The Furniture Society hosts annual conference gatherings, offering attendees the chance to explore our field through inspirational talks and presentations from multidisciplinary practitioners, tours throughout our host cities, workshops, demonstrations, and fantastic networking and community building opportunities. Engage with this community of artists, thinkers, scholars, students, educators, curators, designers, writers and experience our field with multiple generations of craft and furniture practitioners from the global Furniture Society community.
Fundamentally, furniture exists to ready a space for occupancy or use. Its mere presence can signal the purpose of a space or invite a particular action. Its material, form, and surface design reveals a lot about how it is meant to be used, who made it, as well as provide a connection with the past, a culture, or idea. Recognizing the essential role that furniture fulfills in daily life and in society-at-large, the field of furniture wields tremendous potential to have a positive impact worldwide.
The Furniture Society is proud to present GROUNDWORK, the Society’s annual conference, held in partnership with The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD).
Over the course of three days, FS19: GROUNDWORK will center around the idea of ‘research’ or ‘where inspiration is drawn from’ through mainstage presentations, discussions, artist presentations, workshops, demonstrations, exhibitions, and an exhibition crawl. Participants will explore the idea that much research, or “groundwork” is needed in the field of furniture history and materials study in order for our makers to understand the underpinnings of our artform.
Topics will include historical, materials, and market-research as well as technique-driven presentations, and explorations into historic, contemporary, and emerging makers important to the studio furniture field.
As our world becomes increasingly digital. What is on the next horizon for the world of furniture and objects? How will makers, artisans, artists, sellers, and consumers interact differently and create in new ways? And what key tensions will lead to the next big opportunities?
From June 13 – 16, 2018, the Furniture Society explored these questions at Nexus: Perspectives on Art, Design, Craftsmanship and Technology in San Francisco. Through presentations, panels, interactive workshops, tours, “unconferences”, adventures, and informal social events, FS18 brought together the country’s most visionary designers, artisans, technologists, futurists, and entrepreneurs to illuminate, provoke, and inspire.
Attendees explored questions outside the traditional silos of making, selling, buying – probing the intersections between these parts, the tools we have available, and the emerging practices that hybridize our field. The answers affect everyone engaged with making, designing, creating, promoting, exploring, selling, and enjoying material culture.
The American Association of Woodturners (AAW) and The Furniture Society (FS) are parallel professional societies, each with a mission to help promote and educate their members and the public about object design and making, and associated tools and techniques.
FS and AAW presented a joint symposium in Kansas City, Missouri. Program sessions, demonstrations, exhibitions, keynote and award presentations, silent auction, and trade show were in the Kansas City Convention Center. It was a great opportunity for FS members to present their passion for furniture making to a larger audience, as well as to take advantage of AAW’s programs and demonstrations centered on turning.
Craft-facturing addresses a contemporary community of Makers who are socially engaged, collaborative and digitally savvy. New paradigms for making and production, sharing and distribution are emerging that both support and challenge the more traditional role of the craftsperson in our culture. The 2016 FS conference framed this moment in Philadelphia’s rich environment as a unique and vital site of past and future crafts activity.
Programming at conference aims to offer multiple perspectives. In recent years the programming has blended artist presentations with panel discussions on contemporary topics relevant to the studio furniture community and the conference theme. Presentations range greatly from technique driven topics to highlighting individual practices, such as historical or contemporary makers important to the studio furniture field and emerging makers presenting their talented approaches to studio design/build practices.
The Furniture Society proudly presented the FS15 Symposium at the American Tobacco Historic District (ATC) in Durham, NC
This two and a half day symposium focused on the theme of HOME to mark and celebrate the move of the Furniture Society’s home office to the American Tobacco Campus. As well, many of the Furniture Society members have businesses and design or build practices that align with the home environment or the notion of place making.
Local craftsmen and local materials have been at the heart of furniture making for most of its existence. With exploration of the globe came access to new materials, new techniques and new inspiration.
The wheel has turned — focus is returning to local resources. The local food movement has a powerful call — connecting the consumer with the farmer next door. As furniture makers we need to accept the local challenge and reconnect the consumer with craftsmen in their community and local sources of materials.
Every area has a distinct voice — climate and topography govern the woods available, history drives the narrative, each region has a palette of colours, local industries produce other materials. How do our creations reflect our communities and surroundings?
We’d like to challenge the current generation of makers to think about the local narratives and styles that we will pass on to future generations of makers. Can we create the dialog, styles and visions that will be the foundation for the future.
The 2012 Furniture Society Conference, “Design, Community & Sublime”, convened June 14 – 16 at the Maine College of Art in Portland, ME.
The 2010 Furniture Society Conference, Fusions: Minds & Hands Shaping Our Future, convened June 16 – 19 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.
Furniture 2009 was held in June 2009 at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Furniture 2008, State of the Craft, was held June 18 – 21, 2008 at Purchase College, NY (which was the site of the first Furniture Society conference).
Furniture 2007, “Cultural Mosaic: Reflections from the Coastal Rain Forest,” took place June 20 – 23, 2007, in Victoria, BC, Canada, hosted by the University of Victoria.
The ninth annual Furniture Society conference was held June 8th-11th, 2005, at San Diego State University,San Diego, California.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA has always been a hothouse of alternative design ever since the architect brothers of Greene and Greene first developed the “California Bungalow” in 1910. A warm temperate climate and the enchantment of the Pacific Ocean have lured artists and designers from around the world for over a century. It was in this context, a tradition of alternative thinking, that the organizers of the Ninth Furniture Society conference created programming and events.