The Furniture Society

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Founded in 1996, The Furniture Society is a membership based, tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 nonprofit corporation working to advance the art of furniture making by inspiring creativity, promoting excellence and fostering understanding of this art. The Society, based in Asheville, North Carolina, has an international membership comprising furniture makers, designers, educators, museum and gallery professionals, scholars, journalists, collectors, students and the interested public.[1]


Built on a tradition of volunteerism, the Society provides a range of programs including annual conferences, exhibitions, publications, scholarships and awards of excellence. All programming is guided by the Society’s core values: opportunity, education, inspiration, community and contribution.

The Society convenes an annual conference,[2] in locations across the United States and in Canada, usually in June. Past venues have included Purchase, New York (1997 and 2008), San Francisco, California (1998), Smithville, Tennessee (1999), Toronto, Ontario (2000), Tempe, Arizona (2001), Madison, Wisconsin (2002), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2003), Savannah, Georgia (2004), San Diego, California (2005), Indianapolis, Indiana (2006), Victoria, British Columbia (2007), Boone, North Carolina (2009), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2016), San Francisco, California (2018). Each conference offers keynotes, artists’ presentations, practical demonstrations, theoretical discussions and business improvement seminars.

Membership in the Furniture Society is open to all who have an interest in furniture.


The Furniture Society has sponsored several major exhibitions of studio furniture. These include:

Multiplicity: The art of the Furniture Prototype (2008) Show Us Your Drawers (2006) Curv-iture (2004) The Maker's Hand (2004, co-sponsored with The Museum of Fine Art, Boston) Cabinets of Curiosities (2003, co-sponsored with The Wood Turning Center) WilsonArt Invitational (2003, co-sponsored with WilsonArt) The Right Stuff (2002) The Circle Unbroken (1999) Contemporary North American Furniture (1997—invitational)

The Award of Distinction[edit]

The Society presents the Award of Distinction each year as a major event during the annual conference. This award recognizes artists, and occasionally others, who have had a profound impact in the field. Past recipients of the award, first given in 2001, are Art Carpenter, Wendell Castle, Tage Frid, James Krenov, Sam Maloof, John Makepeace, Jere Osgood, Alan Peters, Jonathan Leo Fairbanks, William Kaiser, Garry Knox Bennett, Judy McKie, Tommy Simpson, Michael Fortune, Wendy Maruyama, Walker Weed, Vladimir Kagan, Rosanne Somerson, and (in 2014) Bebe and Warren Johnson of Pritam & Eames.


Five biennial journals on Studio Furniture have been published by the Society, the most recent being Furniture Studio 5: The Meaning of Craft (130 pages, illustrated). These volumes offer essays on design, fabrication and history as well as a pictorial gallery of the finest work made from the 1990s on. The Society also publishes catalogs to accompany the major exhibitions of furniture that it has initiated or co-sponsored with leading institutions, and a quarterly print newsletter, Furniture Matters.


Woodshop News article
Wilsonart Exhibition notice
Fine Woodworking article
The Makers Hand (review)
American Association of Woodturners article
San Diego State University
Fine Woodworking article
Wilsonart Exhibition article
Woodshop News article
Southcoast Today article[full citation needed]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "A Society Dedicated To Furniture". Fine Woodworking Magazine. Retrieved 10 April 2006.
  2. ^ "Furniture Society has best-attended conference". Woodshop News. Retrieved 26 August 2004.