“Besides, what’s better than restoring antique furniture at Lie-Nielsen on the coast of Maine in fall?” Indeed.
Antique furniture is a portal to the past and these surviving artifacts are the keys to the fading artisanal knowledge of our furniture making forefathers. By being intimately acquainted with the ins and outs of the work of their hands, it’s almost as if we become their apprentices. We see the artisans in their work. As John Watson has put it, “our cultural ancestors… are manifest in the artifacts they left behind. The work of their hands is not only material inheritance, but an indicator of our identity as their creative spirit reverberates in ourselves.”
I can’t imagine trying to learn to recreate historic furniture without spending a lot of time working on the originals. My training was in conservation and all my furniture making knowledge grew out of time in the conservation studio. This is also true of the best makers today. Phil Lowe, Al Breed, Patrick Edwards…
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