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2023 Award of Distinction Recipient

Furni­ture Maker. Designer, Educator

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!

Michael Puryear Headshot

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.

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!