The Furniture Society Board of Trustees consists of up to 22 members at any given time, as provided in the organization’s charter. Trustees serve for a term of 3 years, and may serve two consecutive terms. Candidates for openings on the board are considered by the Nominating Committee, and voted on by the full board. Trustees who have completed their term(s) usually continue to serve by invitation on the Advisory Board.
Officers of the board are elected by the full board and include President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. These officeholders form the Executive Committee. Retiring Presidents are invited to serve one additional active year on the board in the position of Past President.
The Board of Trustees is composed of member volunteers who give their time and experience to guide the Society in the fulfillment of its mission. Meetings of the full Board occur twice during the year. Any member of The Furniture Society is eligible to be considered for nomination as a Trustee.
Current Furniture Society Trustees
Officers are elected annually and constitute the organization’s Executive Committee.
Bart Niswonger is a furniture maker in western Massachusetts. His work explores complex surface pattern and texture, employing techniques from hand carving to computer controlled routing as well as a broad range of materials. He received the John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship in 2011, and has been a member of The Furniture Society since 2004.
Maggie Sasso received her BFA in woodworking and metalsmithing from Murray State University in 2006. During this time she served as Student Representative on the Board of Trustees for the Furniture Society. In 2010 she received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin — Madison where she made many bodies of work, including the Mobile Museum of Material Culture, a collaborative grant funded project featured in a documentary. In Fall 2010 she taught at the Oregon College of Art and Craft for one semester in the woodworking department, and worked as a visiting artist. In 2011 she moved to Milwaukee, WI where she received a Mary L. Nohl Fellowship and works at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design where she is the Sewing Lab Technician and teaches adjunct in the foundations, new studio practice and industrial design departments.
Sarah Marriage lives and works in Baltimore, MD where she is the founder and director of A Workshop of Our Own, a non-profit educational woodshop created by and for women and gender non-conforming individuals, with a mission to provide training, advocacy and opportunity for people underrepresented by gender in the field of furniture making and woodworking. Sarah studied architecture at Princeton University and fine woodworking at The College of the Redwoods (now The Krenov School). She is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Furniture Society. She has been a visiting artist at Herron School of Art & Design, a studio fellow at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, and a John D Mineck furniture fellow. She has taught at The Krenov School, Penland School of Craft, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Haystack Mountain School of Craft. Sarah’swork has shown at galleries and trade shows across the US, including juried exhibitions within Dwell on Design (CA), ICFF (NY), the American Craft Council Show (MD), and Pritam & Eames Gallery (NY).
Kathy Sharp is owner of Keystone Professional Solutions and a longtime volunteer with the Furniture Society. She is married to Alf Sharp, a furniture maker, former board member, and past president. Many will know Kathy from her activities organizing the Silent Auction at conferences.
Trustees are elected for three-year terms and may be re-elected to a second three-year term.
Meg Bye (She/Her) is an artist based in Seattle, WA. Bye’s interest in fine art and woodworking started at an early age eventually leading her to study sculpture, conservation and business. With her early career balanced between museum collections and arts fabrication Bye eventually accumulated her knowledge to strike out on her own. In 2014, Bye founded Knot & Burl Studios, a sculpture and fine furnishings company in Seattle, WA. At Knot & Burl Studios (KBS), Bye works collaboratively with designers, architects and patrons to create one of a kind art pieces, each tailored to the philosophy and needs of the location.
Bye’s large scale, site specific installations blend traditional craft knowledge with modern refinement to create contemporary, sculptural environments. Bye considers herself a link in the lineage of traditional heritage makers and strives to carry and share the skills and knowledge passed to her through the work teaching and creating. Working in wood, metal, leather, glass and organically sourced materials, Bye describes her work as living in the space where architecture and sculpture meet. Her work can be found in public and private collections throughout the United States. Bye is an advocate for cultural growth that empowers artists within the maker/arts fields. knotandburlstudios.com
Michael Jean Cooper was born in Richmond, California in 1943 and grew up in Lodi, California. Mike holds a B.A. in Commercial Art and M.A. in Sculpture from San Jose State College, as well as a M.F.A in Sculpture from U.C. Berkeley. He taught Furniture Design, Sculpture, and 3D Design as an Instructor of Art for 34 years at Foothill-DeAnza College in Cupertino, CA, retiring in 2004.
During his professional career Michael has been honored with numerous awards and fellowships. Michael has participated in multiple one-man and group shows and is represented in various publications as well as private and public collections. He currently lives in Sebastopol, California where he works daily in his studio adjacent to his home. He typically works in wood and metal or a combination of both, combining organic and geometric forms with kinetic elements.
Forest Dickey initially came to the Board as the Student Representative, and also served as the Vice President of the Board.
Karen Ernst is a Professor in the Art Department at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, where she has been teaching woodworking and furniture design since 2004. Originally from East Aurora, NY, she received a B.A. in Studio Art from SUNY Geneseo, and her M.F.A in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. She maintains an active studio practice, exhibiting the furniture and sculptural objects she makes across the U.S. She has been a member of the Furniture Society since 2002.
Reuben is a passionate object maker and has taught at art/craft centers across the country. These schools include the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and Penland School of Crafts. He has been a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, San Diego State University, and Cuyamaca College in California. He currently teaches full-time and is the Chair of the Woodworking Manufacturing Technologies Department at Cerritos College, the largest woodworking career technical education facility on the West Coast. He maintains a studio practice as one of the makers at Allied Woodshop in the Fashion District of Los Angeles.
Kathryn Hall is Curator at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) in Houston, Texas, where she is responsible for developing and overseeing exhibitions and related programming. She previously served as the Windgate Curatorial Fellow at HCCC from 2012 to 2015. Kathryn received a BA in Art History from Wofford College and an MA in Art History from the University of Georgia. She is a scholar of contemporary craft and material culture.
Adam John Manley was born and raised in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York. His Father was a carpenter and boat builder, and his mother a weaver. After attending SUNY New Paltz, in New York’s Hudson Valley, where he received a BA in International Relations and Political Science, Adam fell in love with woodworking and furniture making. After college, he and a small group of craft-based artists started a small gallery and cooperative studio, in Kingston New York called “the Firehouse”. Adam Received his MFA in Furniture and Woodworking from San Diego State University in 2012, where he focused his work on sculptural objects using furniture as a point of departure. The work explores the relationship between people, places, and objects. Since receiving his MFA, Adam has exhibited nationally from San Diego to Maine, including shows at Space Gallery in Portland Maine, The Hunterdon Museum in Clinton New Jersey, The Oceanside Museum in Oceanside California, UW Madison’s galleries, and the Kipp Gallery in Indiana Pennsylvania.
Head of the Wood/Furniture Design Area and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Craft/Material Studies, at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of the Arts (VCUarts) from 2012 – 2019, Heath Matysek-Snyder is an object maker whose multi-faceted studio practice
incorporates woodworking, furniture, design and sculpture. Earning his BFA from VCUarts in 2000 and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004, Heath has been an Artist-in-Residence at San Diego State University, Designed Objects Tasmania; Hobart, Australia, the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University; Shanghai, China, and has participated at the Emma International Collaboration, in Ness Creek, Saskatchewan.
Jennifer-Navva Milliken is the Artistic Director for The Center for Art in Wood. Prior to her arrival at the Center, she served as an embedded staff member in international art museums, as an independent curator, and as the founder of a cross-disciplinary art space. Her exhibitions have been presented in museums, art fairs, galleries, and unconventional spaces, and her writings have been seen in exhibition catalogues, anthologies, and publications that investigate and critique the intersecting fields of art, craft, and design. With a global perspective, honed through a life split between two continents, she is driven by the extraordinary power of the arts to challenge preconceptions and bridge divides.
Sylvie Rosenthal received her BFA from The Rochester Institute of Technology, Woodworking and Furniture Design Program in the School for American Crafts, built two houses from the ground up with her mentor Doug Sigler, and received her MFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. Sylvie has been routinely invited as a visiting artist, teacher, and researcher to many degree and non-degree granting institutions around the world. She has shown nationally at galleries and museums such as The Fuller Craft Museum (MA), The Mint Museum (NC), and the Museum of Art and Design (NYC). Currently, Sylvie maintains a studio practice making furniture on commission, production work for sale online, and sculpture dealing with the intersecting flight patterns of the histories of trade, the intentional and unintentional transplantations that come with it, hybridity, materiality, queer theory, and the natural world.
Sylvie recently finished her service on the board of trustees of CERF+, the Artists’ Safety Net, which helps artists build strong and resilient careers. When Sylvie isn’t doing the above, you might find her on her bike, teaching woodworking to kids, or traveling somewhere, but more likely, in her studio.
Norman Teague is a Chicago based artist, designer and educator who focuses on the complexity of urbanism and the culture of communities. Teague prides himself for working within communities that offer ethical returns and human centered exchanges. Teague has worked on exhibitions at The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Documenta 13, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago Architecture Center & Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Teague holds an MFA in Designed Objects from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and a BA in Product Design from Columbia College Chicago. He was awarded the Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists in 2015 and is presently a creative collaborator in association with the exhibition design team of Ralph Applebaum & Associates (NY) and Civic Projects for the Obama Presidential Center.
Aside from his normal making practice, he and Fo Wilson, his partner in blkHaUS studios, work on collaborative projects in the South Shore area of Chicago. Teague works with partners to highlight careers in design, arts and crafts and pedagogy within the south side to increase the populations of color to have access to the design industry, while creating viable outlets for making in all capacities.
Sarah Turner is an artist and educator trained in the Northwest, refined in the Midwest and now based in Boston. She is the President of North Bennet Street School.
As an educator, working from both the office and the studio, Sarah has also worked at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and the State University of New York at New Paltz. As the Dean at Cranbrook, Sarah directed the Academic Programs of the Academy and established a Critical Studies + Humanities residential teaching fellowship. She has lectured widely, regularly serves as a guest critic, and has organized exhibitions on contemporary applied art in the US and abroad. In 2005, Sarah was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to the Netherlands to research Dutch contemporary applied art.
In addition to her work in education, Sarah maintains a low-production studio. Her work has been included in exhibitions nationally and internationally.
Sarah has been a volunteer and advisor for a variety of organizations, including the Southeast Michigan Fulbright Association, the Vermont YWCA, the Art Jewelry Forum, the Society of North American Goldsmiths, and the International (dis)Organization of Recent Art-Graduates Applying for Teaching and Grants [I(d)RAGTAG].
Esther Cho (She/Her) received her dual BFA in Interior Design and Craft/Material Studies (with a concentrating in woodworking) from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2017 and is expected to receive her MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 2022. She employs a discipline in woodworking and papermaking to seek a place where Korean and Western craft traditions merge to communicate the concepts of self-identification, cultural disconnect, and the loss of lineage. She has been awarded the 2017 Windgate Fellowship Award and traveled to South Korea to study traditional Korean papermaking techniques and its related arts. Instagram: estherjihyecho
Ryan Zimmerman is a second-year graduate student at the Rochester Institute of
Technology, in the Furniture Design program. Born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, he
received his BFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 2017, with a
concentration in Wood/Furniture Design and minors in printmaking and sculpture.
Leaving undergrad, he completed an internship at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in the
furniture program. His work explores the archetype of furniture, while questioning its
functionality. Currently working with both wood and clay, the forms he generates are
designed and built considering systems of repetition and progression, as well as
material limitations and ambiguity. rzimmermanwoodwork.com
The Furniture Society Advisory Board provides advice and counsel to the Board of Trustees.
- Ronald Abramson
- Glenn Adamson
- Mark Bench
- Sylvia Bennett
- Bonnie Bishoff
- Scott Braun
- Martha Connell
- Edward S. Cooke. Jr.
- Paula Cooperrider
- Stephen B. Crump
- Deborah Levin Daniell
- Linda Sue Eastman
- Dennis FitzGerald, Past President
- David Fleming
- Amy Forsyth
- Michael Fortune
- Gail Fredell
- Rachel Fuld, Past President
- Brian Gladwell, Past President
- Andy Glantz, Past President
- Miguel Gomez-Ibanez, Past President
- Marc Grainer
- Peter Handler
- Michael Hosaluk
- Ursula Ilse-Neuman
- Bebe Pritam Johnson
- Janet Kardon
- Jack Larimore
- Po Shun Leong
- Kern Maass
- Wendy Maruyama
- Craig Nutt
- Aimee Pickett
- Andy Pitts
- Mike Podmaniczky
- Richard Prisco
- Gabriel Romeu, Past President
- Rosanne Somerson
- Bernice Wollman