Award Of Distinction

About the Award of Distinction

In 2000, the Furniture Society’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a proposal to create an Award of Distinction that would recognize outstanding achievement and long standing commitment by an individual or institution to the advancement of the art of furniture making.  The Award was intended to strengthen the fabric of the Furniture Society's community by naming and celebrating its aesthetic and intellectual leaders.

Awards of Distinction

The Furniture Society is proud to announce two recipients of its coveted 2016 Award of DistinctionEdward (Ned) S. Cooke, Jr. and Thomas Hucker. Their awards will be presented at a luncheon ceremony on June 24 at the Furniture Society's 20th anniversary conference in Philadelphia. Jonathan Prown, Executive Director and Chief Curator of The Chipstone Foundation, Milwaukee, WI will present the award to Professor Cooke, and Kalle Fauset, furniture maker and principal of the 49 Harrison Street Studio in Hoboken, NJ will present the award to Thomas Hucker.

This year's jurors -- Wendy Maruyama, Brian Gladwell and Peter Korn - said this about the 2016 Award recipients: "The measure of Ned Cooke's contribution to studio furniture making are the ways in which his scholarship has transcended academic boundaries to shape how contemporary furniture makers have come to understand themselves within a cultural/historical context. He has informed the language we use and the ways in which our work finds meaning in the broader culture."

Thomas Hucker is honored because of "...his perseverance and brilliance, the excellence of his cumulative body of work, and his inexhaustible passion for exploring new ideas."

Bebe Johnson, chair of the Awards Program, said Ned Cooke and Tom Hucker will give a brief response after their awards have been presented at the Philadelphia conference.


Ned Cooke Photo credit- Michael Marsland
Ned Cooke
Photo credit- Michael Marsland
Thomas Hucker Photo credit- Jeannie Chung
Thomas Hucker
          Photo credit- Jeannie Chung

Background Notes:

The scholarly focus of Edward S. Cooke, Jr. [b.1954 in Orange, NJ), who is the Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University, New Haven, CT, is American material culture and decorative arts.  His work on modern craft includes his role as founding co-editor of The Journal of Modern Craft as well as his role as co-curator and co-author of six seminal exhibitions and accompanying catalogues on contemporary furniture:  New American Furniture (Museum of Fine Arts, 1989); Inspiring Reform: Boston's Arts and Crafts Movement (Davis Museum, Wellesley College, 1997); Wood Turning in North America Since 1930 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2001); The Maker's Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940-1990 (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2003); and Inspired by China: Contemporary Furnituremakers Explore Chinese Traditions(Peabody Essex Museum, 2006).  He also contributed to Furniture by Wendell Castle, with Joseph Giovannini and Davira Taragin, Founder's Society of the Detroit Institute of Arts, 1989).

In addition to his abundant publication record and breadth of scholarly investigation, Professor Cooke served as a two-term trustee of the Furniture Society during its early, formative years, and has spoken at many Furniture Society conferences since they began 20 years ago.

Thomas Hucker (b. 1955 in Bryn Mawr, PA) received his Certificate of Mastery from Boston University's Program in Artisanry in 1980. While in Boston, he also studied the Japanese tea ceremony, attending the Urasenke school from 1977 to 1980. In 1982 he was an artist-in-residence at Tokyo University of Fine Arts and, in 1989, he received a Fulbright grant to study interior and industrial design at Domus Academy in Milan, Italy.

Tom has taught at the Appalachian Center for Crafts, Smithville, TN; California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA; and in New York at the Parsons School of Design, the New York School of Interior Design, and in the Industrial Design department at Pratt Institute.

His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts & Design (formerly the American Craft Museum), New York, NY; the Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, NY: the Detroit Institute of Art; the Los Angeles County Museum; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; the Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI; and the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. His work has been featured in museum exhibitions like Inspired by China at the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, MA, in 2006; The Maker's Hand at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2004; and the seminal New American Furniture exhibition in 1989, also at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Award funds received in excess of the direct program costs will be made available to the Furniture Society’s Educational Grants program, which offers essential financial assistance to Society members for professional development or projects of an educational nature.

Past Award of Distinction honorees:

 warren_bebe_johnson rosanne_somerson john_cederquist vladimir_kagan
 Warren & Bebe Johnson
2014 joint honorees
 Rosanne Somerson
2012 honoree
John Cederquist
2010 honoree
 Vladimir Kagan
2009 honoree
wendy_maruyama walker_weed michael_fortune tommy_simpson
Wendy Maruyama
2008 honoree
 Walker Weed
2008 honoree
 Michael Fortune
2007 honoree
 Tommy Simpson
2006 honoree
judy_mckie garry_bennett william_kieser jonathan_fairbanks
 Judy Kensley McKie
2005 honoree
 Garry Knox Bennett
2004 honoree
 William Keyser
2003 honoree
 Jonathan Fairbanks
2003 honoree
 jere_osgood alan_peters john_makepeace  art_carpenter
Jere Osgood
2002 honoree
 Alan Peters
2002 honoree
 John Makepeace
2002 honoree
 Art Carpenter
2001 honoree
wendell_castle  tage_frid james_krenov sam_maloof
 Wendell Castle
2001 honoree
 Tage Frid
2001 honoree
 James Krenov
2001 honoree
  Sam Maloof
2001 honoree