The chair is Arts & Crafts in feel although its structure is not at all heavy or ponderous -- altogether this is a light, fresh chair design. Both the back splat and the seat are shaped and free forms. The seat is shaped to slide back into and gently curve away from the thighs. Instead of side aprons, the solid shaped seat allows Gilpin to use back to front stretchers which are through tenoned into side-to-side stretchers.

His two side tables, variants on a cross stretcher support design, show how well simple changes can affect the mood and style of a piece.

Chair by HANK GILPIN: Curly ash.
  Tables by HANK GILPIN: Wenge; maple.

Blanket Chest by DUNCAN W. GOWDY: Cherry, ash, cedar.

Portage 9.11 by JON BROOKS:
Maple, ash, colored pencil, acrylic, pastel, aluminum.

Bedside Table by DAVID EBNER: Bamboo.

Small Tables by MICHAEL HURWITZ: Pearwood.

Table by GARY S. MAGAKIS: Bronze. Small Tables by KIM KELZER: Basswood, mahogany, milk paint.

Tony Kenway, known for his rockers and this arm chair design, contributed another seating piece for this show. An Australian, Kenway's pieces use a variety of local "timbers" including soft woods as in this chair version in red cedar. Whether cedar or pine, Kenway selects these soft woods carefully, using slow growth material that yields closer growth rings and a denser material of greater strength than normal growth soft woods.
Arm Chair by TONY KENWAY: Red cedar.

In this turn-of the-century show, Rich Tannen's blanket chest in ash is a fine example of his experimentation with CNC router carving. The suggestion of a checker-board pattern, though made with gentle hills and valleys, allows a wonderful exposure of growth ring patterns in its smoothly mottled shaping. The CNC relief carving is also textured.


Blanket Chest with Till by RICH TANNEN: Ash.

Ilseboro Series Small Chest by J.M. SYRON & BONNIE BISHOFF: Basswood, Ash.

Banded Square Wall Bowl
Port Orford white cedar, milk paint

Yellow Boat Wall Bowl by DEAN McILWAIN: Poplar, milk paint.



Dale Broholm, Jon Brooks, Andy Buck, John Eric Byers, Michael Cullen, David Ebner, Janene Hilliard, Thomas Hucker, Michael Hurwitz, Tony Kenway, Richard Scott Newman, Jere Osgood, Timothy Philbrick, James Schriber

NOTES: The gallery's 23rd Anniversary Show gathered an eclectic array of studio furniture pieces, once again providing testimony to the distinctive individualistic nature of the work.

"Toil" Cabinet by DALE BROHOLM: Poplar, ash.

"Narcissus" Chair by JON BROOKS: Maple.

"Spectacle" Mirror by ANDY BUCK: Poplar, milk paint.

"Small Hands" Mirror by ANDY BUCK: Poplar, milk paint.
Spotted Mallard by ANDY BUCK:
Poplar, basswood, milk paint.
Blue Collared Gull by ANDY BUCK: Poplar, basswood, mahogany, milk paint
Oval Mirror by JOHN ERIC BYERS: Mahogany, milk paint.

Tea Cabinet by MICHAEL CULLEN: Mahogany, nutmeg, milk paint.

Bureau by DAVID EBNER: Quartered sapele.

Fern Lamp by JANENE HILLIARD: Hand-blown glass, bronze.


Chairs by MICHAEL HURWITZ: Nara, Spinneybeck leather.
Armchairs by TONY KENWAY: Blackwood.

Demilune by RICHARD SCOTT NEWMAN: Cuban mahogany, ebony.

Fumed oak.
Owassa Table by JERE OSGOOD:
Claro walnut.

Hall Table by JERE OSGOOD:

Owassa Table by JERE OSGOOD: Bubinga.

Occasional Chairs by JAMES SCHRIBER:
Dyed curly maple.

Drum Stool by JOHN ERIC BYERS:
Mahogany, milk paint.
Furniture 2004 -- BRIAN NEWELL

Furniture 2004




NOTES: The long, arched-legged waiting stance of the drop-front desk is Newell’s metamorphic signature of this period. The companion upholstered bench reflects its kinship. Creating a snug, private workspace, the fall-front itself doubles the writing area. A single interior shelf stretches between two twin pairs of small drawers, the silver pulls on the drawers and the fall-front complete an elegant closed front.  Standing back, they create a watching creature’s presence.

The blanket chest, also caught in a stance of frozen mobility, has an ancient feel without any obvious nod to a past period, and is wonderfully focused in the sand-cast latch that was designed by Brian and cast for the chest by a kettle-maker in Japan. Seated on a stand of Macassar ebony, the chest is covered by a material which is, in fact, ancient: jindai cedar that has been harvested from cedar logs which have lain in bog for centuries.

Drop-Front Desk & Stool: Red sandalwood, isu noki, silver; Larsen fabric.

Blanket Chest: Japanese (Jindai) cedar, Macassar ebony, Lebanon cedar, cast iron.

Blanket Chest Latch: Sand cast iron

The eight-legged (four discrete pairs) small dining or breakfast table has a parquetry pattern top of large squares, which along with the scalloped edge of the top, give the piece a fresh and informal air. A central intersection of the four pairs of legs obviates the need for a central post. The table’s companion four chairs have an aerie simplicity which obscures a firm grasp of structure. Given the continuous form of the chair, the seats themselves offer only the firm comfort of cushioning on a flat plane; they are, however, comfortably wide.

Dining Table: Ipe.

  Armchairs: Ipe.


The show’s third carcass piece was a five and one-half foot wide sideboard. Its richness was created by a successful pairing of a Japanese white oak stand and carcass frame with the lushness of olive panels in its five doors. The visual strength of the piece was amplified and focused in the carved imbuya pulls. Notice the ascending door width from the sides to the center.

Sideboard: Japanese white oak, olive, carved imbuya.



A large oval dining table was made intricate by its striking top surface which was composed of almost a 1,000 feather-shaped pieces. The feather shape offered the possibility of both inter-locking and expanding in number as the pattern radially expanded from the table’s center. 

Occasional use of the blackwood’s light sapwood gave the illusion of radiating, shooting stars. The six-legged pedestal arched and junctioned mid-point again allowed the foregoing of a central post. The companion dining chairs for this dining table were simply framed and well-structured with seats of ample width but minimal cushion comfort. The floral design of the chairs’ fabric added to the attitude of a Chinese scholar’s chair.

Chairs: Wenge.

Dining Table: African blackwood.

  Bench: Ebony, leather.

Brian Newell’s group of forms was rounded out by two additional small benches, and two exquisite boxes, one of ebony and the other of jindai cedar with an eye-catching, pierced carved African Blackwood top pull.  

Upholstered Bench: Padauk, fabric.

Box: Ebony.

Box: Cedar, African blackwood.
The Furniture Art of JUDY KENSLEY McKIE - 2004

The Furniture Art of

NOTES: The 2004 show of Judy Kensley McKie’s work at P&E was her seventh one-person exhibit at the gallery. The background of the exhibition catalogue’s cover was a detail of the Drum Table, one of the six bronzes in this show. The pattern was used in the piece as a dense and arresting visual texture for the revolving side of the table. It is an unusual pattern suggestive of the layering and folding of material. The form of the table was like a bobbin or cable spool; this piece captures attention between movement and permanence.  

Of the 13 pieces of furniture in the show, six were bronzes, five were wood, and the last was her first attempt to create a furniture piece of scale in resin. Molded plastic furniture has, of course, been around since the 1950s, but with resin, McKie saw workability similar to bronze. By carving a model, she could create a mold into which resin could be poured for a replica. McKie pushes new material boundaries with her Ivory Couch in resin.







Catalogue cover: Detail of Drum Table: Cast bronze.
Drum Table: Cast bronze.

Ivory Couch: Cast resin, mohair.

The couch’s high supporting back supplied a canvas for McKie’s exploration of pattern. The exploration yielded a new direction in her pattern work in what appears to be an endless squiggle [you can’t find any ends or stops and starts]:  part Pollack, part Chinese puzzle, the intensity increasing with the amplitude of the wave form. While the pattern work and wave form gave the couch its character, it was sufficiently roomy and comfortable as a seating piece to fit three. The resulting couch was as strong in its conception as it was a fresh challenge to the fans of McKie’s work, who tended to favor her wood, bronze, and stone work. Her design signature is indelibly in the couch and there are not many large seating pieces in a body of work that spans four decades like McKie’s.
Rabbit Sideboard: Cast bronze, glass.

A second bronze piece, the Rabbit Sideboard, used a long standing theme in McKie’s consoles: twin animal figures with interlacing tails. In the gallery opening show in 1981, the glass top console table with two dogs, each dog held a bone in its mouth, the end of which supported a glass top. In the Rabbit Sideboard, it is the wind swept ears that support the top. More important is the difference in sculptural form in this sideboard. Every curve supplies the suggestion of movement in these rabbit creatures, from the swept-back ears, to the forward inclined heads, to the coiled hind quarters. They are delightful as interlocking forms, reminding one of the best gestures of Art Nouveau or the flowing energy of Rococo.

Lady's Writing Desk is a fall-front in function. With its two-fold expansion of the horizontal area when opened, and its off limits private space when closed, it is a powerful classic form. This desk, with its armored, nail-patterned exterior and severely angled form, delivers a character of a different sort from the Rabbit Sideboard. Stature and self-assurance give way only at second glance to more feminine details: the canting of the apron hints at hips and the spare designs of the nail-headed patterns suggest female anatomy. Closed, the pulls are sufficiently minimal to be absorbed by the nail-head pattern. With a user’s familiarity, pulls can be discerned: two for the full-out supports for the fall-front and the two for a wide drawer. On the canted surface of the fall-front, two more pulls can be found to open the writing the surface. The writing surface supports vertical file cubbyholes and two central drawers.  


Lady's Writing Desk:
Maple, nails, leather.


The two mirrors in the exhibition were related in both size and form, and both mirrors were flamboyant in character. The Burning Mirror was not concave and had no means to focus light onto the unsuspecting onlooker, unlike Archimedes’ mirrors. It did have a gloriously baroque frame of gold leaf in flame. Its cousin, the Ribbon Mirror, was also surrounded by a baroque frame only this time the reference was to ribbon and an amusing take on the classical use of ribbon as a decorative element.

Ribbon Mirror: Basswood, gold leaf.

Burning Mirror: Basswood, gold leaf.

Pet Stool: Carved mahogany.


Sometimes a supporting actor steps in and steals the show. The Pet Stool comes from a family of McKie’s animal forms that is strongly identified as a McKie creation by her public. Its gouged, carved surface suggests the material wood, but the flowing line and hidden joinery create a strong sculptural form that transcends the “pet’ of its title.  

Also using an animal form to produce a strong sculptural presence was the Anteater Table. In this piece, bronze was the material. McKie certainly had bronze in mind when she designed the piece: a glance at how this creature supports its glass top with slender tail and ears shows the reason for the use of bronze. As a low table, its top dimensions were ideal for apartment or intimate space.

Anteater Table: Cast bronze, glass.

Timid Dog Table/Bench: Cast bronze.

The third wood piece in the exhibition was the pearwood Antelope Bed. A queen-sized bed, designed for the traditional comfort of box spring and mattress, the frame was made from carved pearwood. The mood is benign and nocturnal with sleeping antelopes at the foot and a second pair kissing at the head. McKie returns to her use of interlocking pairs, interlocking in form as well as embrace to create the presence of this piece. The arching crest rails created by the antelopes’ horns in turn define a protected and secure space for repose.

Antelope Bed: Carved pearwood.

Horse Andirons: Cast iron. Bird Baths: Cast stone dust.

Swan Table: Cast bronze, glass.

Arms Bowl: Cast bronze.

Opossum Handle: Cast bronze.

Jewelry (clockwise from top): Coiled Snake Earrings: Platinum, sapphires;
Flounder Pin: 18K yellow gold bloomed, cabochon rubies; Ibex Ring: 18K red gold, brown diamonds;
Sidewinder Snake Earrings: 18K yellow gold bloomed,
natural intense orange diamonds;
Sidewinder Snake Bracelet: 18K yellow gold, jade.

Also in the show were five more bronze pieces: the Timid Dog Bench; the Ibis Demilune; the Swan Table, another low table; and the beautiful Arms Bowl. The Horse Andirons were in cast iron and there were three bird baths in cast stone. To complete the show, McKie introduced her high karat gold jewelry, which was a collaborative effort with jeweler Tim McClelland in which McKie designed the pieces and McClelland fabricated them.  

Ibis Demilune: Cast bronze, glass.

    2 0 0 5


Ted Blachly, Andy Buck, John Eric Byers, Tim Coleman, Michael Cullen, Duncan W. Gowdy, Gary S. Magakis, Don Miller, Jefferson Shallenberger, Greg Smith, David Zatz

NOTES: The announcement piece was made by Ted Blachly, a New Hampshire furniture maker, who often assisted Jere Osgood with his work. This finely proportioned small chest of curly sugar maple is supported by a stand of East Indian rosewood -- a nicely contrasting choice of wood. The slight arching of the top is visually tensioned by the arching of the apron and stretcher in the stand.

Andy Buck contributed a bench and a pair of footstools that highlighted his use of carved patterns in tones of milk paint. The colors are deep in the bench, and Rousseau-like, while still subdued in hue.

Chest on Stand by TED BLACHLY:
Curly sugar maple, East Indian rosewood, quarter-sawn white oak, walnut, Brazilian rosewood.

Bench by ANDY BUCK: Poplar, basswood, milk paint.

Footstools by ANDY BUCK: Honduran mahogany, milk paint.

Two Squares Cabinet by JOHN ERIC BYERS: Mahogany, milk paint, mirror.

A dainty settee in Jatoba by Tim Coleman is made comfortable by an upholstered seat. Coleman worked first in the shop of William Walker in Seattle before traveling south to study with Krenov at the College of the Redwoods in the 1980s. His work has appeared in the gallery since that time.


Settee by TIM COLEMAN: Jatoba, silk upholstery.


Table by TIM COLEMAN: Cherry, walnut.

Two other Krenov-trained furniture makers contributed work to this show: Jefferson Shallenberger and Greg Smith. The round white cabinet-on-stand by Shallenberger reflects earlier work by other Krenov students: Zivko Radenkov and Tim Morrow.

The low table by Greg Smith is a decidedly friendly design in doussie that evidences his usual elegant restraint, such as the delicately bowed lower stretcher.

White Cabinet by JEFFERSON SHALLENBERGER: Holly, bubinga.  
Table by GREG SMITH: Doussie.
A second bench with carved pattern work and finished with milk paint was made by Michael Cullen. Cullen, an admirer of Kristina Madsen's carved pattern work, had like Madsen also studied with David Powell at the Leeds Design School in western Massachusetts.
Carved Coffee Table/Bench by MICHAEL CULLEN: Milk painted mahogany.

The Hill Rd. cabinet by Duncan Gowdy continues his use of patterns found in his New England surroundings. This cabinet strongly suggests shadows cast by branches in a winter landscape. Gowdy was trained and encouraged by his teacher, Wendy Maruyama, while studying at San Diego State University.
Hill Rd. Cabinet by
DUNCAN W. GOWDY: Ash, quarter-sawn white oak, stain, paint.

Side Table by GARY S. MAGAKIS: Bronze, steel, copper, glass.

The clothes hamper in ash was the first piece from Don Miller exhibited at the gallery. Both the sun-bleached tone and the intentionally natural texture of the surface offers another approach to bringing the exterior inside. Both the exterior staving, as well as interior framing, have a minimal mass to them. This kind of thinking reflects Miller's background in musical instrument making as well as high end interior built-in cabinetry. Miller would go on to contribute a series of designs that retained this light, airy quality.

Hamper by DON MILLER: Ash, steel.
Vessels & Table by DAVID ZATZ:
Medium Rolled Square Vessel: Forged steel.
Tall Meandering Line Vessel: Forged steel.
Table: Forged steel, glass.

Candle Holders by DAVID ZATZ:
Forged steel.
MATERIAL WORTH: The Celebrated Object - 2005

The Celebrated Object

Furniture: David Ebner, Hank Gilpin, Michael Hurwitz, Thomas Hucker, James Krenov, Judy Kensley McKie, Tom Odell,
Jere Osgood
Jewelry: Ellen Baumritter, Jacqueline Myers, Tom Odell, Joan Parcher, Eleni Prieston, Robin Quigley, Michel Royston, Barbara Seidenath, Leonard Urso
Glass: Sam Stang, Tom Stoenner
Ceramics: James Makins, Hiroshi Nakayama, Ikuzi Teraki & Jeanne Bisson (Romulus Craft)
Lacquerware: Yuji Kubo
Metal: Tom Odell, Leonard Urso, David Zatz

NOTES: Michael Hurwitz's tall table combined its unusual proportions (36" x 36" x 36") with several exciting features. Hurwitz, a former student of Osgood’s, makes the connection to his teacher in this Tall Table made of narra, padauk, and wenge. The two-tiered laminated stretcher system gives the piece an elegantly arched form that is capped by an inspired use of color in the surface parquetry or basket-weave pattern. The arching stretcher system is trademark Hurwitz. Note how simply the outer edges of the legs branch off into small arching stretchers that attach to the top at the apron. First, the visually stunning basket-weave illusion of the top created by marquetry using the different tonality of various woods. Its two main arching stretchers intersect their diagonal paths to crate a strong foundation as well as the visual enjoyment of their tapered tension. The tapered lamination is a clue to Hurwitz's background training with Jere Osgood at the program in Artisanry at Boston University in the 1980s.


Tall Table by MICHAEL HURWITZ: Narra, padauk, wenge.


Cabinet on Stand by JAMES KRENOV: Teak, Appalachian cherry, assorted woods.

The teak and Appalachian cherry cabinet from the legendary James Krenov, now 84 years old, demonstrates that the old master can still cut dovetails by hand with more skill than many. This cabinet was the last one the gallery received from Krenov.

Jere Osgood’s fiddleback mahogany and European hornbeam chest of drawers proves once again his consummate mastery of the curved furniture form.

Spring Chest by JERE OSGOOD: Fiddleback mahogany, European hornbeam,
ebony, white oak, Lebanon cedar.

Demilune by RICHARD SCOTT NEWMAN: Curly maple, ebony.

Gateleg Table by DAVID EBNER: Curly maple.

  Sofa Table by DAVID EBNER: Figured ash.
Table by HANK GILPIN: Curly maple.

Black Mirror by THOMAS HUCKER: Academy pine.

White Mirror by THOMAS HUCKER: Academy pine.

Tom Odell, a distinguished metalworker known for his Japanese patination techniques, makes his first furniture piece, a bronze bench.
Bench by TOM ODELL: Cast bronze (#1/15), patinaed brown with black.  
  Posted Archives - The First Decade  
Still Lives by IKUZI TERAKI & JEANNE BISSON (Romulus Craft) 2005

Still Lives by IKUZI TERAKI & JEANNE BISSON (Romulus Craft) - 2005

NOTES: Over the years Romulus Craft, the ceramic studio of Jeanne Bisson and Ikuzi Teraki provided the gallery with beautiful, functional porcelain work. In this series of still life settings, the Romulus partners created compositions of individual functional porcelain elements to represent Water, Earth, and Fire.

Still Life #1 - Fire: Porcelain.

Still Life #2 - Water: Porcelain.

Still Life #4: Porcelain.

Still Life #3 - Earth: Porcelain.
Furniture by DAVID EBNER - 2005

Furniture by DAVID EBNER

Featuring New Work in Bamboo

NOTES: David Ebner was among the first of the studio furniture makers to use bamboo as a material of choice in his furniture.

Some of his trademark pieces also appeared in this show, such as his Lingerie Chest and a bronze version of his Bench and Renwick Stool.

Bamboo Stool: Bamboo, steel.

Slatted Bench: Bamboo, brass, bronze.
Side Table: Bamboo.

Bench: Bamboo.

End Table: Bamboo.

Mirror: Bamboo, mirror; Sideboard: Bamboo; Vessel: Cast bronze;
Side Table: Bamboo.

Stick Chair: Sassafras, rush.
Bench: Cast bronze.

Lingerie Chest: Sapele.

Corner Table: Figured mahogany.
Candle Holders: Cast bronze.

Renwick Stool: Cast bronze.

Men in Kimonos Series by WENDY MARUYAMA - 2005

Men in Kimonos
Series by
- 2005
Wall-hung Cabinets with Ultrachrome Digital Collages

NOTES: Wendy Maruyama and James Schriber met as students at Boston University’s Program in Artisanry in the mid-1970s, and have remained close friends ever since. Their mature work, however, reflects the divergent paths these two influential makers took since leaving school.

Maruyama has taught throughout her career, and is currently professor of furniture design and woodworking at San Diego State University, where she was recently named the outstanding teacher in the arts. Although Schriber has guest lectured at schools, he considers himself a furniture maker, first and foremost, and has maintained his furniture making shop in western Connecticut since the 1970s.

Maruyama’s Men in Kimonos, is a series of wall-hung cabinets that embrace large format ultrachrome digital prints based on her collection of 1940’s black and white photos of Kabuki actors. She acquired these photos on trips to Tokyo flea markets. At first, she thought they were geisha until she noticed the size of some of the subjects’ feet and, in some photos, an Adam’s apple. It was then that she realized these were stage photos of Kabuki theatre performers, or onnogata -- men in drag. This work allowed her to work in a new digital medium, and still use a furniture form to embrace the prints.

Men in Kimonos Series #3: Curly maple, Ultrachrome digital collage.

Men in Kimonos Series #1: Curly maple, fir, Ultrachrome digital collage.

Men in Kimonos Series #2: Fir, Ultrachrome digital collage.

  Men in Kimonos Series #4, "The Blue Scarf":
Pearwood, Ultrachrome digital collage, handmade paper

Men in Kimonos Series #5, "The Black Mirror": Curly maple, bloodwood,
coconut palm, Ultrachrome digital collage, mirror.

Men in Kimonos Series #6, "The Mask": Lacewood, curly maple,
Ultrachrome digital collage

Mashimaro (Cabinet for Happy Pills): Bloodwood, coconut palm,
Ultrachrome digital collage

Furniture - 2005

NOTES: James Schriber belongs to a group of furniture makers whose work has been exhibited at Pritam & Eames since its opening in 1981. In fact, Schriber designed and installed the entrance door to the gallery. He demonstrated then an ability that continues to underline his furniture making today: that is, to create distinctive furniture designs that integrate seamlessly into existing situations. This ability was honed in Schriber’s early work with a group of young architects in Vermont, developed further with training under Jere Osgood and Alphonse Mattia at Boston University’s PIA program, and put to practical use in his partnership with an architect and builder in a design and construction shop, called Full House, established first in Vermont, and then in Connecticut. His understanding of the structural as well as aesthetic properties of residential interiors makes him an ideal choice in almost any commission situation. Another important attribute is Schiber's facility to work with a range of materials, many of them man-made, 21st-century, materials. A third strength was probably formed as a result of being around his father’s and uncles’ sheet fabrication business in Dayton, Ohio, where he grew up. There, he witnessed work that required a high degree of collaboration among the men in the shop. Collaborating with other professionals is another Schriber strength, and these abilities, combined with a superior design sense, give him an edge in working on commissioned projects.

Big Chair with Ottoman: Bubinga, mohair.


Side Cabinets: Wenge, steel.
Console: Wenge, steel.

One of Schriber's residential commissions led him to experiment with the combination of steel and wood. The wenge and steel side cabinets and console in this show emanated from a commission project and contained features that pleased him. Other pieces in this exhibit, such as the low table with slate and the cherry dining table, are simply pieces he wanted to make. There is a circle of inspirational feeding here -- from commission to exhibition and back to commission: commissions would inspire pieces for the gallery, and pieces in the gallery would inspire clients to commission. This is quite a different model from the starving artist in his garret seeking only inspiration from within.

The two wenge side cabinets, along with the console, can be seen as a cabinet suite. The use of a dark toned manufactured steel grill work perforated in a honeycomb pattern, as well as the organically  patinaed, shield-shaped pulls, are combined sympathetically with a deep grained, dark brown wenge wood material. The pulls were sufficiently ample in scale and useful in shape that they could be used for both doors and drawers of the cabinets. The scalloped edges of the cabinets’ tops, as well as the scalloped motif of the pedestals’ bases, give these pieces a fine furniture reference.  This reference, combined with the more primal qualities of the materials, give these pieces a nice duality.

Coffee Table: Purpleheart, slate.

Schriber used another stark, strong material in his large slate-topped coffee table. Here, again, he introduces a duality: the heavy density of the large slate top is shaped precisely into the form of a crisp figure eight. The ten legs, sufficiently ample to look comfortable under the weight of the slate, sweep gently inward to their foot. Midway down in the interior space described by the legs, a wooden shelf mirrors the figure eight pattern of the top. Its attachments to the legs give the table its rigid structure. Here, too, the table exhibits a solidness and primal strength and yet, there is a sufficient use of crisply defined curves that creates a pleasing duality.

Extension Dining Table with Leaves: Cherry.

The largest scaled piece that Schriber contributed to this show was his lyrical, oval-shaped dining room extension table. The legs and arched stretcher of the table are a metaphor for the growth and branching of a tree. This metaphor completes itself in the ring of marquetry leaves that frame the top.

There is integrity in the continuity of the curves that he used throughout the design. Seen closed, the top is a true oval form, and this is the table’s best form. He has created a dual pedestal foundation for the table. These pedestals pull out with the ends as the top extends for the inclusion of its leaves. The unusual design of the pedestals has the end legs appear to go through the pedestal and extend into a reverse curve supporting stretcher that creates the necessary support for the mid-section. In this table, he has created an unusual extension design, as well as one that is aesthetically pleasing.

Big Chair with Ottoman: Bubinga, mohair.

The announcement piece was called the Big Chair with Ottoman, and it was a big chair both in terms of seat comfort and the full height of the back. It was unusual to see a chair scaled with this ample comfort, yet retaining the form of a traditional armchair. This generosity was certainly one of its most pleasing features. For style, the crown of the chair was a crest rail designed with panache; its form was that of a simple loop with extended ends. This was done as a single shaped piece, generously dimensioned. Because of its swooping loop, and the width and curve of the back itself, Schriber had to come up with an especially deep width of bubinga board from which to shape the piece.

The other design feature to be mentioned was the handing of the junction of the arm and the vertical extension of the front legs. The arms rests themselves need more width and, rather than tapering to the point of transition to the leg, Schriber ends this dimension as if with an over sleeve. This abrupt shape change serves to hide the joint with the vertical element of the front leg. The transition becomes aesthetically pleasing, functional, as well as adding to body comfort.

"Deuce" Game Table & Chairs: Ebonized curly maple.

The other chair he introduced in this show was the pair of chairs with the game table called Deuce.  These less traditional chairs have much in common with an earlier chair design he created for kitchen counter height (see P&E Archives, First Decade, 1991). The game table itself shares some design elements with earlier game tables by Schriber, (see P&E Archives, First Decade, 1985).
KRISTINA MADSEN Furniture - 2005-2006

- 2005-2006

NOTES: Two artisans, also good friends, Kristina Madsen and Rick Wrigley, had concurrent exhibits of new work that celebrated the 50th birthdays of both makers, and the 30 years of furniture making experience each one of them represents.

Painted Chest on Stand: Maple, milk paint, gesso, pau amarello.

Box on Table: Pau ferro, gesso, wenge, silk.

RICK WRIGLEY: New Wall Cabinets -- 2005-2006

New Wall Cabinets

NOTES: For his Pritam & Eames show, Wrigley made a group of wall-hung cabinets, called the Atomic Series, whose door panels provide a canvas for his marquetry. As in the well-known high-Renaissance marquetry cameras, Wrigley’s compositions create magical, three-dimensional illusions.

"Nitrogen": Indonesian rosewood, Gaboon ebony, various marquetry woods,
22K gold leaf, oil pigments, brass.

"Molecular Apparition #1": Ebonized cherry, figured imbuya, various marquetry woods, 22K gold leaf, oil pigments, brass.

"Molecular Apparition #2": Ebonized cherry, figured imbuya, various marquetry woods, 22K gold leaf, oil pigments, brass.

  Atomic Aspect: Ebonized cherry, figured imbuya, various marquetry woods,
22K gold leaf, oil pigments, brass.

Marquetry Improvisation 1: Figured maple, anigre, various marquetry woods,
22K gold leaf, brass

  Marquetry Improvisation 2: Figured maple, anigre, various marquetry woods,
22K gold leaf, brass

Marquetry Improvisation 3: Figured maple, anigre, various marquetry woods,
22K gold leaf, brass.

    2 0 0 6


Tim Coleman, Michael Cullen, Christine Enos, Tony Kenway, Gary S. Magakis, Don Miller, Greg Smith

NOTES: This Early Spring Show at PRITAM & EAMES ushered in the gallery’s 25th year and featured a pair of drum stools/tables by Greg Smith; a pair of Flower Chairs by Christine Enos; a rocker of quilted Tasmanian blackwood by Australian furniture maker Tony Kenway; a steel and bronze side table by Gary Magakis; and Tim Coleman’s Fall Front Desk in Japanese ash, walnut, imbuya, and sassafras.

Drum Stools/Tables by GREG SMITH: Kwila,narra.

Fall Front Writing Cabinet by TIM COLEMAN:
Japanese ash, walnut, imbuya, sassafras.

Carved Box by MICHAEL CULLEN: Mahogany, nutmeg, milk paint.

Stick Chair (Wall Flower Series) by CHRISTINE ENOS:
Cherry, birch stick, paint.
Bamboo Chair (Wall Flower Series) by CHRISTINE ENOS:
Cherry, bamboo, paint, paper.

Rocking Chair by TONY KENWAY:
Quilted Tasmanian blackwood (Acacia Melanoxyln)


"Delphi" Side Table by GARY S. MAGAKIS: Bronze, steel.
Conjoined Buckets by DON MILLER: Bleached white oak.




European pearwood, walnut, rosewood, myrtle, holly, ebony, lignum vitae, satinwood.

Indonesian rosewood.
Tea Couch by KRISTINA MADSEN: Bubinga, dyed pearwood, ebony, linen.

Hippopotamus Bench by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Champlain black marble.
Desk by HANK GILPIN: Curly white oak.

Slatted Bench by DAVID EBNER: Bamboo, brass, bronze.

Low Table by THOMAS HUCKER: Curly koa, bronze, waxed linen cord.

Spring Desk 2006 by JERE OSGOOD: East Indian rosewood, ash.

  Arm Chair by WILLIAM WALKER: Cherry, upholstery.

Radiolarian #1 Wall Cabinet by RICK WRIGLEY:
Indonesian rosewood, Macassar ebony, maple, oil pigments, 22K gold leaf, brass.

Wall Hung Headboard by ANDY BUCK: Mahogany, milk paint.

2-Door Cabinet by JAMES SCHRIBER: Cherry, painted poplar, Plexiglas.

Men in Kimonos VI - "The Mask" Wall Cabinet by WENDY MARUYAMA:
Lacewood, Curly Maple, Ultrachrome Digital Collage.

“Fetish Too” by ALPHONSE MATTIA: Bubinga, upholstery.

Blue Mirror by ALPHONSE MATTIA: Pencils, blue-tint mirror glass.
Venetian Dome Pendant by NOEL & JANENE HILLIARD: Hand-blown glass, bronze.

Venetian Table Lamp by NOEL HILLIARD: Hand-blown glass, bronze.

  Pair of Chairs by BRUCE BEEKEN & JEFF PARSONS: Maple, leather.
  Desk by MICHAEL HURWITZ: Reclaimed Yellow Pine, fir.

Pier Table by TIMOTHY PHILBRICK: Cuban mahogany.

Cloud Cabinet by BRIAN NEWELL: Ziracote, Macassar ebony, pearwood.

Smoking Chair by BRIAN NEWELL: East Indian rosewood, upholstery.  
Bamboo Sconce by FRAN TAUBMAN:
Nickel-plated bronze, bronze.
  Vessel by HOWARD WERNER:
Aleppo pine.

Sideboard by DUNCAN S. GOWDY: Ash, quarter-sawn white oak, stain.

Low Table by JOE TRACY: Silicone bronze, polished granite popple stone, glass.

Writing Table & Chair by JOHN DUNNIGAN: Plum Pudding Mahogany.  
Hall Table by ROSANNE SOMERSON: Cherry.

Mid-Summer 2006 Mid-Summer 2006
Pie Crust Tilt-Top Table by THOMAS HUCKER: Academy Timber white oak.
29.5"/50.5"H x 38"diameter

"Cunj" Side Table by TONY KENWAY: Tasmanian Huon pine.
35.5"H x 47.5"W x 12"D

Winter 2006 Winter 2006
Side Table with Drawers & Swinging Tray by THOMAS HUCKER: Wenge, steel.

Ribbon Table by FRAN TAUBMAN: Cold rolled steel, glass.
18 ”H x 49”diameter

    2 0 0 7


James Bacigalupi,John Eric Byers, Tim Coleman, Michael Cullen, David Ebner, Ashley Eriksmoen, David Finck, Julie Godfrey, Duncan W. Gowdy, Gary S. Magakis, Rachel & Timothy Miller, Greg Smith, Rich Tannen

NOTES: Pritam & Eames begins its 26th year with the opening of its Early Spring Show on March 23 through May 22. The exhibit introduces the work of nine furniture makers whose furniture styles range from the bravura computer assisted craftsmanship of Rich Tannen’s white oak cupboard to Ashley J. Eriksmoen’s delightful, upholstered furniture creatures, Adeline and Pablo. Rich Tannen is chair of the School for American Crafts at the Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, and Ashley Eriksmoen received her training in furniture at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI and the College of the Redwoods, Ft.Bragg, CA.

Others in the show include Arizona lamp maker James Bacigalupi III; Californians Michael Cullen and Greg Smith; David Finck of North Carolina; Duncan Gowdy of New Hampshire; Massachusetts furniture makers Julie Godfrey and Tim Coleman; and the Philadelphia metalworker, Gary Magakis. From Long Island, there was the work of furniture maker David Ebner, and a sister and brother blacksmithing team from the south shore, Rachel and Timothy Miller.

Cupboard by RICH TANNEN: Quarter-sawn white oak.

Bubble Bomb by JAMES BACIGALUPI: Patinated steel, fused & slumped glass, gold & copper leaf.

Lily Lamp by JAMES BACIGALUPI: Patinated steel, fused & slumped glass, gold & copper leaf.

Patinated steel, paint, glass, gold & copper leaf.

Two-Tier Fountain Table by JOHN ERIC BYERS: Mahogany, milk paint.

Cabinet by TIM COLEMAN:
Cherry, western yew, English sycamore, morado, Argentine rose cedar.

Mirror with Cracked Ice by MICHAEL CULLEN: Milk-painted mahogany.

Renwick Stool by DAVID EBNER:
Claro walnut.

Garden Bench by DAVID EBNER: Spanish cedar.
  Clutch Bench & Telephone Table by ASHLEY ERIKSMOEN:
Mahogany, original Jaquard fabric, milk paint.

Fledge Tables by ASHLEY ERIKSMOEN: Various woods, milk paint.

Pablo & Adeline by ASHLEY ERIKSMOEN: Mahogany, wool, fiberglass.

Pagoda Jewelry Box by DAVID FINCK:
Port Orford cedar, European olive ash, hawthorne twig handle.

Weaving Peace Cabinet by JULIE GODFREY: Western walnut, tineo, white oak, canary wood, Bolivian rosewood, satinwood, hand-textured brass; marquetry: abalone shell and over 20 woods.


Wall Cabinet with Trees by
Ash, quarter-sawn white oak, stain.

Autumn Coat rack by DUNCAN W. GOWDY: Walnut, brass.

Padua Table by GARY S. MAGAKIS: Bronze.

Verona Table by GARY S. MAGAKIS: Bronze.

Spring's Throne by RACHEL & TIMOTHY MILLER: Hand forged steel, copper.
Flower Tree Candelabra
Hand forged steel.

Dogwood Chair by RACHEL & TIMOTHY MILLER: Hand forged steel, aluminum,
heat patinaed copper.
Lotus Console Table by RACHEL & TIMOTHY MILLER: Hand forged steel, bronze.

Half-Round Leaf Table by RACHEL & TIMOTHY MILLER:
Hand forged steel, copper.

Mirror Frame
Hand forged stainless steel, bronze

Hall Table by GREG SMITH: Moabi, curly western maple.



PowerPoint Presentation by Bebe Pritam Johnson
at the Furniture Society conference in Victoria, BC, Canada, June 2007

In June 2007, Bebe Pritam Johnson gave a talk entitled "The Honor of Use" at the Furniture Society conference in Victoria, BC. These thoughts have been the gallery's guiding philosophy about furniture, the home, and the beauty of utility since its opening in 1981.

I’d like to tell you how I came to do what I do. And because I find my views today are clearer, simpler actually, than they used to be, I’ll begin at the end. For if I could reduce what I’ve learned in my life to one idea, to a single image, it would be this : the home, the home is the whole deal.

I understand now that this kind of thinking began to take shape in the mid-1950s. I was in school on the near north side of Chicago when my fifth grade art teacher, Dorothy Wisner, said to me, “Bebe, I think you might have some talent as a painter.” So she arranged for my scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago, and every Saturday morning I would take the bus down Michigan Avenue to join, as its youngest member, the studio art class there. It became clear, fairly quickly, that I did not in fact have talent as an artist. I think I understand it a little bit better now, but I surely didn't then. Nevertheless, despite this setback, I learned three valuable things about myself from that museum experience, and two were drawn from the studio art class. The first lesson was that even though I didn’t get it, I could recognize those who did. Then, I learned this about myself: I enjoyed watching them — I liked being around them.

The third and most important lesson, however, took place in another part of the museum. It was in a large, darkened room by the cafeteria in the basement where I encountered a primary truth that is at once both simple and clear- it is essential to be who you are. You must be comfortable in your own skin. It took some time for me to absorb this last lesson, probably longer than it should have. But for any of this to make sense, I need to tell you what I discovered in that room.

Within that large room were 65 or so smaller rooms, each constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot. These model rooms were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications. These miniature rooms provided glimpses into European and American interiors and furnishings from the late 13th-century to the 1930s. The 17th-century Massachusetts living room/ kitchen pictured above was never my home, but it might as well have been because of all of the time I spent studying it and the other models, drawn inexorably to what they represented to me — furniture presented in the context of the home.

A while later, I’m still in school, this time it’s the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, and I’m doing philosophy when a nice-looking young man comes and sits down beside me in Existentialism class. That’s how Warren and I met, and we’ve been taking notes ever since. By the early 1960s, we had left the Midwest and headed east. We were still in school, this time it was graduate school in Boston: it was the 1960s, both the good and bad of it, and there was Vietnam, of course. We got our first apartment in Boston, but we had no furniture. However, the idea that you could make a piece of furniture was never foreign to us. Warren’s grandfather made furniture for the Pullman coach company in Chicago. He had grown up with his grandfather’s furniture, and the sight of his grandfather in his shop surrounded by his hand tools was familiar. When we needed furniture, Warren made it for us.

We finished school in Boston, moved to New York and, for reasons we still don’t understand, his number was never called for Vietnam. We got jobs and still managed to squeeze in some more school, this time it was film for Warren, and writing classes with Anatole Broyard for me. By the mid-1970s, we had lived and worked for others in New York for more than a dozen years. And, by this time, it has occurred to us that we could do this for the rest of our lives. Or we could pool what talents we had and work for ourselves. But the question became, “What would we do? What could be our fundamental project?”

In 1978, with our baby in tow, we left the city and followed friends to the east end of Long Island. We found what I’m certain was the last good deal in Hampton’s real estate and began searching for the project in which we could immerse ourselves completely. I think when you’re searching you’re open to ideas, and you see connections that you might not see otherwise. And we were open to suggestion, available to ideas.

So when Peter Korn, who lived nearby at the time, handed us a book called A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook by someone called James Krenov, we read it. Or when we came across a rocker in the window of a Bridgehampton housewares store, we went in and inquired about its maker. Warren Padula, a local sculptor, made the rocker and he had just dropped out of RISD’s furniture program. He told us about other academic centers that teach furniture making on the east coast. We heard about the Design Book series published by Taunton Press and edited by John Kelsey. Kelsey’s office was in Connecticut. Warren approached him with the idea of making a documentary film about furniture, but Kelsey told him something that set the course for us. He said, “There’s a lot of fine furniture being made on the east coast today but the makers don’t have any place to show their work. The entrepreneurial end of the field,” he observed, “is wide open.” We sensed immediately that this was the project we had been seeking.

We wrote 50 letters. This is the age before the personal computer, so these were 50 handcrafted letters. We waited for answers. Only one person did and this has endeared Tim Philbrick to me from the beginning. He said, “Sure, I’ll meet with you and discuss your idea for a store.” I asked him about the other 49 makers who didn’t reply. “Oh,” he said, “Furniture makers generally don't write letters. . You better go see them if you want a reply.” So we tucked our baby in a packing blanket and began a year and a half odyssey throughout the Northeast in our red International Scout. We visited as many shops and studios as we possibly could. A furniture maker asked me recently what we thought of them when we first encountered them in the late 1970s. In truth, they didn’t seem strange to us at all; in fact, they seemed familiar.

I have no idea what they thought of us, however. We had no retail experience, no five-year business plan, no spreadsheets, and no gallery model to describe what we wanted to do. We were simply convinced by the work we saw. And once we made up our minds, nothing would stop us. We took a series of black/white photos of East Hampton that we pasted onto a big board, which we pulled out at each meeting with the furniture makers we wanted to represent to exult our proposed location. The pictures were taken in November and, for those of you who know the northeast, you know there are few things grayer than a November day in the northeast. But we saw Technicolor, everything was potential, everything represented a possibility.

So this 19th-century steam laundry building, situated down by the railroad tracks where no one walks, without a tree in sight, nor a sidewalk in place, was to be the future site of our store. And I say store because gallery was not yet part of our vocabulary. We got one of the last Small Business Loans to help women and minorities get started in a business. That, plus a few small friendly loans and then, in 1981, we hung out our shingle that proclaimed, “Pritam & Eames- Purveyors of Fine Furniture.”The first five years were a financial challenge typical of any shoestring venture. We lived simply, frugally, took joy in raising our daughter, and gave our business what time it needed.
This picture says everything to me: furniture and the home, they are two sides of the same coin. And it has been ever thus, ever since our nomadic forerunners gave up hunting and gathering in favor of cultivation of the land, furniture has been part of the human experience. Home, then, may have been nothing other than simple huts of wood and reed, daubed with clay or mud, made later with stone and baked clay bricks. And furniture, nothing but a log. But it was this idea of home, established beside cultivated land that gave rise to community gathering, civilizations, and created the need for furniture.
La mobilia, los meubles, les meubles — consider how many European languages have some version of the word mobility to mean furniture — furniture as movable object. So that when you move from country to country, province to province, place to place, what do you bring with you in order to make you feel at home?

Like the writer Rose Slivka, I think of furniture as both artifact and allegory, one that anchors us in our chosen space and articulates that place and us within it. It is ever itself — stable, supportive, singular safe harbor. Furniture acts as both mute witness and participant in our lives, day in and day out. And it is in the home over time and with familiarity that furniture develops its character, establishes its provenance, and realizes its essential nature through the honor of use.

Since all furniture is about sitting, sleeping, containing or propping up people, objects, or even reputations, what is the essential ingredient then that distinguishes studio furniture, our kind of furniture, from all other kinds of furniture?
The man who made the furniture in this room at Jack Larsen’s LongHouse in East Hampton created the definition and cast the direction for our field. Wharton Esherick’s sole visionary authorship provided the conceptual underpinning for the studio furniture movement: the notion that furniture can serve as a vehicle for artistic expression. The artist-craftsperson not only conceives of the piece, but has the ability to make it. This makes for quite a range of expression in furniture but it is precisely this eclecticism that characterizes the American studio furniture movement.
Now, the idea that furniture can have a personality as individual as its maker has been a trademark of this field since the first group of self-taught practitioners worked in the first part of the 20th century. People like Esherick, George Nakashima, Sam Maloof, Art Carpenter, Walker Weed, James Krenov and others, worked alone and were largely unaware of each other, but they shared certain qualities: They came from non-furniture making backgrounds, they worked without pattern books, and they all made functional, wood pieces of furniture as a means of personal expression.

In the second half of the 20th century, a second group of woodworkers emerged from a new training ground — America’s colleges. These academic training centers changed the landscape from a field of solitary craftsmen to a community with its own voice and publication. Pritam & Eames is mostly associated with this second group, but it seems to me that their challenge is pretty much the same as that of the first: namely, how do you make this work your own?

This hickory table and chair set has been the hub of many fine meals and conversations over the years at Jack’s house. Esherick made the set for the “America at Home” room in the 1939 World’s Fair, which probably means it was the first public appearance of studio furniture as we know it today. He made all the furniture in this room, including the red bench. You don’t necessarily think of Esherick and painted furniture in the same breath but he painted this bench in 1953, and it is a favorite piece of mine for reasons that I can’t fully explain.

I'll show you some pictures of furniture that we’ve seen over the years that I think would be great to live with. Time will tell if they’re great pieces of furniture — there is a reason that antiques bear a 100-year marker. The pieces shown here summarize the training, experience and vision of their creator: they illustrate how these furniture makers have made this work their own. In other words, the DNA in this work is clear — no one else would have made it.
Well, here’s some of the gang in our backyard. It’s probably 1991, and we’re celebrating the fact that we made it through the first decade. Not long ago, someone asked me if I would love this furniture as much if I didn't know who made it. It’s a good question. I think my answer is, “If I didn’t know them, I would want to know them.”

Leaving a mark is a great human gift. For those of you who make furniture, I see what you do as akin to leaving a gift. I can’t imagine what it would be like to begin with a feeling, an idea, chase its shape into a form, and end up with something that hasn’t existed before. And then what must it be like to have what you’ve made be something others will value and want to include in their lives. I wish I had a tiny percentage of this gift that you do to make things. I guess my gift is that I get to live with some of this work.
Well, I see we’re back at the beginning.

A couple of years ago, the artist and critic, Art Spiegelman, observed that the two biggest changes in art in the past 50 years have been the proliferation of art fairs and museums of contemporary art, and the advent of budget travel.

”Wait, wait. Art,"I say, "help me out here. What does this mean?” “This means,” he says, “that more and more artists make work today that they never expect will be lived with, looked at day in and day out by the same person, because this art is made for fairs or museum shows designed to grab a distracted passerby’s attention without needing to be experienced twice. In this way,” he observed, “culture slides into the realm of entertainment.”
What then saves our furniture from this terrible fate? Dear audience, you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Over the years at Pritam & Eames, people have said to me from time to time, “This isn’t furniture: it’s art. It belongs in a museum.” I must say to you when I hear this I have a sense of lost energy. For this is not to devalue the importance of the museum, but to suggest that when the museum, which unavoidably detaches art from everyday life is, as poet-essayist Joan Retallack points out, "the chief end and sole logical repository of art in society today, then we are presiding over the end of art as a vigorous form of life."

It is in the home, precisely, where furniture is invigorated, where it is engaged — not in a gallery, not in a museum, and not on the auction block. It is in the home, over time and with familiarity, that furniture is validated because it is part of someone’s life, day in and day out. It is in the home where furniture attains real value because it contributes meaning to our lives through the honor of use.
A North Carolina Tradition: Functional Wood Fired Pottery

A North Carolina Tradition:
Functional Wood Fired Pottery

JULY 27 -- SEPTEMBER 18, 2007

New Work by

NOTES: This show celebrates a practice “that traces an unbroken chain of potters from the present time all the way back to the 18th century,” says Matt Jones, one of the exhibitors. “The pottery pride we feel in this state is in no small way connected to our admiration for the excellence of our pottery predecessors.”

"This collection of functional pots is made from clay found no further than the potter’s backyard,” says Bebe Johnson, gallery partner. “The clay in these pots comes from the alluvial deposits found only in the rich soil regions of North Carolina. I came across this work last year when I gave a lecture at the Penland School of Craft in western North Carolina. My host, Andrew Glasgow, executive director of The Furniture Society, himself a connoisseur of pots from this region, introduced me to this work. Ever since, I have been thinking of ways to bring these marvelous pots to our East End audience.” Mr. Glasgow selected the potters for this exhibit.

Because of the public’s continuing esteem for their work, the North Carolina potters have been able to carry on this craft tradition for generation after generation. For example, Ben Owen III learned his craft from his grandfather. Owen III recalls many shared hours with his teacher, hours that provided not only a strong foundation upon which to build his own pottery skills, but a repository for precious memories of working beside his grandfather.

“The concept that captivated me about North Carolina’s Catawba Valley tradition is the use of local materials,” says Kim Ellington, another show participant. “Besides the tenacity of the natural clay there is something else that goes beyond description -- it’s the difference between a handmade Martin guitar and a plywood copy. They both play music but, beyond the obvious tonal differences, there is an indescribable difference in soul.”


Vessels by JOSH COPUS: Wood fired local pipe clay.

Lidded Jar #1 by JOSH COPUS:
Wood fired local pipe clay, white slip, alkaline glaze.

Faceted Bottle #3 by JOSH COPUS:
Wood fired local pipe clay.
Faceted Bottle #4 by JOSH COPUS:
Wood fired local pipe clay, rice hull ash glaze.

Top shelf: Two Gallon Pitcher, Small Vase, One Quart Bottle
Bottom shelf: Two Quart Flat Side Bottle, One Quart Pitcher, One Gallon Bottle, Two Quart Jug
Wood fired local stoneware clay, wood ash alkaline glaze, glass decoration.

Vessels by DANIEL JOHNSTON: Local stoneware clay, wood fired salt glaze.

Vessels by MATT JONES: Blue pipe clay with (left to right) wax resist brush painting; alkaline glaze; Mitchfield slip, cobalt floral; kaolin slip trailing, alkaline glaze; Mitchfield slip, cobalt brush painting.

Vase with Protrusions by FRED JOHNSTON: Stoneware, frog skin glaze.
Stoneware, slip, salt glaze

Large Vase by FRED JOHNSTON:
Stoneware, frog skin glaze.
Elephant/Man Tile by FRED JOHNSTON:
Stoneware, slip, salt glaze.

Turkey/Egret Vase by FRED JOHNSTON:
Stoneware, slip, salt glaze.
Vessels and Wall Piece by FRED JOHNSTON: Stoneware.

Hour Glass Vase by BEN OWEN III:
Wood fired stoneware, crystal blue glaze.

Dogwood Vase by BEN OWEN III:
Earthenware, Chinese red glaze.
Melon Egg Vase by BEN OWEN III: Wood fired stoneware, copper penny glaze.



NOTES: Newell, a native of Flint, MI, had lived and worked in Japan for the last ten years at the time of this show. Writer/critic Jon Binzen says Newell’s work is a “series of compellingly mysterious pieces that take us into unmapped territory.” The body of work he produced for this exhibit at Pritam & Eames represents the last group of pieces he made before he returned to the United States. He would take up residence in Mendocino, CA, near The College of the Redwoods where he studied furniture making from master cabinetmaker, James Krenov.

In the two most time consuming pieces of this show from a maker’s point of view – the Zushi Cabinet and the Unagi Console -- Newell is working at the very outside with a functional destiny and takes, with a leap of faith, their visual poetry and sculptural energy as the very heart of the work. With this work he is saying, “Don’t quibble with me about function: they do work, but that’s only partly what they’re about.”

Confronting the Zushi Cabinet, you might ask, “A cabinet? Reliquary? Zushi?” Meanings for the term “zushi” have to do with both food and puzzle, and both are apt for this piece: an ample, smoothly rounded base with a mounded confection top. How do we access, and what is its use, brings us to the puzzle part. The whole of the upper carcass is a marvel of pierced, carved surface of African blackwood, the thickness being of sufficient weight to provide structure as well, and, also a canvas for the swirling pattern work. The central cavity is revealed by a single large door roughly two-thirds of the cabinet’s two foot height. This door can be opened only by first taking both carved end compartments upward and off the base completely. Inside one can easily imagine a home for a Buddha figure, a jade carving, or reliquary for family ashes. Before this door is a single drawer of equal width.

"Zushi Cabinet "
African blackwood, Yaku cedar.
Photos: Yoshiaki Kato

The Unagi Console: "Unagi" means both eel and a state of total awareness in Japanese culture. If you study the composition of the pierced carving, the eel forms become clear. It’s also easy to imagine that the maker must have been in a state of some total awareness to even conceive of this piece. While nodding at function -- it has lower shelves and compartments above -- the nature of this piece has more to do with the travel of life forces.  The vortexes drawing in the eels’ flowing patterns are powerful centers in this piece. Nominally a console, as an object it stands complete.






"Unagi" Console
blackwood, hong mu.

Wall Cabinet
cedar, black persimmon.

Wall Cabinet in jindai cedar and persimmon. Quite apart from this cabinet’s arresting visage, its design makes experimental use of light and transparency. A view from above reveals an arched structure: the slender body arches away from the wall leaving its mounting to two horizontal facets on either end of the back. Light from above reflected on the wall will illuminate the interior since most of the rear is composed of a pierced carved back. The “squashed scroll” design of the carving admits maximum light. From the front, the only hint of this beautiful carving is seen through the central portal. The entire interior is revealed by opening the four front doors. Here you can imagine a collection of netsuke.

The Black Chest of African Blackwood opens its hinged top lid to reveal a pearwood interior. Closed, it provides an occasional seat, handy if used at a bed’s foot. Though the simplest in functional design of the four case pieces, the Black Chest’s “tiled” surfaces give it a secretive and powerful character. The spacing of the five tiles across is given further definition by six legs to the front and back.

Black Chest
blackwood, pearwood.


Filling out this show was a group of three benches. The Beaver Bench derived its name from a beaver pelt covered seat. The seat’s platform, with its six legs, was carved from a wood called Himeshara. The bench’s skeletal form heightened the “alive” quality of its beaver pelt seat.   

Beaver Bench
Himeshara, beaver pelt.

  Hall Bench


The China Bench was a less audacious, but an equally beautiful bench form. Carved and shaped from imbuya, this bench indicates its single seater function with a saddle-like seat, which has a slight crest in its center. Two horn-like side stretchers join the legs a little above the seat’s surface. The legs themselves thicken as they descend, reminiscent of temple posts.

China Bench


New Furniture 2007

NOTES: Jere Osgood is considered by many to be the dean of the American studio furniture movement. His role as a teacher and author is almost as legendary as his highly distinctive furniture.

For his Pritam & Eames show, Osgood will have a desk, a furniture form with which he is most associated, two small Water tables, a chair, and a jewelry cabinet. “His furniture remains innovative even after 40 years of object making,” says Bebe Johnson, gallery partner. “What Osgood is after in his furniture is a feeling of organic familiarity. He knows that in nature there are no straight lines – not in water currents, not in air currents, not the way a tree grows, nor the way we grow. His genius is that he has created the processes that allow him to chase those shapes he’s after.” Many of Osgood’s published articles center on his technical innovations in furniture making, like tapered laminations and compound bent stave laminations.

sycamore, pearwood, wenge, European hornbeam, African padauk,
bloodwood, leather.
67.5”H x 40 ”W x 31”D

Water Tables
tulipwood, wenge.
25”H x 15”W x 15”D

Side Chair
cherry, Dalmarnock antelope leather upholstery by John Gagnon.
35”H x 18”W x 19”D

THOMAS HUCKER New Furniture 2007

New Furniture 2007

NOTES: This is the third and final time that Tom Hucker would join his teacher, Jere Osgood, for an exhibition of work. The rocker on the announcement was Hucker's latest evolution of a design which began with a bleached white oak version several years ago. Hucker's range in furniture styles goes from the Deco feel of his side table to his provocative breakfast table. In the side table design, he achieves an almost trompe l'oeil effect; it is as if the beading is an outer skin that is slowly peeling downward to reveal a secondary form.

Available in
fumed white oak.
39”H x 24”W x 40”D

Hall Table
burl, pearwood, holly.
33.5”H x 52”W x 12.5”D

Low Table/Bench
holly, white marble.
16.5”H x 7'W x 18.5”D

Breakfast Table
Quarter-sawn wenge.
29”H x 40”W x 40”D
33.5”H x 52”W x 12.5”D

FALL 2007 FALL 2007

NOTES: Although there was no announced show with a theme or schedule, a number of pieces arrived in the fall by Andy Buck, Hank Gilpin, Duncan Gowdy, Kristina Madsen, Judy Kensley McKie, Richard Scott Newman, and Joe Tracy.
"Double Table" by ANDY BUCK: Mahogany, resin, milk paint.
26.5"H x 21.5"W x 10.75"D

Table by HANK GILPIN: Bird's-eye elm.
29"H x 42"W x 42"D

Tidal Wall Cabinet by DUNCAN W. GOWDY: Ash, quarter-sawn white oak, stain.

Tall Table by KRISTINA MADSEN: Bubinga.
39"H x 13"W x 13"D

Dragon Stool by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Indiana limestone.
19"H x 20.5"W x 20.5"D

Moose Rack by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Cast bronze.
18.5"H x 35"W x 6.5"D

Helping Hands Bookends by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Cast bronze.
Each 8.25"H x 4.75"W x 4.75"D

Mahogany, Ebony.
34.5"H x 45.5"W x 20"D

Live Edge Coffee Table by JOE TRACY: Redwood burl, ebonized cherry.
56"W x 52"D x 17.5"H (table top)/20"H (base)

  Side Chair by JOE TRACY:
Bubinga, upholstery.
39.5"H x 19.25"W x 19"D

Small Table by JOE TRACY:
Wenge, split curly redwood.
23.5"H x 12" x 12"
Tall Table/Plant Stand by JOE TRACY:
maple, curly redwood veneer.
36.25"H x 12" x 12"

Bench by JOE TRACY: Ebonized walnut, curly redwood.
26"H x 102"W x 36"D (Seat 18”H)

  2 0 0 8



NOTES: Work in the Early Spring Show includes Greg Smith’s exquisite Eclipse jewelry case in afzelia, deodar cedar, and brass; Andy Buck’s witty cantilevered Lilypad Table in cherry with inlaid rosewood dots and painted base; and Fran Taubman’s modernist constructed steel low table.

Greg Smith’s Eclipse jewelry case and Andy Buck’s Lilypad Table reflect two different faces of the American studio furniture movement. Although both pieces exhibit rounded smooth sculptural forms, the makers’ approaches are fundamentally different as a result of their training and their artistic quests. Smith’s finely detailed construction technique reflects his education at the College of the Redwoods program under master cabinetmaker James Krenov. Andy Buck’s carved, shaped and painted form displays techniques gained from his training at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he studied with Rosanne Somerson and Alphonse Mattia.

"Eclipse" Jewelry Case by GREG SMITH: Afzelia, deodar cedar, brass.
7.5"H x 15.5"W x 8.5"D
Photos: John Birchard

"Lilypad" Table by ANDY BUCK: Cherry, rosewood, milk paint.
24.5"H x 14.5"W x 16"D

Black Magazine Tables by JOHN ERIC BYERS: Mahogany, milk paint.
20.25"H x 14"W x 14"D

Tables by TIM COLEMAN: Bubinga, pear.
32"H x 16"W x 16"D

Tea Cabinet by MICHAEL CULLEN:
Quartered cherry with sapwood, sugar pine, milk paint.
44”H x 8.625”W x 7.5”

Standing Desk by JOHN DUNNIGAN: Andaman padauk, oak/cedar, brass.
48"H x 66"W x 20"D

"Ravenna" Side Table by
26"H x 13"W x 13"D

"Sienna" Side Table by
26"H x 14"W x 13.5"D

Square Bar Table by FRAN TAUBMAN: Steel, Japanese brown patina, glass.
16.5"H x 48"W x 30"D



NOTES: Sam Stang describes the Murrini glassblowing process he uses as follows:"All of my pieces are made by using traditional European glassblowing techniques. With the murrini pieces, I begin by making glass rods which are patterned in cross section. The rods are cooled and cut into thin pieces and arranged on an iron plate which is then heated to fuse the murrini. This is then rolled into a tube on the end of a blowpipe and shaped into the final form."

Blue/Green Murrini Bottle.

Purple/Blue Murrini Bottle.

Blue/Green Murrini Platter.

Orange Murrini Bowl.

T0P FORM Furniture 2008

Furniture 2008

May 23 - June 24, 2008

Andy Buck, David Ebner, Janene Hilliard, Brian Newell, Richard Scott Newman, Jere Osgood, Timothy Philbrick, James Schriber

Extension Dining Table by JAMES SCHRIBER: Figured solid bubinga.

The major piece in the Top Form show was a solid bubinga dining room extension table by James Schriber. The form of the base has a modernist feel but also offers an invitation to the people who will sit around it.

There were three benches from Brian Newell in this show. The Jungle Plant Bench was made from an astonishingly dense plank of Indonesian hardwood. Its jungle plant design exhibits a parallel energy to the twisted eel patterns used in his previous show. Their three dimensional form shows Newell's gift for this kind of vision.



Jungle Plant Bench by BRIAN NEWELL: Unidentified Indonesian wood.



Bog Oak Bench by BRIAN NEWELL:
Bog Oak.


His bench made from bog oak has both a primitive quality to it as well as a sophisticated sculptural sensibility. There is a very strong unity in his vision.

The Keyaki Bench is simpler in form and is a nod to the work of the Japanese furniture maker's with whom Newell became acquainted during his 10-year stay in Japan. All three of these benches were made in Japan.

Keyaki Bench by BRIAN NEWELL: Zelkova (Keyaki/Japanese elm)  
This blanket chest is simply sculptural in the best Jere Osgood sense. Its overall effect is produced by how all the gentle curving comes together in his forms. The top is comfortably shaped to allow for sitting.


Blanket Chest by JERE OSGOOD:
Curly maple, cedar of Lebanon, leather.

The spare geometric base supports an active oval top which is strongly decorated with milk paint colored orbs in a murky sea.
Oval Table by ANDY BUCK:
White oak carved, painted and lacquered; base of cocobolo.

"The Hurricane" Lamp
Hand-blown glass, bronze
"MaCumba" Lamp
Hand-blown glass, bronze
"Red China" Lamp
Hand-blown glass, bronze
Mirror Frame by DAVID EBNER: Figured bubinga.


Writing Chair by DAVID EBNER:
Genuine Honduras quilted mahogany
Claro walnut

Clock #I by DAVID EBNER:
Curly ash, afromosia

Richard Newman's maple chair refers, in part, to a country milking stool. Its solid members construct a chair made from six major parts. The look of the chair is deceptively simple. The legs are tenoned directly into the solid seat, and the tapered legs are carved with a reverse spiral flute pattern, while the thin outlines of their tenon ends are veneered in cherry. The shaped seat and back are joined together with a dovetail joint.

Tim Philbrick's side table, which doubles as a tray table, uses some of the last of the Macassar ebony carried on board the Edna (see On Board the Edna, 1989). The top is equally exotic with its use of satinwood.

Chair by RICHARD SCOTT NEWMAN: Figured maple, cherry.

Macassar ebony, satinwood.
Furniture by DUNCAN GOWDY - 2008

Furniture by DUNCAN GOWDY

NOTES: The furniture of DUNCAN GOWDY was the subject of a featured show at Pritam & Eames, June 28 – July 29. The show featured a Blanket Chest with Pine Branches, a pair of wall-hung Brook Cabinets, a Dresser with Glacial Shadow, a Mirror with Branches, and a bench. “Duncan Gowdy’s signature in furniture is the quality of reserve,” says Bebe Johnson, gallery partner. His furniture often employs the imagery of a winter landscape from his native New England.

His teacher, Wendy Maruyama, Professor and Chair of the Furniture Design Program at San Diego State University, says, “Duncan Gowdy often speaks of his Yankee heritage, one that comes from his grandfather and father, that has shaped this artist and his work ethic. Gowdy’s furniture evokes a memory of looking out a window to a cold wintry sky with the silhouettes of the pines in movement. There's a feeling of a warm wood paneled cabin wall that's in contrast to the cold glass window pane. His stark, yet warm, white bleached wood surfaces highlight the reeds dancing across the faces of his dresser. His work is simply and honestly poetic.”

Brook Cabinets
Rift-sawn white oak, ash, stain.
38"H x 11"W x 8"D (each)



Dresser with Glacial Shadow
Ash, quarter-sawn maple, ash plywood.
54"H x 33"W x 18"D

Blanket Chest with Pine Branches
Wenge, ash, stain.
25"H x 43"W x 15.5"D

Fiske Cabinet
Ash, wenge.
21"H x 20"W x 8"D

Mirror with Branches
Ash, maple.
22"H x 22"W x 1.5"D

Wenge, maple.
18"H x 40"W x 16"D

Wine Table
Cherry, maple, paint.
25"H x 19"diameter

The Marina Line by MICHAEL HURWITZ - 2008

The Marina Line

July 25 – September 2, 2008

Plum Blossom Bar Stools
Cherry, fabric made from 100% recycled material.
16.5"H x 7"W x 18.5"D

Low Board
Bamboo plywood, reclaimed Alaskan Yellow Cedar, antique plate glass.
24"H x 72"W x 18"D

Four Legged Bar Stool
Ash, fabric made from 100% recycled material.
31"H x 17.5"W x 17.5"D

Arm Chair
Bamboo plywood,
ash, fabric made from 100% recycled material.
32"H x 32"W x 28"D

Coat Rack/Shelf
Figured maple.
Small: 7"H x 24"W x 7"D
Coat Rack/Shelf
Figured Maple.
Medium (above): 7"H x 41"W x 7"D
Large: 7"H x 57.5"W x 7"D

Side Tables
Cherry or ash, iron pulls.
20"H x 20"W x 18.5"D

Coffee Table
Reclaimed Southern yellow pine.
14"H x 48"W x 30"D

Chest of Drawers Small
Bamboo plywood, formaldehyde-free composite made from
sunflower seed husks.
48"H x 27"W x 19"D

Chest of Drawers Large
Bamboo plywood, formaldehyde-free composite made from
sunflower seed husks.
55"H x 31"W x 21"D
Bamboo plywood, fir, fabric made from 100% recycled material.
32”H x 62”W x 28”D

Chest of Drawers Small
Bamboo plywood, formaldehyde-free composite made from
sunflower seed husks.
48"H x 27"W x 19"D
Side Table
Cherry, iron pull.
20"H x 20"W x 18.5"D
The Furniture Art of JUDY KENSLEY McKIE - 2008 The Furniture Art of

August 1 -- September 9, 2008

NOTES: The Furniture Art of JUDY KENSLEY McKIE is her eighth solo exhibit at Pritam & Eames and featured 17 wall-hung cabinets with bas-relief carved and painted animal and bird imagery for which she is well known. In addition to the wood cabinets, there are two new stone works and two new bronze pieces by McKie in the exhibit: the Ram Bench in Indiana limestone and the Elephant Bench in marble, as well as a bronze horse console table and a bird settee.

The 17 wall-hung cabinets were based on McKie’s graphite drawings. The expressions of the various creatures, prompted one visitor to say: “It’s marvelous that she has the {maturity} and confidence to express herself so freely, almost like a child.” There is great precedence of artists striving for child-like simplicity in their work, and the allegorical nature of the creatures McKie creates do seem like images you could find in children’s books. However, the deceptively uncomplicated representation of the creatures should not belie the mastery of McKie’s bas-relief carving and painting techniques.





Griffin Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.
21"H x 21"W x 4 "D

  Armadillo Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

Rabbit Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

  Rhinoceros Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

Green and Red Bird Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

  Monkey Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

Butterfly Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

  Owl Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

Sheep Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

  Dog Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint

Ibex Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

  Bird with Head Feathers Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

Blue Snipe Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

  Donkey Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

Moose Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

  Goat Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint

Elephant Cabinet
Carved mahogany, milk paint.

Ram Bench
Indiana limestone.
17.5"H x 47.5"W x 17"D

The Ram Bench has a sublime quality of quietude and timelessness in its presence as if it had been excavated from the Sumerian dessert. The pleating of the surface replicates the sense of the creature’s wool coat and, of course, the subdued palette of the Indiana limestone reinforces the achingly beautiful presence of the Ram. Similarly, the grey of the Bardiglio marble that McKie uses in the Elephant Bench augments the sense of “elephant-ness” which, together with the solidness of its form and benign manner, suggests an altogether approachable creature suitable for seating.
Elephant Bench
Grey Bardiglio Marble.
17.5"H x 70"W x 25.5"D

Horse Side Table
Cast bronze.
42"H x 38"W x 12"D

Bird Settee
Cast bronze.
36"H x 60"W x 28"D

JUDY KENSLEY McKIE: Last of the Edition Bronzes - 2008  
Jaguar Bench (1992)
Cast bronze.
27.5"H x 56"W x 17.5"D

Last of the
Bronze Editions


NOTES: Judy McKie considered the bronzes in this show to be among the best that she had done. She held onto these pieces as their editions sold out. In 2008 she decided to offer them for sale, and Pritam & Eames clients were the beneficiaries.


Female Vessel
Cast bronze.
29"H x 24.5"W x 24.5"D

Beast Bench
Cast bronze.
16"H x 57.5"W x 15"D

Monkey Chair
Walnut, cast bronze.
36"H x 25"W x 25"D

SMALL TABLE SHOW - Winter 2008-2009

December 15, 2008 - February 3, 2009

Andy Buck, David Ebner, Hank Gilpin, Duncan Gowdy


Spot Drink Tables by ANDY BUCK
Poplar, steel, resin and cherry/mahogany/wenge.
25.75"H x Bases 7-7.75"diameter/Tops 8" x 5.25-6"

Oval Table by HANK GILPIN
30”H x 30”W x 15”D

23”H x 19”diameter
Table (pair) by HANK GILPIN
Curly red maple.
21”H x 20”diameter

Wildly quilted big leaf maple.
27.25”H x 17.75”W x 16”D

23”H x 19”W x 19”D/15.5”diameter
Wine Table by DAVID EBNER
Figured ash.
23.5"H x 19.25"diameter

Mirror with Pine Branches by
Ash, wenge, stain.
22"H x 22"W x 1.5"D

Mirror with Branches by DUNCAN GOWDY
Ash, maple, stain.
22"H x 22"W x 1.5"D
Platter with Branches by DUNCAN GOWDY
Ash, stain.
2.5"H x 16"diameter

In any commission situation, a furniture maker usually has to take into account a number of givens. A successful outcome in a commission situation for the artist-craftsman is when these givens have been turned into a design that not only meets or exceeds the client’s expectations but, also, at the same time, satisfies and expands the repertoire of the artist’s own vision. In the case of this Jewelry Chest commission, Kristina Madsen worked with two talented New York designers, Jorge Cao and Don Thomas, who designed the interior of this New York apartment. The apartment owners had had a long standing relationship of trust with the designers, and naturally turned to them when they decided to do a major overhaul of their apartment space. The designers commissioned James Schriber to do a number of stand-alone and built-in pieces for the apartment. Of Schriber's work, Madsen says, “James did a spectacular job building many of the pieces in the space.”

For her part, the designers asked Madsen to build a jewelry cabinet. She describes the considerations that went into the making of her supremely beautiful cabinet: “My primary consideration was to design a piece that would be harmonious with the rest of the room - a bedroom. It was a compact room, outfitted with large, curved door built-ins by James (Schriber) of avodire and zebrawood. The avodire is pale yellow, similar to satinwood, and it was this color that suggested the beeswax colored paint for the cabinet. The wall against which it was to be placed was a narrow strip between two large windows, upholstered in pale peach silk. The foot of the bed was very close to this, so the cabinet had to be shallow: hence, the step-back of the side cabinets. The client’s only guideline was that she wanted it to be as spacious as possible.  Beyond that, I was given complete freedom. With the exterior subdued in color, I thought it would be fun to have a really bold interior. The color of the padauk picked up on small orange tufts in a beautiful bed cover nearby, and the wenge base was meant to set off the lightness of the cabinet. The carved pattern was inspired by a painting by Jacques Martinez that I had seen in a book.”

Commissioned Jewelry Chest by KRISTINA MADSEN

  2 0 0 9

David Ebner, Noel & Janene Hilliard, Tony Kenway, Greg Smith, Stewart Wurtz
Blanket Chest with Drawer by DAVID EBNER:
Sapele, hand-forged bronze.
"H x 34"W x 22"D

Galaxia Pendant Lamp by NOEL & JANENE HILLIARD
Hand-blown glass tiles, bronze.

Hall table by GREG SMITH
elm, kwila.
34”H x 42”W x 17”D





Blanket Chest by GREG SMITH
Teak, afzelia, copper.
19”H x 36”W x 22”D



Rubin Bench by STEWART WURTZ
Curly maple, wenge, steel.
18"H x 48"W x 17"D



May 22 -- June 30, 2009


NOTES: The process of carving has remained essentially unchanged from pre-historic times: it cuts out the unwanted part; the remaining part is the work. Today, with tools like the chisel, carving knife, gouge, chainsaw, or CNC router, carving still puts the maker in immediate touch with the material, whether the material is wood, stone, sand, or pumpkin.

Most of the carving designs that have evolved from different cultures have something in common -- they have their roots in nature and natural form. So whether it is Viking, Celtic, Maori, Eskimo, or African, it all starts with nature and imagination.

In The Case for Carving show, using wood and a few tools, the artist-craftsmen in this show demonstrate how they bring a flat board to life.





David Esterly’s studio is in upstate New York, where he works in the tradition of 17th-century British carver, Grinling Gibbons, who is generally recognized as one of the greatest wood carvers of all time, specialized in high relief -- four to six inches deep -- almost life-size foliage carving. Although Esterly’s subject matter may occasionally deviate from foliage, his use of material is constant; he always carves in European limewood, a relative of American linden, or basswood. Like Grinling Gibbons before him, Esterly uses no finish on his carvings; he allows the shadows cast by the relief carving to reflect directly on the pale wood. 

"Summer Bruschetta " by DAVID ESTERLY
21.5”H x 17”W x 6”D


Kristina Madsen mastered intaglio or shallow-relief, carving after a year’s stay in Fiji in the early 1990s. There, as a Fulbright grantee, she apprenticed with master Fijian carver, Makito Koto, who taught her the intricacies of carving done to a depth of no more than a 16th to a 32nd of an inch deep. Intaglio is characteristic of carving in the South Seas. Although she had previously carved in her furniture, Madsen acknowledges that the Fijian experience was an epiphany for her.

She says that the carved surface has become more and more important to her furniture design, and has begun to view her work as a study of pattern -- repetitive, non- repetitive, figurative, abstract, geometric, monochromatic, polychromatic -- with furniture as its medium.

Chest on Stand by KRISTINA MADSEN
Chest: Maple, milk painted, carved, gesso. Stand: Wenge.
29”H x 41”W x 14”D (Box: 11”H x 37.5”W x 10”D)

Wall Cabinet by BRIAN NEWELL
9"H x 34"W x 8"D

Brian Newell chip carved wooden signs for shopkeepers as a teenager in his native Flint, Michigan. He pursued his interest in wood and studied with master cabinetmaker, James Krenov, and his furniture represents some of the boldest, most exciting work we’ve seen in decades. His carving is exceptional as seen in this rosewood wall-hung cabinet.


Andy Buck's charming bird, spoon, bowl, and hope chest demonstrate his mastery of carving as well as friendly, inventive forms.


Watching Bird by ANDY BUCK
Mahogany, walnut, milk paint.
5.5”H x 7”W x 5/5”D
Stimulus Spoon by ANDY BUCK
Beech, milk paint.
11" long
Walnut, milk paint.
2.75”H x 11.25”W x 5”D

Hope Chest by ANDY BUCK
Mahogany, poplar, milk paint.
3.5”H x 7.5”W x 3.25”D



Wave Bracelet by TOM CALHOUN
Curly mango.
2”H x 3.25”diameter
"Nexus" by TOM CALHOUN
Norfolk pine.
17”H x 11.375”diameter

Like Kristina Madsen, Michael Cullen studied furniture making under David Powell at the Leeds Design School in Easthampton, MA. For the Carving Show, Cullen made a sunny Sampler Chest in two shades of yellow that displayed some of his favorite carving patterns.

Sampler Chest by MICHAEL CULLEN
Hard maple, Port Orford cedar.
7.75"H x 21.75"W x 8.25"D

Wave Table by DAVID EBNER
Pigmented maple, slate, peened and blued steel.
22"H x 20"W x 18"D

© Amiaga Photographers, Inc.

Blanket Chest with Saplings by DUNCAN GOWDY
Maple, ash, stain.
24"H x 47"W x 16.5"D

The exquisite netsuke-sized animal and flora carvings of Janel Jacobson were astonishing for their technical perfection as well as soulful rendition.
Gabon ebony.
3.6” x 2.1” x 1.3”

Dried, Curled Leaf by JANEL JACOBSON
Leaf: Pink ivory wood, Stand: Persimmon.
Leaf: 3.1” x 0.6” x 0.4” / Tray: 4.25” x 1.6” x 0.6”

Boxwood, Baltic amber (eye inlay).
1.5” x 1.6” x 1”



Cottonwood Treasure by JANEL JACOBSON
Cottonwood Leaf: Cherry burl.
Red Oak Leaf: Manzanita.
Tiny Mushrooms: Bog oak.
Snail: Mammoth tusk with boar’s tusk inlay
. 3.3” x 3.1” x 1.2”

19”H x 12”W x 12”D

"Sweet Memories" by RANDALL ROSENTHAL
Pine, paint.
3”H x 21”W x 14”D

Pine, paint.
0.5”H x 2.5”W x 1.5”D
"Duke" Baseball Cards by RANDALL ROSENTHAL
Pine, paint.
1.25”H x 3”W x 5”D

Baseball provides Randy Rosenthal with some of his best material for his meticulous renderings and trompe l'oeil compositions.
Coffee Table by HOWARD WERNER
18"H x 4'W x 2'D

Not all carving is done by direct hand contact. Howard Werner’s sculpture, vessels, and furniture forms are carved by chainsaw. He says his greatest sources of inspiration come from the world of sculpture and the work of Brancusi and Noguchi. Werner has been direct-carving sculpture and furniture from large tree sections since the mid-1970s.

John Eric Byers contributed two Queen-sized headboards in carved mahogany. The multiple colors seem to animate the shallow relief squares.
Headboards by JOHN ERIC BYERS
Mahogany, milk paint.
23”H x 63”W x 2”D (Queen)

ALSO IN 2009  
Hand-blown glass tiles, bronze.
21"H x 18.5"diameter
The Art Furniture of JUDY KENSLEY McKIE at LongHouse -2009

The Art Furniture of
at LongHouse


NOTES: Jack Lenor Larsen has been a long-standing fan of Judy McKie and her work. His 1994 tribute to her appeared in a Pritam & Eames catalogue, and included these lines: "Today, as we stand awash -- sometimes shoulder deep -- in an art world market-driven, ego-tainted, tongue-tied while near buried in words, the furniture of Judy McKie appears as a singular 'safe harbor'. McKie's stricture that her work remain furniture and functional may be a clue to its success, for this is not sculpture to sit on, nor art to warehouse. True, these pieces are also ritual objects going beyond function. Often bestial with four stout legs or with none, her house-broken menagerie makes maker and viewer smile, as intended."

In 2009, Larsen hosted a show of McKie's work at LongHouse, his East Hampton estate that is a foundation for the arts.

LongHouse Reserve

Jack Lenor Larsen and Judy Kensley McKie
with Polar Bear Bench at LongHouse

Polar Bear Bench
Danby marble.

Horse Side Table
Cast bronze.


Ram Bench
Lion Bench
Cast bronze.

Dragon Stool
Indiana limestone.

Hippo Bench
Champlain marble.

Furniture: DAVID EBNER - 2009 Furniture: DAVID EBNER

JULY 3 -- AUGUST 18, 2009

This show was dedicated to the memory of Ebner's dear friend and photographer, Gil Amiaga.

NOTES:The long stretch of the gallery’s association with David Ebner began with a 1980 visit to his studio in Bellport, NY, a visit that initiated a relationship that would extend for the life of the gallery.  For the gallery’s opening in May 1981, Ebner arrived with his Wishbone Rocker (see P&E Archives, First Decade, 1981) propped up in the back of a borrowed sports coupe convertible. He had picked the rocker up from a local caner who had just completed work on the seat. The Wishbone Rocker was a perceptive, modern design that began with Ebner’s observing the rocking motion of a duck’s sternum bone on his plate in a Long Island restaurant. This rocker embodied the quality and kind of work that would attract a broad public to Ebner’s furniture and entice many to make their initial venture into American studio furniture. His sense of design has a broad reach and stays away from an approach that
is overly personal and eccentric. For any movement to gain traction, it needs both rarity as well as the strength of a broader appeal.

In a sense, Ebner’s 2009 show at Pritam & Eames was a strong review of furniture chestnuts from his body of work. At this point, his career as a furniture maker had spanned four decades of productivity, and this prolific body of work included commissioned pieces that constantly pushed Ebner for new design solutions. During this period of productivity, he was able to make a number of pieces that would go on to be considered classics within his body of work. The 2009 show exhibited a number of these pieces. 

Take, for example, his Chest of Drawers in Sapele. He came up with the design for this chest of drawers while he was still a student at RIT in the ‘60s, and it was there that he made the first version. The three-tiered structure, with its three volumes separated by a central column, was sculptural in its aesthetic but functional in that each volume housed a single drawer that decreased in size from the bottom up. Although over the years, he revised aspects of this design, he kept its essential nature unchanged. As such, it would do well in any modern architectural setting, while still providing an exceptional canvas for the organic figure of beautiful wood.

Chest of Drawers
Quartered sapele.
44"H x 32"W x 22"D

A second case piece in this show was Ebner’s much admired Lingerie Chest. With its classic semainière or seven-drawer design, it retains the one-drawer-for-each-day-of-the-week signature of this type of chest. However, once again, its aesthetic is focused in a sculptural direction, this time, rather than being directed towards a modernist interior, our association is with kimonos. From the high squared shoulders to the draped center line of the cabinet, we have a sense of elegant stature. Again, he provides himself with an ample canvas for showing off the beauty of wood. As in the larger chest of drawers, all details are carved into the solid of the wood.
Lingerie Chest
Figured mahogany.
45”H x 24”W x 16”D

While at RIT, Ebner was much influenced by the work and philosophy of Wharton Esherick, as was one of his teachers, Wendell Castle. One of Esherick’s dictums that made an impression on Ebner was regarding material to be used: “Always look in your own backyard first.” The Double Stick Bench, Standing Lamp, Stick Lamp, and the Book Chair in this show make use of vine-choked sassafras saplings harvested from the woods that neighbor Ebner’s studio, which also include the right-of-way of the Long Island Railroad tracks. Once he developed methods for debarking and polishing the sassafras, he was left with material which is remarkably primal and bone-like in quality. In the Double-Stick Bench, it is bleached to a bone-like effect; in the lamp, it is stained ebony black. In both pieces, the sassafras imparts a unique and strongly organic quality.
Double Stick Bench
Sassafras, rush.
16"H x 48"W x 18"D

Floor Lamp
Stained sassafras, peened & blued steel.
54”H x 22”diameter
Renwick Stool
Pigmented maple.
16"H x 15"W x 15"D
Book Chair
Pigmented sassafras, spalted maple.
25"H x 20"W x 16"D
Stick Lamp
Pigmented maple, peened & blued steel.
23"H x 12"diameter
With Ebner’s Brookhaven Chair one can also feel the influence of earlier Modernist designs; the chair is also not without a distinctly Esherick feel.  What is interesting is to compare the structural thinking that went into the design of the chair with the Library Steps, and to note that the chair made its first appearance in the gallery in the early ‘80s, while the Library Steps did not appear until the turn of the century.

In both pieces, there is a wishbone-type joining as the feet continue into legs, and continue the upward moving curves to meet in a wishbone structure. In both pieces, the horizontal solid of the seat with respect to the chair and the horizontal solid of the steps with respect to the ladder provide the functional strength of a stretcher. The joining of the three legs on each side of the Library Steps is accomplished by a skillful use of tapered lamination. Its six legs provide stability and the necessary sense of security. The slight arching of the leg material, after the wishbone joint, provides an upward reaching surface to guide the hands of the climber, and offers continued security. This is an elegantly fluid structure, as well as a well-thought out design, from the user’s point of view.
Brookhaven Chair
Pigmented maple.
30"H x 22"W x 18"D

Library Steps
Brazilian cherry.
49"H x 19"W x 22"D
Funa Chest
Natural bamboo.
20"H x 36"W x 28"D



Coffee Table
Lacewood, pigmented maple.
15"H x 38"W x 20"D

Jewelry Chest
Figured mahogany.
13.5"H x 15"W x 9.75"D

Rosewood, lacewood, Spanish cedar.
9.5”H x 13.25”W x 9.25”D

Onion Chest
Red oak, ash.
54”H x 28”diameter

Ebner is well known for his Scallion Coat Rack (see P&E Archives, First Decade, 1986), and his Onion Chest definitely comes from the same family of thought. The stem of the Onion bursts from its golden brown skin; the diameter of its bulb is, as one would expect, much greater than the scallion’s sleeker, but weighted, bottom. With the Onion, the idea was to create a volume large enough for a spacious carved out interior. And, unlike the continuous sleekness of the scallion, the skin of the Onion is a gouge carved textured surface. A giant onion turns out to be as much fun as a giant scallion.
Side Chair (pair)
Figured mahogany, wenge, Larson fabric.
33”H x 19”W x 20”D

Console Table
30”H x 58”W x 22”D

Bamboo Stools
Bamboo, blued steel.
17”H x 17”W x 13”D

23.5”H x 21.5”W x 1.5”D

All Ebner Studio Photos: © Amiaga Photographers, Inc.
  August 2009


Another wall-hung cabinet by Brian Newell that exhibits his great talent for three-dimensional decorative carving. Note how the ends of the cabinet curve away from the wall, which allows back lighting to accentuate the cabinet's transparency. Also, of note, is the commitment it took to use solid ebony boards for his carving blanks.

Ebony Wall Cabinet by BRIAN NEWELL
9.5"H x 42"W x 7"D
  2 0 1 0


March 19 – May 25


Spring Floor Lamp by TED BLACHLY & PETER BLOCH
Mahogany, wenge, quaking Aspen
65"H x 16"diameter

Chest on Stand by MICHAEL CULLEN
Carved and painted mahogany, Spanish cedar interior
32.25"H x 24.625"W x 13.75"D

Coffee Table by DAVID EBNER
Elm burl, walnut, wenge, peened & blued steel.
16.5”H x 37”W x 43.5”D

"Positano" Bench by GARY S. MAGAKIS
20"H x 28"W x 14"D



Cabinet by GREG SMITH
Narra, kwila, Douglas fir, nutmeg, maple, iron.
52"H x 25.25"W x 11"D

Large Table Base by FRAN TAUBMAN
Powder coated aluminum.
30"H x 79"W x 21"D

May 28 - June 29, 2010
  Headboard by ANDY BUCK
Mahogany, milk paint.
22”H x 67.5”W x 1.5”D



NOTES: In 2010, The New York Times art critic, Roberta Smith, stated: “What is missing is art that seems made by one person out of intense personal necessity, often by hand.’* To Smith’s remark, we offer the studio furniture field as an apposite reminder that furniture, in the hands of these makers, is rich in the very way that she senses is absent in contemporary art.

*Roberta Smith, The New York Times, Post-Minimal to the Max, Arts & Leisure, pg. 1, February 14, 2010

In Andy Buck’s Headboard, he uses his usual technique of relief carved figure to create a gathering of like, but individualistic, forms waving gently like sea plants. The muted sea green colors add to this underwater effect.

Already a well received design, the Library Ladder by David Ebner appears this time made from East Indian rosewood.

Tom Hucker’s Illuminated Cabinet, almost seven feet tall on its spare, squat base, has the feel of a Japanese lantern. It is a feat of both craftsmanship and design that, at this scale, he created a sufficiently rigid structure to house a series of broad glass shelves. Lighting was provided both by interior strip lights that ran vertically inside the corners, and also by ambient light from outside passing through the laminated rice paper skin. 
Library Ladder by DAVID EBNER
East Indian rosewood.
49”H x 19”W x 22”D

Illuminated Cabinet by THOMAS HUCKER
Douglas fir, synthetic rice paper, LEDs.
82”H x 56”W x 21”D


The two music stands in this show came from Michael Hurwitz.  The detail image shows the design’s ability for height adjustment. In the curly maple version, its form is set off by crisp ebony lines. Both the zelkova and curly maple versions make use of Damascus steel in the stands’ hardware for height adjustment. Early on, Hurwitz had apprenticed with a musical instrument maker.


Curly maple, ebony / zelkova;
Damascus steel.
46-55”H x 21”W x 21”D



Kanzashi Hair Ornament by
Carved & painted
Jelutong, paper.
60”H x 18”W x 3”D

Wendy Maruyama’s comb was inspired by Kanzashi or hair ornaments worn by geisha or women at tea ceremonies and weddings. Here the comb is scaled up to the size of a human figure. The light band, running below the teeth of the comb, is created from a paper mache band with kanji.

19”H x 40”W x 31”D


Howard Werner, well-known for his fine sculptural chain saw carving, has also made a strong use of hard edged geometric forms in his work. This low table made of pine is formed by two adjoining, identical members. They are mirror opposites and can be adjoined on any of their five vertical facets.



The Gazelle Table from Judy McKie was originally conceived in the early 1980s. At that time, she roughed out parts for several more of the edition, which were finished over the subsequent years. The table strongly suggests primitive animist work.  The upright, sentinel position of the forequarters lends the piece its presence. McKie has often used “twinship” in animal form to create a symmetrical whole but also to raise to guardianship an animal form. Here the use of carved and colored bands to embellish the forms also adds to the heightened presence of this animist rather than animal form.

Gazelle Table by JUDY KENSLEY McKIE
Mahogany, paint, glass.
34”H x 60”W x 18”D

Four pieces by Don Miller show well the range of his thinking on the form and pattern created by skeletal and surface piecing. Starting with his wall-hung demilune, and looking at it structurally, each horizontal surface member is supported by an arched rib joining in the belly of the piece with a result of lightness and strength. Pattern-wise, each piece doubles as a perspective line converging at the edge of the plane. It is easy to understand how helpful an advanced computer design program would be in figuring out the shape of an individual piece. This is what Miller did. His mirror uses similar design thinking but adds a more playful aspect. It is human nature to glance at a mirror when passing. Here the form of the piece is infused with mirror reflected light which ripples with shadow effects as one passes. The Eggo wall vessel is the third piece that fits into this design thinking. Here form is used non-functionally; it makes you think of a spirit or energy hole but also brings to mind that Miller worked with musical instruments earlier in his career. In the fourth piece, his Tea Table, east meets west. A familiar pedestal design is partnered with a fan-pieced top. The graphic of the top suggests both a chrysanthemum form as well as the sun.  

Fluted Wall Hung Shelf by DON MILLER
Bleached white oak.
16”H x 40”W x 12”D

Looking Glass by DON MILLER
Bleached white oak, mirror.
27”H x 14”W x 4”D

Tea Table by DON MILLER
Bleached white oak, brass.
28”H x 32”W x 32”D

"Eggo" Wall Vessel by DON MILLER
Bleached white oak.
31”H x 18”W x 7.5”D

In a 2007 show, Brian Newell created a blanket chest that was rectilinear in form whose surface was covered by pillowed tiles of African blackwood. That chest featured a base of many legs. For the blanket chest in this show, he bellied out the front and back of the form, curved the sides and canted them towards the top, and used eight legs at the base to raise the structure.
These legs gave the entire carcass the sense of an arthropod on the verge of moving.

Blanket Chest by BRIAN NEWELL
Macassar ebony, narra, Japanese cypress.
18”H x 51.5”W x 22.5”D

Cherry, soft maple, walnut, holly, myrtle, pearwood, ebony.
53”H x 27.5”W x 14.75”D

Rich Tannen’s maple milk-painted Container transforms a textured undulating surface into a three-dimensional form. Its asymmetric form is overlaid with precise rhythmic texturing. Like some forms found in nature, while externally free and irregular, they are built on a foundation of precise mathematical internal structure.  
Container by RICH TANNEN
Maple, milk paint.
41”H x 13”W x 8.5”D

1.25”H x 28.5”W x 6”D



JULY 2 -- AUGUST 3, 2010



Wall Mirrors
Mahogany, milk paint, steel, mirrors.
48”H x 4”W x 6”D


Mirror (Vertical/Horizontal) by TIM COLEMAN
Bird's-eye maple, pearwood.
32”H x 24”W x 2”D / 24"H x 32"W x 2"D

  Mirror by DAVID EBNER
Pigmented bamboo.
25”H x 44”W x 2”D

Mirror with Drawers by DAVID EBNER
Pigmented maple, bubinga, brass.
32”H x 29”W x 4”D

Round Mirror by DON MILLER
Bleached white oak.
21"diameter x 5.5"D

Looking Glass by DON MILLER
Bleached white oak, mirror.
27”H x 14”W x 4”D

SEATING @ Pritam & Eames Chairs, Benches, Stools - 2010

SEATING @ Pritam & Eames
Chairs, Benches, Stools

August 6 - September 7, 2010


NOTES: There were a number of exciting seating pieces that arrived for this show, starting with Vivian Beer's Ruby Red Slipper Bench.

Ruby Red Slipper was the first piece by Vivian Beer to be exhibited at P&E. Beer's father was a Maine boat-builder, and she had plenty of practical experience in the boatyard that gave her choice to bend and weld sheet steel into furniture forms, a rational base. That her slipper form has the fluidity of poured resin is still a thing of wonder, and shows the confidence of an artisan whose apprenticeship included working on parts for Jeff Koons’ sculptures. The gratifying sculptural aspect of her “slipper” is that it pours itself into the terminal of a cubist block, which anchors nicely the activity of the dancing form. Ruby red and black are essential to this bench.

"Ruby Red Slipper" Bench by VIVIAN BEER
Steel, automotive paint, patina.
36”H x 52”W x 26”D

"Connection" by GARRY KNOX BENNETT
Reclaimed & refurbished pre-used chairs, powder coat, nickel plate, paint, leather, Naugahyde, velour, 23K gold plating.
36”H x 45”W x 22”D

Connection by Garry Knox Bennett also comes from a maker well-versed in working with metal.  However, here, Bennett’s focus is conceptual. These two chairs represent the influence of time on items we often take for granted. A successful mass-produced cafe chair and it's later, more serious, (design-conscious) dining counterpart - both dressed up and just waiting for the show to begin. This unlikely pair are both fully functional chairs when unlatched from each other. The two chairs in this work are seemingly iconic in the world of furniture: a classic side chair easily identified as a design by the 19th-century German-Austrian cabinetmaker Michael Thonet, while the other, a very familiar looking chair, has no apparent maker identity. Their connection is created by a short link of velvet rope which correctly ends with brass hook fasteners. This is pure theatrical bravura on Bennett’s part. But the underlying comment of the enslaving linkage is interesting, and culturally on point. Both belong to strong impulses in the past at modernizing furniture design, and yet are very different in aesthetic origins. You can apply this thought easily to divergent passions of today's’ studio furniture makers. And, of course, there’s Garry Bennett’s wise chuckle that underlies this entry.

David Ebner is well known for his Renwick Stool, and it was this piece that he later extended into a two-seater bench design that was also originally fashioned from wood. Ebner correctly saw how well this design could translate into bronze. The bronze allowed him to work with less thickness through the bottom of the seat. This is a piece that would sit harmoniously in almost any landscape.

Ebner’s Bellport Bench and chairs are successful updates of Edwin Lutyens’ (a prominent early 20th century British architect) classic garden furniture designs.

Cast Bronze.
16”H x 36”W x 16”D

"Bellport Bench" by DAVID EBNER
Mahogany, paint.
33”H x 60”W x 20”D

"Bellport Chairs" by DAVID EBNER
Mahogany, paint.
31”H x 30”W x 21”D


Michael Hurwitz uses the shield shape as an element of design in the back of his chair. However, the back is sufficiently narrow that this form appears in an elegant way, and is embellished on the sitting side by a subtle graphic that uses two closely related tones of mustard and taupe leather. The chair’s width is projected to the front edge of the seat, which in characteristic Hurwitz manner, gives it a welcoming gesture.

Zelkova, Spinneybeck leather.
39”H x 18”W x 21”D



Tim Philbrick’s Reading Chair owes its lineage to a long line of his club chairs and yet is distinctly different in scale. While taller backs and more ample seats have been the tradition, Philbrick’s Reading Chair is modern in that its agreeable proportions and perspective lines give it all of the appearance of comfort. Its scaled-down dimensions make it easily moveable within a room and, in this way, adjustable for conversation. Although larger versions of Philbrick’s easy chairs have been an exhibition attraction for many years, the particular scale of this chair, as well as the choice of Claro walnut and burgundy-colored leather, was a particularly effective combination. He had sufficient walnut, which appears in the front apron, to make this chair three times.

Philbrick also exhibited a side chair in Claro walnut whose lines are masterfully resolved. It has a simplicity that would allow it to sit well with most tables and desks, and also the comfort of a traditionally upholstered seat and back.

Claro Walnut, Spinneybeck Italian calfskin.
32”H x 29”W x 27”D

Claro Walnut, Larsen fabric.
33.5"H x 19.5"W x 20"D

Cherry, Quilted Maple.
17”H x 66”W x 22”D

The five and one-half foot long wooden bench by James Schriber was a shortened version of a bench originally designed for public seating at a Yale University hospital. The slat-style cherry members of the bench’s top are nicely shaped for comfort, and the figured maple overlay on the long apron and legs effects an elegant style that goes well beyond the demands of public seating. This shortened version would make an entry way piece, but would also look quite in place at the foot of a bed. Viewed from above, the bench's long sides are slightly bowed as on a kayak.

29”H x 60”W x 23”D

The magnificence of the pine tree, which was the source of this chair by Howard Werner, is suggested by the 60-inch width of the crotch material. Carved from a single piece of pine by means of a variety of chain saws, Werner has fashioned both a wonderfully sculptured chair as well as an epitaph of the tree. Approaching the chair from its front, the organic path of the crotch split is clearly visible.

26”H x 30”W x 21”D

The fun of this design, however, derives much from its nicely achieved trick of cut-through squares in the pedestal which terminate in the aggressive swoop of the seat. Again, this piece is carved from one log of ash -- no joinery. This stool was made over a two-day period as a demonstration during the 2008 Furniture Society conference at SUNY Purchase, NY. 
White Pine.
16.5”H x 72”W x 15”D

  August 2010

Of the two pieces completed by Kristina Madsen in 2010, the queen-size bed was presented in exhibition, while the cabinet-on-stand was a commissioned piece. The bed was framed by its four posts, most of its curved surfaces covered by Madsen’s signature intaglio carving. Although this was not the first time Madsen applied her shallow-relief carving to surfaces in the round (see P&E Archives, Decade 2, Grasshopper Chest, 1995), the posts on the bed were the largest turnings she had carved. Normally, Madsen would begin her exploration of a pattern to be carved by making tests on flat wood panels, roughly a foot in width. However, in the round, there are no discrete beginnings or end. Knowing that continuous patterns are the norm on pottery, she consulted a potter who gave her the tip of cutting her paper patterns in half so that she could move it side to side and thereby ensure that the pattern flowed around. Eventually, though, she would have to explore the carving of this pattern in the flat. In the posts, lines that would appear horizontal on a tapered column would curve when made to lie flat on a plane.


As you can see from the close-up of the tapered post, Madsen’s chosen pattern was dense with detail and complexity of curve. The tops of the posts are carved pattern on the gentle swell of the surface much like an elegant button. What gives the posts an exotic feel is their inverse progression; that is, from the bottom up, the thickness goes from narrow to thick. This interrupts our most normal design expectations and, in this piece, leaves a sense of surprise and wonder. Note that on the headboard, the carving is not deepened by the use of gesso, and sways away from the center like a wheat field divided by a parting gust.

Cherry, gesso.
56”H x 86”L x 66”W (Queen)


NOTES: The chest-on-stand shown here began as a simple commission request: “I’d like a cabinet by Kristina Madsen.” Although the client had an idea of the scale of the cabinet he would like, he was content to leave the design ideas completely up to Madsen. And so with a notion of a cabinet-on-stand that she would like to make, Madsen began developing pattern ideas for the upper cabinet’s main façade, a process for her that typically begins with drawings and ends with test panels. Circles within circles: Madsen chose an animated dynamic in which some of the patterns would be revealed behind others. 

Before she started carving, Madsen sealed the bubinga with varnish. Once carved, she scrubbed in the gesso, wiping it off of the top surface with a damp rag. Once the gesso was dry, she lightly sanded the surface and applied a couple of more coats of varnish. The gessoed background helps to lift up/set off the primary pattern, which creates the illusion of greater dimension than actually exists.

This visual depth is enhanced by applying dark brown gesso to the more complex background patterns. While the top-most pattern is composed of simple sickle shapes in bubinga, the pattern beneath is developed with curved lines and tooth-textured, ribbon-like sections. The syncopated activity of the different levels gives an illusion of endless action. The legs of the cabinet-on-stand were made to look like they were turned, but because of their gentle curve, had to be shaped round by hand.

Standing back from the cabinet, the form has a definite character. Both the upper cabinet and the lower stand seem to expand gently outward as they diverge from the waist point at which point they meet. To borrow a metaphor from fashion, the upper cabinet reminds one of a smartly tailored jacket, slightly proud in the shoulders and tucked towards the waist. The shallow relief cut “lapels” at the inside edges of the doors extend this impression. The Indonesian rosewood stand narrows as it comes up from the floor, but doesn’t quite meet the upper cabinet; first, it pinches in at the waist. The swag of the legs is achieved with the subtle shaping of tubular legs: they have a gentle saber-like flare as they descend towards the floor and narrow towards the foot that is set into the stand itself at 45-degree angles. 

Madsen’s choice for the interior, which is composed of drawer fronts, is bold and acts like a jazz riff to the serious melodic composition of the exterior. The drawer fronts are made of alternating stripes of rosewood and maple. 

Carved Cabinet by KRISTINA MADSEN
Bubinga, Indonesian rosewood, maple, gesso, silk.
47.25”H x 22.5”W x 14”D
Photos: David Stansbury

Maple, fir.

This “pocket” library was commissioned of James Schriber as part of a complete renovation -- design as well as structure -- of a traditional house on Shelter Island, NY. The re-design carefully adopted architectural elements that would blend into the company of its traditionally styled neighbors. In this way, this library unit also reflects elements of the new and the old. This is another good example of how Schriber’s talents allow him to absorb the environmental circumstances in a space, and come up with a specific design. The clients had also admired a late-1980’s circular library or foyer table of Schriber's that they had seen at the gallery. It has the neo-classical sense of a Deco design with silver leaf and ebony details.    

  2 0 1 1

Despite the differences in their training backgrounds -- Fran Taubman came from RISD and Pratt Institute, and Vivian Beer trained at Portland College of Art and Cranbrook Academy of Art -- there is some common ground these two artists share. Both are working in painted steel: Taubman using rods, and Beer, sheet metal, to create their seating pieces. While sinuous curves have become Beer's signature, Taubman's Blue Chair represents a return to her more organic art nouveau botanical forms than to the more spare geometry of her current steel bar and plate work.

Edgar Brandt, the early 20th century French ironworker, was a formative inspiration for Fran Taubman in her work. Because of the Art Nouveau period of Brandt’s work, the flora muse was still strong, and this same organic element found its way in Taubman’s pieces, such as her well received Branch Lamp and her series of chandeliers and sconces. More recently, she experimented in a more modernist vein with both the chaotic nature of bent ribbon work as well as the rectilinear severity of steel bar stock construction. This beautiful chair is a return for her to the muse of the earlier period—twisted vines and branch patterns. With this style, the hammered exterior texture of the steel stock is meticulously rendered with the forging process. The joints on this chair are made secure by the three or four vine twists around a thicker member. The pattern of the back and seat itself will have a sense of familiarity to anyone who has worked with a wisteria in their garden. The chair is lithe, beautiful in its blue powder coating which does not hide or subdue the forged texture underneath, and actually provides a comfortable seat. Additional comfort is easily achieved with a thin canvas throw cushion.
Blue Chair by FRAN TAUBMAN
Powder coated steel.
35”H x 18”W x 18”D

Ruffles Lounge by VIVIAN BEER
Steel, automotive paint.
33”H x 57”W x 21.5”D

Ruffles Lounge is the second of Vivian Beer’s pieces to appear at Pritam & Eames. Here, however, rather than working with a closed sculptural form as in the Slipper Chair, she allows the 3/8-inch thick sheet metal to calligraphically create the signature of the form. The vertical rigidity of the supporting bar stock gives tension to the whole and adds to the sculptural interest of the piece. The form is exceptional in the extent of the flowing curve of the sheet steel, but it doesn’t seem radical as it also shares a history with the many bent plywood forms that appeared just before World War II. (see Alvar Aalto’s 1932 Paimio chair, for example.) With the addition of the foot stool, the kissing harmony of the curve is brought to a beautiful conclusion.

NOTES: The title for this exhibition draws from the title of their soon-to-be published book, Speaking of Furniture: Conversations with 14 American Masters, which will be published by The Artist Book Foundation (TABf) in Fall, 2013. Bebe and Warren Johnson began work on this publication project in 1990 (see P&E Archives, First Decade, 1990), and the manuscript included interviews with 14 artist-craftsmen who were integral to the gallery in its first decade: James Krenov, Wendell Castle, Jere Osgood, Judy Kensley McKie, David Ebner, Richard Scott Newman, Hank Gilpin, Alphonse Mattia, John Dunnigan, Wendy Maruyama, James Schriber, Timothy Philbrick, Michael Hurwitz, and Thomas Hucker. Once published, Speaking of Furniture would be sold in bookstores at the National Gallery and Renwick Gallery in DC, the Philadelphia Museum, the Metropolitan and Modern museums in New York, and the MFA Boston.


Pritam & Eames marks its 30th year as a showcase for American studio furniture in a show that runs from May 27 - September 6, 2011

Vivian Beer, Fran Taubman, Tim Coleman, Brian Newell, Andy Buck, Wendell Castle, Judy Kensley McKie, Michael Hurwitz, Wendy Maruyama, Tom Hucker, Timothy Philbrick, John Dunnigan, Duncan Gowdy, Kristina Madsen, David Ebner, Hank Gilpin, Alphonse Mattia, Richard Scott Newman, and James Schriber.


Cornice Stool by VIVIAN BEER
Stainless Steel, pure pigment and ferrocement (cement).
25"H x 40”W x 24”D

Vivian Beer’s entry for this show was called the Cornice Stool. Its originality starts with its use of material: a layered, padded-on surface of concrete set into a stainless steel armature. The polishing of this surface produced a steel ribbed, stone-like surface with a polished intensity. The term cornice undoubtedly refers to the projecting overhang of its one-sided progressive lip. But looking at a point-on front profile, you are immediately struck by an image of a prow of a boat. And we are reminded that this is an artist who did grow up around Maine boatyards. The Cornice Stool ended up in a California garden as seating, and a garden of succulents seems immediately sympathetic and appropriate.

Polished concrete.
18.5"H x 55"W x 24"D

Wendell Castle’s Table/Bench represented a second use of concrete in the show. Whereas Beer’s piece gave the illusion of sedimentary stone, Castle’s use of concrete, combined with polyurethane, produced a marble-smooth, stone-like substance. The elegantly smooth material suits the purpose of his lyrical, modernist sculpture. This Castle table/bench has, at once, furniture practicality, organic allusion as in tidal washed caves, and  the sure hand of a contemporary sculptor.

The Foyer Table by Andy Buck is a taller version of a table idea he originally introduced at side table height. Its three dimensional perspective produces a dynamic viewing from any approach. This is a balanced and sophisticated form from an experienced artist-craftsman and the added height makes the piece ideal for a foyer table. 
Foyer Table by ANDY BUCK
Poplar, cherry, paint, graphite.
31"H x 40”W x 16”D

This beautiful chest of drawers in figured makore is a study in quiet elegance by a gifted furniture maker, Tim Coleman. Standing back from the piece, its vertical progression tightens as it moves to the top. It does this in two ways: each drawer is progressively shallower than the one below, while the vertical stiles of the frame have a slight curve toward the center of the piece as they progress upwards. At the base, it is clear that the curve begins as a diagonal outward thrust. By the time the stile reaches the top of the drawers, it has assumed its role as a corner joint in the chest’s rectangular top. Note how the posts of the airy crown are set as a square projection from this point. This airy crown on the chest is a nice solution for our visual expectations. The progression last described leads one to the expectation of a crown and Coleman has produced a proportional, yet airy, exhibition space. It has enough height for small vases and the four posts lend a protective character.
Chest of Drawers by TIM COLEMAN
Figured makore; Drawers: Soft maple with eucalyptus bottoms, Brazilian rosewood pulls.
57.5"H x 23.5"W x 17"D

This concise and spare side table of John Dunnigan’s is embellished by the beautiful figure of lacewood and legs that descend to a foot exaggerated in its length. This attention to feet for a stylistic flourish goes back to Dunnigan’s Versailles tables of the early 1980s. Here, there is no sense of the grotesque in the use of exaggeration but the length of the foot appears elegantly within the whole. The chair also has continuity through a past long line of Dunnigan side chairs.  Familiar to us are the five-faceted, saber curved front legs which splay out in a 45-degree perspective and, also, the wide front apron that explodes from a narrow back. Lastly, the crown of the narrow back ends with a “scroll and spindle” finial. The table and chair were shown together and purchased by a client who had a use for a small writing table. 
29”H x 33”W x 15.5”D
Cherry, fabric.
34”H x 21”W x 20”D

Library Steps by DAVID EBNER
49”H x 19”W x 22”D

Hank Gilpin contributed three side tables to this anniversary show, two of which are pictured here. Both of the tables feature tops made quite distinct by unusual wood. The first table has a circular top of maple burl which adds organic distinction by allowing some of the circular edge to disappear into live edge; alternatively, it returns to a polished thumbnail edge as it completes its circular path. This burl cross-section is also a distinctive story of organic life.  The table’s simple curved four cherry legs are tied together mid-way with cross-bowed stretchers. The second table is surfaced with an unusual diamond shaped top of highly figured redwood: its distinctive detailed figure appears analogous to birds’-eye, but is still different. The top’s center is a puzzle-like combination of pieces with similar figure and is framed by a generous border. This small table has a nice visual tension with the sharp geometry of its diamond-shaped top which is contrasted with tapered post walnut legs.
Maple Burl, Cherry base.
22.25”H x 31.5”W x 31.5”D

Redwood, Walnut.
24”H x 31”W x 23”D

Charles River Blanket Chest by DUNCAN W. GOWDY
Maple, Stained Ash.
21”H x 39”W x 16”D

This austere rectangular chest by Duncan Gowdy provides a tableau for his carved and painted depiction of a section of the Charles River. That the painted panels are kept narrow suggests the long journey of the river itself.

The pair of American walnut side cabinets by Tom Hucker is stunning to see and best approached without expectation. They function in no normal manner but will intrigue the furniture connoisseur with the ingenuity of their closure and operation features. The doors slide to the side with hinged folding panels, while the internal vertical structure is kept rigid by spectacularly minimal posts. When the door panels are all the way open, a circular drawer can swing out from the top interior level. Closed, the cabinets are highlighted by a sequence of gently twisting curved panels which, in a nod to a Japanese sensibility, screens the interior but leaves a sense of openness.

Side Cabinets by THOMAS HUCKER
American Black Walnut.
24.5"H x 18"Diameter

Lattice Table by MICHAEL HURWITZ
Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Epoxy Resin.
30"H x 37"W x 37"D

The Lattice Table by Michael Hurwitz exhibits his especially adventuresome side in achieving creative solutions with new combinations of materials. The form of this table is clearly defined by the latticed pattern that makes up the plane surfaces. The lattice pattern itself has a tied ribbon effect composed of straight and bent elements of finely cut cedar. Running in a diagonal fashion through the plane surfaces of the table, the cedar pattern also provides the structural integrity for the flat plane. This use of delicately cut cedar was a novel solution for a rigid flat structure: the flat plane of the top, sides, and legs of the table. But Hurwitz’s creative ambition led him to fill this lattice with resin to harden, and then to be sanded and polished into a flat surface. This sounds relatively simple, like pouring Jell-O into a mold, but the reactions between the materials in the curing stage of the resin proved problematic, and it took many shop hours to find solutions. What is the pay off? Looking at the table, it’s immediately apparent: the mellow luminosity of all of the surfaces. The resin is warmer and softer to the touch than glass, and its friendliness is more compatible to that of a wooden table.

"Manzanar" by WENDY MARUYAMA
Angelique, fir, wire, image transfers, encaustic.
6"H x 48"W x 6"D

Wendy Maruyama’s Manzanar wall-hung cabinet is part of her EO 9066, a reference to the Executive Order by Franklin Roosevelt whereby tens of thousands of Japanese–Americans were sent to internment camps during World War II. The scale of this wall-hung cabinet is similar to the cabinets in her Turning Japanese series in 2000: in both series, the actual form of the cabinets is quite secondary to their narrative content. In this case, Maruyama’s commentary has to do with Manzanar, the World War II American internment camp in California where Americans of Japanese heritage were sent. Opening the The sliding doors of the cabinet reveal the rear panels section by section, which like a miniature mural, contain a transferred archival photographic image of the compound. Isolated barracks-like housing structures appear against a dark toned sky. To make the nature of this compound compellingly clear, Maruyama uses a single strand of wire strung through the interior to replicate the barbed wire confines of the camp. The sparseness of this element makes it all the more powerful. This is a piece that does not operate primarily on a decorative level; it's only upon inspection that its strength envelopes you.
Blue Pencil Mirror by ALPHONSE MATTIA
Hardwood Blue Pencils, mirror.
22"H x 22"W x 1.25"D

Alphonse Mattia’s Pencil Mirrors are a continuation of his witty mirror series that began in the early 1980s. From a distance, the frames have an almost Frank Stella appearance of a post-painterly color work. On closer inspection, however, the viewer is delighted to see that they are actually a composite structure made up of brightly colored number two pencils. Mattia’s simple technique of staggering the pencils created the optic dynamic through the brass and rubber elements of the erasers.
Yellow Pencil Mirror by ALPHONSE MATTIA
Earthwrite Pencils, mirror.
22"H x 22"W x 1.25"D

Cast Bronze.
34"H x 60"W x 12"D

You catch of glimpse of Judy McKie’s Tiger Table in the reflection of Mattia’s Yellow Pencil Mirror. This piece by McKie reasserted her strength in creating spirited animal figures in a way only suited to work in bronze. Observing the tiger, you are aware of its attitude immediately. Every gesture of this composition communicates with clarity an animal poised to challenge. The calligraphic mastery of line, the rounded curves of the under tucked tail, and the rounded cavern of the mouth are beautiful linear gestures, as well as unambiguous in their contained ferocity. The simplicity of the curve of the front legs feeds the tension of the tightly sprung curve of the rear. The tiger’s stripes, without being literal, identify the creature. This is a very strong piece that illustrates McKie’s ability to create emotional content without interrupting the fascination of an animal nature.
The Oval Cabinet by Brian Newell strikes one immediately with two features: the gorgeous East Indian rosewood panels that compose its closed front and, secondly, the elegantly tapered unusual oval cabinet form itself.  The cabinet is not a true oval.  The plan projection of its shape suggests a strongly squashed hexagon. That the six sides of this hexagon are pillowed creates the sense of an oval.  In truth, its narrow ends are defined by a single vertical line from leg to crown. Three panels across the front and three panels across the back create the need for six legs and six vertical stiles to support its tiara-like top. Visually, Newell creates a weighted base in two ways:  the legs define a slightly more shallow space than the vertical space of the top and the door panels themselves, become taller the lower their position in the cabinet. All in all, he has created an elegant cabinet form whose beauty is only heightened by the organic richness of the rosewood panels. And then, what a surprise when you open the cabinet door and discover the striking isu noki inside!
Oval Cabinet by BRIAN NEWELL
East Indian rosewood, wenge, isu noki.
47.5"H x 20"W x 10"D

Curly Maple, Ebony, Brass, Mother-of-Pearl.
38”H x 11.75”W x 3.5”D

The exhibition experience of Pritam & Eames was richly enhanced by Richard Newman’s furniture in the 1980s. He became identified with an inimitable style of panache by creating a contemporary neo-classical body of work that rejoiced in using the qualities of ebony, handsomely figured fruitwoods and other exotics, as well as embellishment with gold ormolu. By the ‘90s, he made his decision to place his work with the Peter Joseph Gallery in New York. The experience proved disappointing and he turned away from furniture making. It was only with repeated coaxing that he would return in the subsequent years to make furniture. He would make his beautiful foyer bench, child’s stool, demilunes, and a playful side chair. By the time of this exhibition, however, his enthusiasm had returned to the making of banjos which had been his consuming passion in the 1970s. The gallery was happy to exhibit one of his Holophonic banjos for the 30th anniversary show simply because it was a beautiful object made by one of the best craftsmen in the studio arts field. This work was received enthusiastically and broadly admired in the gallery by those with or without musical background. To think of it, what is a more iconic American musical instrument than the banjo? It strikes a deep chord with many people.

Big Chair with Ottoman by JAMES SCHRIBER
Bubinga, wool felt, leather.
Chair: 43"H x 27W x 29D
Ottoman: 15"H x 23 diameter

Knotted Branch Coffee Table by FRAN TAUBMAN
Forged & patinaed
17”H x 42.5”diameter

With Fran Taubman’s Knotted Branch Coffee Table entry, she returns once again to her hammer forged technique and the aesthetic that stems from her admiration of Edgar Brandt’s metalwork. Here the idea was to allow the branches to curve upwards from the pedestal formation into a flattened curve for the top surface, all lines radiating out to create a circular circumference of the top. The complexity of the branching detail that she worked out to create a top surface would support a wine glass. Her purpose was to avoid the deadness of a glass top. This was a work intensive piece that resulted not only in a useful table, but one exciting in the spring-back energy of its form.


Looking back through the period of this third decade, beyond the shops and studios of furniture makers, there were cyclical events underway that would change the outlook for the field. During the summer of 2008, there was a palpable anxiety in the air that foreshadowed the economic events that would take place that fall. Clients more closely in touch with financial circles were aware of the scary specters that hung over the future. Besides the recession that followed in 2009, there were other circumstances in play that affected the fragile health of the average artisan. Most of the collectors, whose support had made possible the sense of optimism during the gallery’s first two decades, had filled their furniture needs after years of collecting, and a new audience for studio furniture had not yet appeared. At the same time, there were architectural and decorative trends that did not favor studio furniture. The interior design media showed reinvigorated interest in modernist/minimalist ideas with their wide use of steel, glass, and other industrially produced materials, and seemed to turn away from the more organic nature of wood. In both architecture and interior design, there appeared to be no use for classical references. It is ironic that while artisanal food gained currency, interest in studio furniture seems to be waning. 

At this point, there are more than a few indicators to suggest that studio furniture is an historical movement. The growth of literature about studio furniture itself suggests that this decorative arts movement has reached a stage in its dialectic that makes it a proper subject for analysis and evaluation as an historical movement. Schools that were identified as centers for training the second generation of furniture makers in the mid to late 20th century shifted their emphasis from making to designing in the 21st century. In 2002, the American Craft Museum in New York changed its name and organizational purpose to become the Museum of Arts & Design. Concurrently, the secondary market was making its way from Arts & Crafts through the mid-20th century to contemporary pieces produced by studio furniture makers. However, the auction house is an unsentimental host and while values rose for some, like George Nakashima whose sheer volume of work (estimated to be more than 35,000 pieces over a lifetime) would enhance his secondary market sales, more than a few makers would find their work on the auction block selling for less than wholesale. Ironically, it will be the secondary market, and not the primary market, that will ultimately determine the value of studio furniture. In order to facilitate the evaluation of studio furniture, a new breed of professional appraiser must appear, like Bien Fait in Boston, upon whose expertise the evaluation of this 20th-21st century decorative arts period will rest.

With the predominant ideas currently in play in the interior design media, one has to turn to a magazine like Art & Antiques to find objects made with consummate craftsmanship. Normally, urban centers are good communication plazas for circulating ideas as well as seeing work firsthand. And while current trends can get in the way of connoisseurship, connoisseurship nonetheless exists, and furniture made by highly trained artist-craftsmen is a natural respondent/beneficiary. Who can tell when this waning cycle for studio furniture will begin its upward curve with new energy?  
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