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The Definitive Blog for Fine Furniture & Design

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Grading on the Curve

Inspired by the female form, we at Thos. Moser have always been fascinated by shapeliness. Case in point are our curvaceous chairs with beautiful waistlines, think Aria or the Pasadena dining chairs.
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Carved from a single piece of wood, the Aria chair is more sculpted than assembled, the curves and angles beckoning the touch of a hand as the ripples of the stunning pleated back bring visual and tactile pleasure. At first glance, the hourglass lines of the Aria chair evoke a more glamorous age when Old-World design influences met a newly minted urbane American public. Upon closer examination, you’ll see that the Aria Collection has much in common with the soft patterns etched by the sea on a sandy shore: gentle ridges and undulating crescents that tease the eye with familiarity making pieces in this line perfect companions for any furniture with a more rectilinear form.
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Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.” While it is true that in the creative field of furniture-making a fully realized design may emerge spontaneously, it is far more common to be on the workbench for some time before the balance and perfect form emerge. Often, the more original the design, the longer the experimental process, and it is our respect for this discipline that allowed David Moser the freedom to build and rebuild our new Pasadena designs until he knew they were right. David began exploring the nuances of the chair by using hand tools in combination with state-of-the-art technology to see what depth of movement he could coax out of solid cherry. From that genesis, the entire Pasadena Collection evolved into its sculpted state and proof that we succeeded is evident in the fact that the Pasadena dining chair received Interior Design magazine’s Best of Year Award in the Residential Dining Chair category in 2008. The nod caught quite a bit of attention, such as this effusive post by Paul Anater, which made us smile!
Do you have a favorite Thos. Moser chair? We love to know which one and what attracts you to it!

A Little Spring in Our Steps!

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Given that Connecticut’s state bird is the Robin, we thought we’d check in on the fair citizens there in the hopes that we might catch a whiff of spring (we’re betting those of you in the Northeast understand why, especially those of you as far north as our home state of Maine)! To that end, we’re heading to Stamford this weekend for a special savings event, taking a large selection of our handcrafted furniture to the Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa on Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

The selection of furniture offered will include seating, tables, beds, sofas, desks and cases chosen from a mix of floor models, one-of-a-kinds, and not-quite-perfect and first-quality pieces. The event is first-come, first-served, so the early bird gets the worm when it comes to this sale. It’s also worth noting that this is our third and final sales event this spring, following Philadelphia and Chicago, so shop early and take advantage of an offering that may not happen again for a long while!

The Art of Comfort

It is said that each of us has 25,000 mornings. If you feel as we do—that the burgeoning of the day sets the tone for the hours that follow—spending those moments surrounded by passionately produced furniture is a wonderful way to help ensure a proper kick-off to your momentum. If you’re someone who values comfort as well (and who doesn’t!), our collections include a few standouts that will envelop you in serenity as you sip your morning coffee or tea, or sit with the morning paper to glean the news of the day before the hustle and bustle of the busy world takes hold.
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Kinesis is the Greek word that means, “to move”—an important concept behind David Moser’s designs for this chair and ottoman, because the energy behind them transcends potential energy, which lies latent in mass, and reaches into kinetic energy, which is produced by a body in motion. It's what happens when force is exerted on mass, a dynamic that this furniture distills, fusing everything we've learned about wood, ergonomics, and sculpture into an extraordinary work of art.
And this chair is art indeed—albeit art of the truly interactive variety. Combining a fine-art cast bronze sculpture base with a hand-shaped, curved silhouette, this chair and its companion ottoman could only be created by a designer who understands that within every slab of wood resides a flowing spirit. What makes this piece particularly interesting is its confluence of three disparate crafts—the ancient and coarse art of bronze casting, the feminine touch of needlecraft, and the joiner's skillful use of wood. Oh, and did we mention how cozy it is?
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The streamlined minimalism of the German Bauhaus greatly influenced French master designer Le Corbusier. His 1920s chair is the primary inspiration for our Chaise, rendered not in the Bauhaus’s stark chromed steel, but in American black cherry. Composed of strong, flitch-cut cherry and a moderately padded full-grain-leather cushion, it is one of the most comfortable chairs you will find. A simple push on the arm gently shifts the chair into its reclined position and back.
We see Chaise as "comfort delivered" and it brings to mind another devotee of everything Bauhaus, Walter Gropius, who believed, “Design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.” The intent behind this design was to build pieces with edges and joints that literally flow, and sculptural surfaces that encourage the eye to roam, which is, ironically enough, the last thing the body wants to do once Chaise has nestled you in!  Simple gravity, not cumbersome levers and springs, gently shifts the chair into its reclined position and back. That’s the epitome of relaxation to us, a delight we’re happy to pass along to you.

Immerse Yourself at Thos. Moser

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Some of the best ideas come from trusted friends who are able to look at the spirit of something from one step removed. This is the case with Thos. Moser’s Customer in Residence (CIR) program, which was inspired when a close friend asked if he could come into the workshop for a week or two to learn how to build something with his own two hands. Under the watchful eye of one of our craftspeople, he was able to take a simple design from start to finish, and he encouraged us to offer the gratifying experience to others. What a great idea! we thought; then, quite honestly, we were led to ask ourselves Why didn’t we think of that?
In the fall of 2007, we welcomed our first group of eager apprentices to Auburn for a week-long immersion in learning the intricacies of achieving the quality we demand of ourselves, which included the ins-and-outs of joinery, the shaping and molding of solid cherry, and even the right amount of elbow grease and additional wax required to bring out the natural luster of our beautiful woods.
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“To watch some of the professionals who come through here and make furniture themselves is so inspiring,” remarks David Moser. “When you hear at the end of their week that the experience was huge for them, it is mind-blowing. As a culture, we have divorced ourselves from the natural environment and people have stopped using their hands. There are three materials that bind us to our roots: wood, clay and stone—the three elemental materials since the dawn of man. We are hardwired to leave a legacy using those malleable materials, and there’s a halo effect for the cabinetmakers. They see someone who is successful, say, as a hedge-fund professional and who could spend time anywhere but who chose to spend it making a piece of furniture with them. During the signing ceremony, we shut the shop down so that the sense of pride can be honored. This really means something to those people and to the cabinetmakers, as well.”

This degree of self-immersion in the creation of a treasured possession lifts the investment in a piece of Thos. Moser furniture to a higher level. Not only is there the assurance of quality in design, materials, and technique inherent in all of our designs, but the home is furnished with the soul of the maker captured within the wood.
To find out more about the CIR program, which we institute about eight times a year, from April to November, click here

The "Magic" of Engagement

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Hearing from fans of Thos. Moser, especially ones who have a passion for (and a history intertwined with) woodworking, makes us smile from ear to ear. When Greg and Nancy Barber of Minneapolis visited us, the exuberance with which they drank in our ambiance was contagious, and they left our cabinetmakers feeling appreciated and inspired. “For me, the son of a custom homebuilder and craftsman, it was a long-time dream come true,” wrote Greg in a letter thanking the team of crafts-men and -women who escorted them on their tour. “We were very impressed with the level of engagement of the entire team, which says a lot about Tom, his wife and now second generation family leaders. The ‘magic’ of this level of engagement you have is not often seen in the business world of today…which makes your place so special.”
We are gratified that the cabinetmakers who produce our furniture are so ardent about their work. Every piece of furniture is assigned to a particular craftsperson; it stays with that specialist from the time the first piece of wood is planed until the moment when the last piece of hardware is affixed and the piece personally signed by the artisan. “That’s a source of pride for us,” says cabinetmaker Mike Beaumont, who oversees the making of Thos. Moser tables. “The table area is my pride and joy!” Dare we say that his passion shines through in the heartfelt results he produces? In that respect, we are fortunate indeed.
In a postscript to his letter, Greg Barber wrote, “Tom and David: You should both be very proud of what you have created…it’s a neat story and more of what we need in our country today.” Thanks, Greg, and we certainly do agree!

Everything is Dreamed First

Mary RGB resized 600One of the most remarkable aspects of our history as a company is the fact that we were, quite literally, dreamed into being. In 1972, Tom left his position as a professor at Bates College to spend his time making one-of-a-kind furniture in an old Grange Hall in New Gloucester, Maine. His wife Mary managed sales and finances, and their four sons began training as young apprentices. There was no business plan, no product, no sense of marketing, and, to their banker’s horror, no cash or cash flow.

Tom was a practical dreamer who saw what he wanted to achieve and set out to do it. Why Maine? “The Shakers and the rural craftsmen of Maine had a profound affect on Mary and myself in terms of aesthetics and values,” he explains. “We fell in love with the state during our second honeymoon. I guess in this way so much in life is historical accident!” As is evident from Tom’s early designs, he developed a fascination with the work of Maine’s Shaker furniture makers, who lived in the last extant Shaker village in the country on 22,000 acres of land that encompass the entire western shore of Sabbathday Lake. He also saw the potential of being able to practice his craftsmanship in an environment that fostered artisinal creativity. “Every small town in Maine has a woodworker and that idea appealed to me greatly.”
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From those far-off and idealistic beginnings, we have grown into a deeply rooted and diverse company, known worldwide for our unfailing commitment to the ideals upon which we were founded, with a cadre of skilled artisans carrying Tom's visions forward into the future, and "living the dream."

The post title, Everything is Dreamed First, is a line from Gaston Bachelard’s book The Poetics of Reverie. It captured our attention because the philosopher wrote, “…creative reverie animates the nerves of the future…”. We’re indebted here at Thos. Moser for such imaginative beginnings: the philosophy behind that genesis continues to inspire us today.

Spring Comes A-greening!

JAN10 AC C9 detail LRrgb resized 600There’s no end of chatter about environmental friendliness and touting one's accomplishments thereto; it’s one of those subjects that garners fervent responses from some and the occasional eye-roll from others. We’re in the "impassioned responders" camp and there are several essential guidelines we use to keep an eye on true sustainability at Thos. Moser.

The nearly 70 men and women in our workshop craft their functional art primarily from American black cherry, a sustainable bequest from the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania. Realistically, these cherry trees must be given 75 to 125 years to mature to furniture grade. Good stewardship is exemplified by harvesting in accordance with a long-term management plan; black cherry is a renewable resource but it is vital that the objects we craft from this wood endure at least as long as it took the tree to grow. Our furniture often becomes a family legacy as grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers and fathers, or aunts and uncles pass the special pieces they’ve curated down to their grandchildren, children, and nieces and nephews: a new generation that appreciates the fine craftsmanship which makes our furniture a lasting heritage.
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Did you know we proudly guarantee our furniture for the lifetime of the original owner? It’s true! We like to think of it as putting our commitment where our dovetails are, just as surely as the seasons cycle through the year. If you're planning something earth-friendly as we celebrate the Vernal Equinox this Sunday, we’d like to know about it: Leave us a comment below and let us know what you are planning so we can celebrate your dedication, too!

Speaking of green: Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Maine Office of Tourism launches Designer Video Showcase


Thos. Moser was one of seven Maine companies recently filmed as part of the Maine Office of Tourism’s (MOT) Maine Designers video series, a push to promote shopping and creative design in Maine.

The focus in each video is on the designer(s) and why they chose Maine as the place to call home for business and pleasure. Also featured were Sea Bags, Angela Adams, Brahms Mount, Lunaform, Grain Surfboards, and Jill McGowan.

Click here to view all of the videos on You Tube!

Andy Rooney on Tom Moser's Artistry in Wood

8106 865856664b92cabfdaf388af2b21b65e resized 600Rolling hills and verdant greens beckon us as we make our way to the St. David’s Golf Club in Wayne, Pennsylvania, this weekend for a series of events, one of which will have our fearless founder Tom wielding a pen as he autographs his latest book Artistry in Wood.

Serving as a backdrop for his book signing at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, is a two-day savings event during which Moser furniture will be displayed and for sale. We hope to see some of our Philly fans on the gracious grounds near Philadelphia. Stop by anytime between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on either Saturday or Sunday, March 20. 
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Did you know that the inimitable Andy Rooney wrote the foreword to the beautiful book Tom will be signing? We thought we’d give you a taste of what the "60 Minutes" commentator and avid woodworker had to say:

“We met briefly, but I know Thomas Moser principally through his work. I therefore know him well. He couldn’t surprise me with anything he did. He couldn’t disappoint me because I am thoroughly familiar with his work and it reveals everything about him as a person.

“In reading this book, I was pleased to have confirmed that long held belief that each of us does one thing basically the same way he or she does another. This book is proof that Thomas Moser does everything with the same care and originality with which he makes furniture. I had no intention of writing advertising copy here, and anyone reading this has probably already bought the book anyway, but I cannot resist saying how well done it is. It is too full of good things to be dismissed as a coffee table book. Dinner table, maybe…”

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We consider this to be high praise indeed from a writer known for his frank opinions and from someone who loves the craft of woodworking as much as Tom does. Books will be available for purchase at the event, or feel free to bring your own and Tom will be delighted to sign it.

Crafting Your Office

KV WD8L B lrRGB resized 600If you are familiar with the Thos. Moser story, you will likely remember that our founder, Tom Moser, spent some of his most satisfying years in Academia, teaching at the University of Maine in Orono and at Bates College in Lewiston. No one understands the value of a beautiful desk more than a person with a passion for education. Given our studious leanings, we put our hearts and souls into producing desks that will not only be aesthetically appealing but will stand the test of time as they are put through their scholarly paces. 
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It was the renowned English critic John Ruskin who said, “When we build, let us think that we build for ever.” A look at some of our favorite desks, such as the Four- and Eight-Leg writing desks with their consummate attention to detail, proves that we take this level of commitment to quality as seriously as the beloved social thinker. As many of us move into careers that blur the boundaries between work and personal life, it is more imperative than ever that a home office reflects a sense of style as seamlessly as the other rooms in our homes.
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Happily, that’s where we come in: even as we design specific pieces of furniture that will make dedicated additions to work spaces, we can also craft the accompanying elements that transform a room into an inviting place in which to work, whether in the home or at the office. March is Home Office month at Thos. Moser, so be sure to visit our web site for details. If you’d like to keep abreast of our monthly specials via email, click here to sign up for news. 
As we salute those creatively driven individuals who trek to their desks every morning to pen the lines that we love to read, we leave you with this quote by William Wordsworth: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” If our desks of finely finished wood and supple leather become the foundations for your breathings, then we’ve done our job well!
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