2023 Award of Distinction Recipient
The Furniture Society is thrilled to announce Michael Puryear as the 2023 recipient of its coveted Award of Distinction. Michael’s award will be presented to him at a luncheon in his honor, June 10, at this year’s conference in New Orleans, LA - FS23: Making Spaces: How Place Shapes Production, Living, and Community. We hope you are able to join us and celebrate this extraordinary individual!
The Furniture Society is pleased to announce that Michael Puryear has been named the 2023 Award of Distinction honoree in recognition of his lifetime achievement in the studio furniture arts. Michael is a nationally recognized designer,furniture maker, and educator whose work has been exhibited at The Museum of Art and Design, The Mint Museum and the Peabody Essex, to name a few. His work can be found in many major collections — most recently the Smithsonian Museum of African-American Museum of History & Culture.
“Michael Puryear exemplifies the “ethical maker” of furniture, who has quietly advocated through his own example by producing subtle, elegant furniture for over 40 years. Emblematic of his influence is the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture acquisition of Puryear’s Dan Chair. Made from wood harvested from Monticello and Mt. Vernon, the design drawing upon forms from the West African Dan people, the chair acknowledges the cruel history of slavery while celebrating the contributions of unnamed African American craftsmen in the building of America. Through his work and his example, Michael powerfully expresses pride in his ancestry and speaks to the profound impact of African American makers on American culture.” ‑2023 AoD Jurors
Michael Puryear is a world-renowned, self-taught furniture-maker and unsung master in the field. His work has been published in Makers: A History of American Studio Craft published by the University of North Carolina Press and Furniture With Soul: Master Wood workers and their Craft published by Kodansha.
Flat Iron Coffee Table
Stand Up Desk
Learn more about Michael:
Michael Puryear: An Integrated Life by Nancy Hiller — Lost Art Press
Michael Puryear: Documentation in Design and Materials by Seph Rodney — American Craft Council
Contributions to the Award of Distinction program enhance The Furniture Society’s Educational Grants offering financial assistance to TFS members for professional development.
We hope you will consider supporting this worthy cause in Michael’s honor!