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The Definitive Blog for Fine Furniture & Design

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Introducing Ellipse: the newest collection from Thos. Moser

  
  
  

Traditional Thos. Moser - naturally.

In 1972, we made the decision to follow our hearts and fully commit ourselves to cabinetmaking. We also made a few simple promises. We would produce furniture that was both purposeful and elegant in its simplicity. Our furniture would celebrate the fine hardwoods we had grown to admire, both for their workability and their intrinsic beauty. Lastly, we would pursue our passion for the methods and styles of historical periods we had long admired - absorbing their wisdom to augment our own. With those promises, we knew we could produce furniture that would serve generations to come, confident that true craftsmanship would always transcend the whim of trends - and endure countless decades of regular use. Now, forty years later, that tradition continues with the introduction of our newest offering: Ellipse - a collection which aligns naturally with the enduring values that have allowed us to grow and thrive. A truly collaborative design between father and son, Ellipse is a creative response to many of the social and economic issues that defined the middle of the last century. In Ellipse, you'll discover the manifestation of our core beliefs: a desire to use precious materials efficiently, a hunger for a return to the fundamental, a modernist's trust that a focus on the functional can be a route to profound beauty, and a belief that good design is a powerful tool to help us reimagine a bold new world - in the simplest possible terms. We have always been students of simplicity - and simplicity is the very essence of Ellipse. Using distinctive design elements like through tenons, exposed end grains, gentle elliptical forms and space-efficient profiles, Ellipse is the purest, most elemental line we have ever designed. And at Thos. Moser, elemental means beauty. Economy of form. And the uncompromising craftsmanship ever synonymous with our name.

 

For more information:

visit us online, stop by your nearest showroom, or call (800) 862-1973.

Thos. Moser CIR participants, Dawn and Jeff recount their experience in a guest blog post!

  
  
  

As our next group of Customer-In-Residence participants prepare for their visit in a couple weeks, we had Dawn Klingensmith (Left, who participated with her fiance Jeff, far Right) to write a quick guest blog regarding her experience.

Dawn Jeff

As a gift to my fiancé, Jeff, I signed us up for Thos. Moser’s Customer in Residence program with plans to build our dining room table together as couple. Jeff enjoys woodworking and is good at it. I, on the other hand, had never even built anything out of Popsicle sticks.
I am not the first novice to sign up for the program. But I think it’s fair to say that most participants have a passion for woodworking and experience using power tools. And most leave with a deeper passion and perhaps even plans to come back. I left with neither, but it was an enriching experience all the same.
Besides the cherry wood table we made, I left with something just as solid yet intangible. All the participants did. As the week progressed and everyone’s projects started coming together, we witnessed a shared commitment to excellence among Thos. Moser employees that you don’t find in most workplaces. At the signing ceremony, attended by all the cabinetmakers, each of us “graduates” had an opportunity to speak about our experience. One after another, all six of us talked about how impressed we were by the standard of excellence shared and upheld by each and every worker at Thos. Moser.
Knowing I’m a writer, instructor Dick Guite told me every piece of wood tells a story. I’m not sure I’ll ever share his love of wood or see poetry in its grain. But I will always remember the moment we bonded over a shared appreciation of artwork and the act of creating. If you own Thos. Moser furniture, then you know that the cabinetmakers sign their work. Dick told me the act of signing is a source of both pride and responsibility. As a writer whose byline is on most things I write, I knew what he was saying.
With their unwavering commitment to excellence, Dick and the other cabinetmakers helped me understand that to live is to build. And if you’re going to build something, build it to last. This is true of furniture, stories, relationships, reputations and even guest blog posts — whether your name is actually on it or not.


To view Dawn and Jeff's CIR ceremony speech, CLICK HERE.

Dawn also wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune about the Thos. Moser CIR program, to read that CLICK HERE.

Tranquil Terrain

  
  
  
Wendy Schwartz resized 600If you’ve never left your heart in San Francisco, now’s your chance! Works from artist Wendy Schwartz are on display in the Thos. Moser San Fran showroom and we predict you’ll fall in love with her winsome compositions. We’re so convinced we’re having an artist reception on June 2nd from 4 until 7 p.m. to celebrate the works of the talented painter, which will be on view through June 19th. If you’re in town, please stop in for a peaceful pause, an unavoidable circumstance of seeing the artist’s serene compositions. 

Schwartz lives and paints on the edge of Tomales Bay, her studio sandwiched between its tidal marsh and the road. Most of her oil paintings are western landscapes, which sometimes include structures. The palette is mostly subdued, vivid colors are used sparingly. The artist received her BFA from Boston University, and has exhibited primarily in the wider San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery and the Bolinas Museum. Her work is in collections throughout United States, Canada, and Europe. 
Shown Above: Black Mountain and Wetlands, by Wendy Schwartz.

Treasures for Treasures

  
  
  
May is the month we are offering our case pieces at 15% off. This includes dressers, sideboards, credenzas and bookcases: all the
nooks and crannies you need to make sure life’s treasures (and flotsam and jetsam) are tucked neatly away! Two of our lines that include dreamy dressers are American Bungalow and Edo.
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The American Bungalow Tall Dresser is one of our standouts. A study in flexibility, this adaptable dresser uses design elements from the first pieces of our signature Bungalow Collection. A solid cherry case is suspended from the table-like top and houses storage elements that can be configured in various patterns. The doors can be moved to the top or bottom, or you can choose all drawers. The case is braced at the bottom by a steel elbow and will not rock when drawers are pulled in and out. The traditional handles are imported directly from Japan.
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Our Edo Nine-drawer Dresser is perfect for the minimalist at heart. Without adding fussiness or unnecessary ornamentation, nine large drawers fill the same basic case as the Edo Open Sideboard, lending truth to the notion that great things can be made from simple beginnings. The grain-matched surface stretches over five feet in length, more than enough room to display your collections without overtly commandeering your space. Simple walnut drawer pulls and traditional studio casework construction make this a legacy piece.

Stop in one of our showrooms to see these beauties for yourself if you’re near enough. If not you can see them on our website by clicking here.

Here's to New Sidekicks!

  
  
  
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Every once in a while, we enjoy tossing out a good challenge to those who are new at cutting a swath in design. What better venue to host said task than a college like the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM)? Ten class members from the Interior Design program at the Los Angeles and San Francisco campuses participated in our design challenge charging them with creating an original piece of furniture in the Moser style, one which would complement our Lolling chair.

The Design Committee Awards for the “New Sidekick for the Moser Lolling Chair” were given to San Francisco student Meghan Carozza and Los Angeles student Maelee Lungren, who is pictured above. FIDM will fly the two young designers to Maine to meet with our cabinetmakers and to take a workshop tour. San Francisco student Jamie Clugston and Los Angeles student Mark Griffin received the Interior Design ASID Industry Award during the competition.

Ryan Campbell, who won the People’s Choice Award for his dog bed design, had this to say in the FIDM Magazine, "Working with Thos. Moser on this design challenge was an amazing experience. We as a group were all very supportive of each other's designs, and all shared our advice. I am very proud of ourselves as a collective group, and was impressed with how wide a range our designs were." We at Thos. Moser are also mightily impressed with the ingenuity and the vision these students brought to their designs. Congratulations to each of you!

A Room with a Cue

  
  
  
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There is an old adage that hard work has its rewards. Our handcrafted furnishings definitely bring us immense personal satisfaction but it’s always an extra boost when we are recognized for our quality from sources other than within. We just learned that our Thomas Moser room at the Harraseeket Inn has received the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Designer Room in Maine by Yankee Magazine! Not only is our furniture ensconced in the room, we had the opportunity to decorate the space as well.
 
Here’s what the editorial team at the magazine had to say: "For fans of Shaker-inspired furniture, staying in the Harraseeket's chic Thomas Moser Room is a treat. This oversized space, decorated by Moser's team, blends traditional and contemporary designs accented with works by Maine artists." Now, that's what we call a referral!

Steering a Sure Course

  
  
  
DMoser in Sofia chair lrRGB resized 600The most historic and revered museums in history are filled with artists who refused to sit still, and we’re not suggesting it wasn’t for want of a comfortable chair! We’re talking about creativity and how the restless artists among the world’s amplified names could not have imagined finding a “style” that brought them critical and financial success only to sit back and watch the checks roll in! Where would we be without Picasso’s forays into Cubism or Cezanne’s devotion to putting his representational view of nature on canvas, spurring a movement we call “Expressionism”? What if Gauguin had decided living in Tahiti was too much trouble or too dangerous? Entire periods of art would have produced fewer dimensions!

During a conversation with David Moser, it becomes clear that he is brimming with a similar desire to foster a continuum of tried-and-true ideas that find freshness in reinterpretations. “I’m restless and vexed: I’m not at peace at all,” he says of this drive to create, a restlessness that finds release in the making of a thing—the rare moments when peace does come.

Quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said, “A mind, once expanded by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions,” he illustrates the value in having cut his teeth in an artisanal environment and in paying close attention to other iconic craftsmen. “Sam Maloof is in the rocking chair he designed, and his California Roundover was revolutionary. Others who’ve made a mark are John Makepeace, Art Carpenter and Nakashima—these are guys who brought a post-industrial focus to the craft.” Picking a piece of sawdust from the sleeve of his shirt, which had drifted there during his morning explorations in wood, he said, “Before that, furniture resided in a pigeonhole.”
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His next statement further reveals just how complex the task of steering a sure course can become for a company with a unique focus: “Last year, I visited Crabtree Farm near Chicago to see the largest collection of Stickley furniture. I went through the entire collection and as I descended a flight of stairs into the basement for the very last bit of what was there, I saw a selection of Gustav Stickley’s designs that were sculptural. These were hidden away in the basement—the last pieces you saw when you took the tour and ones representing his attempts to step outside the norm.”

Asking questions as to why this furniture was not as popular or successful as the designs for which Stickley has become lauded are ones that occupy David’s thoughts as he is putting his pencil to paper and fashioning new collections for Thos. Moser. “History teaches us lessons,” he remarks. “We just have to learn to interpret them within our own paradigms and be wise enough to trust that we can steer our way through the tumults."

Color Us Radiant!

  
  
  

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We’re in quite the artful mood this week with several showroom exhibitions opening. Last night Judy Taylor wowed the crowd by sharing her work in portraits and murals with the lucky attendees at our Freeport showroom event. Tonight, Robert and Julian Cardinal will attend a reception featuring their dramatic works in our Boston showroom, a portion of the proceeds of the sales benefiting the Fenway Community Health Center (the image above is Robert Cardinal's Charles River). The event from 6 to 8 pm will bring visual delights to our 19 Arlington Street address, as the Cardinals’ compositions awash in drenching color will infuse the showroom with a lively verve!

Maine Event: Judy Taylor at Thos. Moser

  
  
  
14789 c346210e0e09ce5b03366a3d16be09f7 resized 600We’re thrilled to be hosting an exhibition by artist Judy Taylor at our Thos. Moser Freeport showroom (149 Main Street) and we hope you’ll stop in for an opening reception tomorrow, May 4th, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., if you’re in town. Judy will present a slideshow and talk about the inspiration for her work, including the mural she created for the Maine Department of Labor—a commissioned piece entitled “The History of Labor in Maine.”

Our friends at Maine Magazine note that the Judy Taylor Studio & Gallery in Seal Cove, Maine, is a “gem of a gallery.” Taylor is trained in the classic atelier tradition, her portraits, landscapes, figurative works and public art outpourings of a richly led artist’s life; and with summer workshops in Maine and spring workshops in Italy a vibrant view of the world shines through in her work. The exhibition in our Freeport showroom extends from April 29 through May 31 so please stop in even at some point if you cant make the opening.

Showing Off Our Earthy Side

  
  
  
 

To have and to holdAsk any of our cabinetmakers whether we have an earthy side and you’ll likely get a nod and a smile. We’ve instituted some important initiatives in our shop that make us feel good when celebrations like Earth Day come around. We’ve fully transitioned to a system of “lean manufacturing,” which means we keep the stock trimmed down to "just what’s needed, when it's needed", rather than filling our shelves copious amounts of lumber taking up space for indefinite periods of time. We make the most out of a minimum, which, after all, is the essence of good design!

 Sanding a componentWe’ve also installed vacuum systems or downdraft tables on many of our machines to keep the dust down, an important step because it improves the working conditions for our cabinetmakers who are dedicated to creating our finely-crafted furniture. “We’re very conscious of dust,” says cabinetmaker Mike Beaumont, who’s been with Thos. Moser for 6 years; “keeping it to a minimum is a priority!” We’ve also instituted a misting system that keeps the shop’s humidity at an optimum level for both our workers and our wood. We see these two as inseparable in our world: it's kind of like a horse and carriage—where would one be without the other?

 

Cherry and ash, crafted to lastWe are proud of our stewardship of forest resources, exemplified by our choices of American black cherry, walnut, and ash hardwoods as the medium with which we craft our original furniture designs. Our creations are intended to outlast the lifecycle of the trees from which they originate, ensuring that the supply will not be outstripped by demand. We love that our timber supplies are certified by either the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and travel less than 500 miles from forest to shop.

 Are you doing something special to celebrate Earth Day this Friday?  Please leave a comment; we’d love to know about it!

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