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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

Offi­cers are elected annu­ally and consti­tute the orga­ni­za­tion’s Executive Committee.

Joined 2018

Karen Ernst

Board President
Edinboro, PA

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.

K Hall
Joined 2020

Kathryn Hall

Vice President
Houston, TX

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.

https://​kathrynfhall​.com/

Abby Mechanic
Joined 2021

Abby Mechanic

Secretary
Matawan, NJ

Abby Mechanic received her BFA from the Maine College of Art with a concen­tra­tion in Wood­work­ing and Furni­ture Design. Upon grad­u­at­ing she has spent time working in various design studios such as Luur Design, Nate Berkus, and Matter Prac­tice. In 2015, Mechanic began working at Parsons as a Tech­ni­cian in their wood­work­ing facil­ity. Since then she has assisted in the 2015 New School Archi­tec­ture Design/​Build, and has most recently been appointed the posi­tion of Manager of the Making Center at Parsons. Abby is now working closely with upper manage­ment to imple­ment admin­is­tra­tive support for staff hiring, sched­ul­ing, and commit­tee work. She works with Direc­tors as well as Manage­ment to align Making Center objec­tives across all shops, labs, and facil­i­ties, by creat­ing systems and support. Outside of Parsons, Mechanic currently leads spoon carving work­shops across the country in spaces such as Fort Houston in Nashville, TN and The Wing in New York, NY.

https://​www​.abbyme​chanic​.com/

Leonard Headshot
Joined 2022

Zeke Leonard

Treasurer
Syracuse, NY

Zeke Leonard is the Asso­ciate Direc­tor of the Syra­cuse Univer­sity School of Design, as well as being the coor­di­na­tor of the School of Design’s First Year Expe­ri­ence. His research involves the role of social respon­si­bil­ity and envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship in contex­tu­ally-rele­vant design and fabri­ca­tion prac­tices. Central to his work is the re-purpos­ing of discarded mate­ri­als and objects in ways that inspire conver­sa­tion and call commu­ni­ties to action. Zeke regu­larly part­ners with commu­nity groups and orga­ni­za­tions to find ways to put local resources to better use. 

He has written about his research-based design prac­tices in The Inte­rior Archi­tec­ture Theory Reader’ (Rout­ledge, Gregory Marinic, Ed.), and has published in jour­nals as varied as Int/​AR: Inter­ven­tion and Adap­tive Reuse and Anthro­pol­ogy News. He previ­ously taught at RISD and NYU, and is a regular visit­ing instruc­tor at insti­tu­tions includ­ing the Haystack Moun­tain School of Craft and the Arrow­mont School of Arts and Crafts. Exam­ples of his wood work are in the collec­tions of the Worker’s Arts and Heritage Society in Hamil­ton, Ontario, The Mystic Seaport Museum, and the Maine Culi­nary Archive. Zeke holds an MFA in Furni­ture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA in Set Design from the Univer­sity of North Carolina School of the Arts.

https://​zekeleonard​.com/​h​ome.h…

Trustees

Trustees are elected for three-year terms and may be re-elected to a second three-year term.

Joined 2018

Adam Manley

Past President
San Diego, CA

Adam John Manley is currently Assis­tant Profes­sor of Furni­ture Design and Wood­work­ing at San Diego State Univer­sity, and has taught full time at Maine College of Art and UMass Dart­mouth, and as adjunct at Univer­sity of New Hamp­shire. He has also taught exten­sively at Haystack Moun­tain School of Craft and in the summer of 2019 at Penland School of Craft. Adam has done resi­den­cies at UW Madison, where he was the Windgate Artist in Resi­dence, the Haystack Open studio Resi­dency, and the Lanes­boro resi­dency in South­ern Minnesota. He is looking forward to an upcom­ing resi­dency at the Center For Art in Wood as a summer 2021 ITE fellow. Adam was born and raised in the Adiron­dack moun­tains of New York State, and attended the SUNY New Paltz, receiv­ing a degree in Polit­i­cal science and Inter­na­tional rela­tions. During this time, Adam fell in love with wood­work­ing, found­ing a coop­er­a­tive studio and gallery with a group of friends in Kingston, in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley. Having been Raised by a weaver and a boat builder/​carpenter, working with one’s hands came natu­rally to Adam. After working for several years as a furni­ture maker, and hoping to deepen his connec­tions between making and ideas, Adam moved to San Diego Cali­for­nia, where he received his MFA in Furni­ture Design and Wood­work­ing. In grad­u­ate school, Adam devel­oped a unique voice that blended func­tional construc­tion method­olo­gies, mate­r­ial explo­ration, and a focus on the concep­tual poten­tial embod­ied within craft, furni­ture, and func­tional famil­iar objects. Since grad­u­ate school, Adam has taught at numer­ous insti­tu­tions, from colleges to craft schools, and contin­ued to develop his ideas and work in an ever-evolv­ing way. Adam’s work has addressed issues relat­ing to our unique sense of place and how famil­iar func­tional objects link us to that sense, humor, indi­vid­ual and univer­sal rela­tion­ships to furni­ture, and, more recently, the rela­tion­ship between furni­ture and the histor­i­cal objects used to inflict violence on others through­out time. This work is currently Adam’s focus and is expand­ing from an initial small solo exhi­bi­tion at the Indi­anapo­lis Art Center. Adam is the co-founder, along with colleague Keri­anne Quick, of the contem­po­rary craft zine/​journal, CRAFT DESERT.

Joined 2020

Joshua Enck

Rochester, NY

Joshua Enck (born 1977) is a sculp­tor, designer, drafts­man, and illus­tra­tor who teaches and main­tains an active studio prac­tice in Rochester, New York. He trained as an archi­tect and a furni­ture designer, receiv­ing his MFA in furni­ture design from the Rhode Island School of Design and his BSAS from the School of Archi­tec­ture at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois. He taught for ten years at RISD: drawing, three-dimen­sional design, tech­ni­cal drawing, wood­work­ing, and metal­work­ing. He has also taught wood­work­ing at the Ander­son Ranch Arts Center and drawing at the Univer­sity of Illi­nois, Williams College, and the Univer­sity of Rochester. Joshua has exhib­ited his work in solo shows at Simon Gallery, the Univer­sity of Maine Museum of Art, and Space Gallery. The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, the Society of Arts and Crafts in Boston, and the Center for Art in Wood in Philadel­phia have honored his work. Joshua recently returned from five months in India as a Fulbright Nehru Scholar, research­ing tradi­tional metal­smithing and teach­ing at the Sushant School of Design.

https://​www​.joshuaenck​.com/

Joined 2022

Don Miller

Philadelphia, PA

Don Miller is a Philadel­phia wood­worker and educa­tor. He holds a BA in German from the Univer­sity of Kansas and an MFA in 3D Design from the Univer­sity of Wiscon­sin- Madison. He attended the London College of Furni­ture Early Stringed Instru­ment program. Miller retired as an Asso­ciate Profes­sor in Craft + Mate­r­ial Studies at the Univer­sity of the Arts in 2020 and was previ­ously a Lecturer in Furni­ture Design at Rhode Island School of Design. He has also taught classes at Ander­son Ranch Arts Center in Snow­mass, CO and Steneby Skolan, Dals Langed Sweden and served as visit­ing artist at San Diego State Univer­sity and Herron School of Art and Design. He has been a resi­dent artist at Steneby and Dong A Univer­sity in Busan, South Korea. Miller’s work has been shown in national and inter­na­tional venues. He main­tains a studio/​workshop in German­town, PA.

Katie Thompson
Joined 2019

Katie Thompson

Eutawville, SC

Katie Thomp­son is an inde­pen­dent artist, author, creative consul­tant and speaker based outside of Charleston, SC. She is a disabled mother of two, and wife and partner to fine furni­ture­maker Joseph Thomp­son. They live and work out of their home and shop in the swamps of the Lowcountry.

Katie’s work as Design Partner with Joseph Thomp­son Wood­works has been featured in publi­ca­tions such as Furni­ture & Cabi­net­mak­ing maga­zine, Charleston Maga­zine, and has been exhib­ited widely at craft shows, Museums, and galleries. She is also an instruc­tor at the Charleston Woodworking School.

In 2013 Katie started Black Swamp as a line of natu­rally inspired hand­crafted jewelry, art, home décor and acces­sories made using recy­cled wood offcuts from the furni­ture making process. 

Her ongoing project the Women of Wood­work­ing series features some of the craft’s most talented arti­sans from around the globe. A prolific writer, Katie is the author of a 2016 children’s book Little Beaver Builds a Bed and is currently working on a second children’s book project (2019). Her latest project, Pen & Chisel, a monthly digital journal for wood­work­ers, artists, and makers launched, explor­ing orig­i­nal stories from change-making voices in the craft and trades. 

Katie is proudly disabled and lives with multi­ple neuro­log­i­cal condi­tions. She suffered a spinal cord injury at the age of 18 and expe­ri­enced compli­ca­tions with surgery and contracted bacte­r­ial menin­gi­tis. She received a spinal fusion a few years later and now has eight tita­nium screws and two rods support­ing her thoracic and lumbar spine. She went on to grad­u­ate from the College of Charleston in 2009 with a B.A. in Commu­ni­ca­tions with a focus on Commu­ni­ca­tion Theory. Katie uses her chronic health condi­tions to make a posi­tive impact by advo­cat­ing and sharing her expe­ri­ences with others.

https://​ktthomp​son​.com/

Sarah Turner
Joined 2020

Sarah Turner

Boston, MA

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].

https://​www​.sarah​turn​er​pro​jects​.com/

https://​www​.nbss​.edu/

Joined 2019

Ryan Zimmerman

Rochester, NY

Ryan Zimmer­man is a recent grad­uate of 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. rzim​mer​man​wood​work​.com


Student Representatives

Cleo Lewis
Joined 2022

Cleo Lewis

Richmond, VA

Cleo Lewis was born and raised in Cary, North Carolina and spent time in Alexan­dria, Virginia and Accra, Ghana. Their natural sense of creativ­ity and inqui­si­tion lead them to pursu­ing a BFA in Sculp­ture and a minor in Craft at Virginia Common­wealth Univer­sity. While at VCU they fell in love with the medium of wood. They now make sculp­tural furni­ture that explores the inter­sec­tion of black femi­nin­ity in an attempt to connect with others that share this inter­sec­tion of iden­ti­ties. Much of their work has been influ­enced by ideas and prac­tices of femi­nin­ity in the places they have grown up.

Jan Rybczynski
Joined 2022

Jan Rybczynski

Providence, RI

Jan Rybczyn­ski (yawn rib-chin-ski, he/​him/​his) is a multi-disci­pli­nary artist currently enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design study­ing Furni­ture Design with a concen­tra­tion in Nature, Culture, and Sustain­abil­ity Studies. Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Jan holds a deep appre­ci­a­tion for the beauty within the natural world in all of its subtle complex­ity. Span­ning across furni­ture, sculp­ture, and beyond, his work is inspired by the phys­i­cal attrib­utes of the nine biomes of Earth and the beings which inhabit them, and employs mate­ri­als that lend them­selves to the crafts­man­ship and phys­i­cal process required to work them. His result­ing work provokes the limits of mate­r­ial and process, drawing out the harmo­nious rela­tion­ship between craft and the inher­ent beauty of the envi­ron­ment. Through contin­ued explo­ration, Jan aims to build a sustain­able prac­tice which meshes mate­r­ial, process, and historical/​cultural context — a struc­ture which will allow him to create work while treat­ing the envi­ron­ment with kind­ness and respect, make room for the life­long study of craft, and explore modal­i­ties of service and commu­nity within and around his work.