News is a place to check in and see what's happening within The Furniture Society.  We post updates here for members and the public to let you all know what we're doing!

Craft for a Greater Good

In conjunction with FS 19, The Furniture Society will be building a bench for the city of Milwaukee's Victory over Violence park! Join in on the fun of creating this bench, designed by Award of Distinction recipient Tom Loeser, at any point during the conference. It's a chance to get hands-on in the shop with friends, and all for a greater good.

The Furniture Society has partnered with two local organizations: HOME GR/OWN an initiative working to transform neighborhoods in Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) Teen Internship Program, connecting teens with practicing artists to address issues important to their community. During the span of the conference, attendees will use unique and surprising materials to construct benches designed by Madison, Wisconsin artist, Tom Loeser, for the Victory Over Violence park. Along with Heather McCalla and Heath Matysek-Snyder, local Milwaukee artist Christopher Brooks will help facilitate the construction of the project during the conference. Work begun during the conference will continue to be worked on by teens in the MAM program, completing the bench build-out and developing engaging signage describing the process and impact this project has on the park. The benches will be installed in time for the Bronzeville week celebrations in early August (3rd-10th).

See the details in the FS 19 conference pages

AOD Award Design Winner

May 6, 2019

The Furniture Society is pleased to congratulate Fred Rose, the winner of our inaugural Award of Distinction Trophy Design Contest. Rose was chosen to create the Trophy to be presented to the Award of Distinction honorees for the next 3 years. Our winner was selected by esteemed jurors Wendy Maruyama and Monica Obniski from a competitive pool of talented applicants. The jurors would like to thank all who applied and applaud their creativity.

Join us for the big reveal, when the trophy will be presented to this year’s honoree, Tom Loeser, at the Award of Distinction luncheon taking place on Saturday, June 22 during our upcoming conference FS19: Groundwork: Inspiration, Intersections, and Experimentation of Furniture Practice (June 19-22, 2019 in Milwaukee, WI).

Download or View the complete Press Release (PDF format).

EFASO Winners Announced!

March 5, 2019 -- The Furniture Society proudly announces the winners of the inaugural
program, EFASO (Exhibiting Furniture and Sculptural Objects).

The EFASO program aims to emphasize and encourage exhibitions of quality furniture at the national level by defraying transportation costs for individual US-based furniture artists and exhibiting institutions.

This year’s Individual winners are:

Jason Schneider, Marquette, MI creates functional and sculptural furniture from corrugated cardboard. He will be exhibiting furniture in response to a specific iconic Bauhaus piece in “100 Years of Bauhaus,” a show curated by Brad Reed Nelson at The Launchpad, a community “space for the arts,” in Carbondale, CO, opening June 7, 2019.

Jordan Waraksa , Milwaukee, WI, combines his loves for sculpture and the violin in his furniture. His work will be exhibited amongst other artists who break design boundaries during NYC’s NEXT LEVEL 2019 in New York, NY May 16 - May 23, 2019. NEXT LEVEL will make its NYCxDESIGN debut as an art and design experience showcasing new pieces from an impressive roster of designers that break boundaries and push design to the ‘next level.’

This year's Institutional winners are:

Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI, holds the largest contemporary craft collection in North
America. RAM will present an anniversary showcase honoring the 1969 traveling exhibition, “Objects: USA,” the seemingly first time contemporary craft was displayed in fine art museums. RAM presents “Objects: Redux”, featuring original work from the 1969 exhibition, on view September 21, 2019 - January 5, 2020.

The Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia, PA, promotes and preserves the art of woodworking through its extensive research library, art collection, collaborative residences, and exhibitions. The exhibition, “Womens’ Work: Transforming Contemporary Woodworking” will be on view from October 4, 2019 - January 18, 2020. Curated by Phoebe Kuo, Laura Mays, and Dierdre Visser, this exhibition marks the centennial of women’s suffrage in the United States and specifically spotlights the contribution of
women to the history of woodworking.

The Center for Art in Wood, Philadelphia, PA, will be exhibiting the work of Tom Loeser in the exhibition, “Tom Loeser: Please, Please, Please”, on view from November 6, 2020 - January 23, 2021. Loeser has a playful approach to fine woodworking, combining George Nakashima-like slab pieces with untraditional leg and back supports, and encourages the audience to interact with his work. Loeser sparks conversation on the relationship between people and the furniture we interact with on a daily basis.

If you would like more information about the EFASO Program, please contact Jessica Baldenhofer, Interim Director of Education, via



Letters From Bart and Brigitte

February 1, 2019 - These letters from TFS President Bart Niswonger and outgoing TFS Executive Director Brigitte Martin mark an important Society staff transition, effective February 1, 2019. Along with Bart and the Board of Trustees, the members of the Furniture Society Communications Committee sincerely thank Brigitte for her efforts on behalf of the organization, and wish her great success in her new position. - Ed. 

Fellow Furniture Society Members, and devotees of all things furniture -

I am writing on behalf of the Board of Trustees to inform you that Brigitte Martin is leaving the Furniture Society to pursue another opportunity. We appreciate all she has done for the FS, and wish her luck!

As a board we have been clear that there is value to having an interim period rather than immediately seeking a permanent Executive Director.  An interim period allows us time to reflect as an organization and consider who we are and where we want to go before we seek someone to lead us there. (more…)

Garry & Sylvia Bennett in ACM

Congratulations to Sylvia and Garry Knox Bennett on being featured in the most recent American Craft Magazine issue. The article “Relationship Goals” appears in the magazine’s MASTER issue on pages 72-79 and showcases the Bennetts’ beautiful living quarters and art collection in Oakland, CA, as well as their signature brand of humor.


The couple was interviewed by Brigitte Martin, The Furniture Society‘s executive director and American Craft Magazine’s Editor at Large.

Thomas Hucker – ACC Fellow

The Furniture Society is proud to announce that Thomas Hucker, our 2016 Award Of Distinction recipient, has been elected a Fellow of the American Craft Council. Congratulations!

Since 1975, the ACC has recognized individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the craft field in the United States by awarding the distinction of Fellow of the Council, known collectively as the College of Fellows. Nominated and selected by a committee of their peers, the College of Fellows is one of the ACC's highest honors.

The award ceremony will take place October 6, 2018, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art in Minneapolis, MN.

Click here for tickets to the event


On August 6, 2018, Furniture Society Executive Director Brigitte Martin announced the start of EFASO (Exhibiting Furniture and Sculptural Objects), a new Furniture Society membership benefit.

The Furniture Society’s goal is to emphasize and encourage exhibitions of quality furniture at
the national level in furtherance of the organization’s mission to “foster an understanding of the artform and its place in society.” EFASO aims to directly address one of the biggest hurdles furniture-makers and exhibition venues face, the high cost of shipping, which effectively prevents the exhibition of furniture in many, if not most cases.

In 2018-2020 EFASO will:

● Defray transportation costs for 15 individual US-based furniture artists,
● Defray transportation costs for three major US-based exhibiting organizations,
● Create an independent jurying committee to oversee the selection of artists and venues
for the EFASO program,
● Create a new paid internship position at the Furniture Society to help oversee and
manage the EFASO program under the direction of the Education Director.

Outcomes of the EFASO initiative will include: increased numbers of furniture exhibitions,
furthering The Furniture Society’s national advocacy role, growing the organization’s
membership numbers, and raising the next generation of qualified art administrators who have an understanding of furniture art and its specific exhibition needs.

The Furniture Society gratefully acknowledges the John and Robyn Horn Foundation for important financial support for the EFASO program.

If you would like more information about the EFASO program, please contact Monica Hampton, Director of Education, via

Furniture Society seeks EFASO intern

The Furniture Society seeks to hire a paid intern to work with the Director of Education to
administer the EFASO (Exhibiting Furniture and Sculptural Objects) program initiative in
2018 and 2019. See the position posting here.

Interview With Forest Dickey

Geoff McKonly, of the Furniture Society Communications Team, spoke recently with outgoing Furniture Society President Forest Dickey about his work, his company (Varian Designs) and his involvement with The Furniture Society. The following is a transcript of their conversation.

GM: How long have you been a member of The Furniture Society?

FD: My involvement with The Furniture Society started a while ago. I was a student representative to the board about 10 years ago. I served a term in that capacity, 2006-2007, and then took some time off from board duties and was a participant in several committees, and then was asked to come on to the board about six years ago. I’m approaching the end of my second of two three-year terms. (more…)

The Wood Artist: Creating Art Through Wood

The Wood Artist: Creating Art Through Wood

A new book by Furniture Society member Norman Pirollo. “I have been a Furniture Society member for years and have been greatly inspired by fellow makers in the Furniture Society. So it is my turn to share my journey and experience and hopefully inspire other makers.”


Brigitte Martin Named New Executive Director at The Furniture Society

Brigitte Martin Named New Executive Director at The Furniture Society

The Furniture Society is pleased to announce the hiring of Brigitte Martin as its new Executive Director. She will officially assume the position on November 1, 2017, and joins at an exciting time as the Society embarks on a new era of growth and renewal.

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead this interesting, vital organization,” said Martin. “I am excited to support The Furniture Society’s mission to advance and promote the art of furniture making. I look forward to working with the board to create exciting new programs for our members, and to revitalize and energize the organization overall.”

Martin is Founder and Editor or crafthaus, an online social media network since 2008. Prior to that she has worked for the auction house Sotheby’s as well as run her own brick-and-mortar gallery in Pittsburgh, PA. She has served as Chair of Fundraising and Development on the Board of Directors of the Society of North American Goldsmiths since 2012, culminating her service as the organization’s president. Martin is a regularly contributing writer for American Craft Magazine and has recently been named the publication’s Editor at large. Martin founded a national Craft Think Tank in 2012 and has co-organized the event together with the American Craft Council since 2013. Martin was named one of the 5 “Best Art Curators in Pittsburgh” by CBS, as well as one of “9 People to Watch in 2013” by The Crafts Report. Martin has authored the multiple awards winning book “Humor in Craft.” She was featured on the NPR radio show “Radio Times” in May 2012 and by American Craft Magazine (2010, 2015.) Martin is a national public speaker on aspects related to running a business in the craft field, a communications expert, and a sought-after juror for craft shows and competitions. A goldsmith by training, Martin is a prominent, national advocate for art and craft, someone who supports and champions all craft media and artists working in the field today.

“It’s an exciting time for The Furniture Society. All the more so with Brigitte coming on board at this juncture,” says Furniture Society Board President Forest Dickey. “We, the Trustees, are looking forward to welcoming her and are eager to begin the important work of growing our organization into the vital nexus of furniture design, craftsmanship, education, and inspiration we envision it to be. Brigitte is an established, experienced, thoughtful, energetic, and passionate leader. We can’t think of anyone more committed or prepared than Brigitte to lead The Furniture Society.”