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The Definitive Blog for Fine Furniture & Design

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The "Magic" of Engagement

  
  
  
MAY10 Mike EdoCant lrRGB resized 600Mike Beaumont inspecting the Edo Cantilevered Side Table

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!

Turning Points

  
  
  
describe the imageTom Moser is "taking it back home" this weekend with a sojourn to Mt. Prospect, Illinois, where he was born and raised. He will be in town for Thos. Moser’s special savings event at the Old Orchard Country Club on Saturday, March 26, and Sunday, March 27 and will be signing his latest book Artistry in Wood on Saturday at 2 p.m.

If you haven’t had a chance to thumb through the large, luxuriant pages filled with exquisite photography, believe us when we say the temptation to snap it up will be all but overwhelming. Not to worry; we’ll have plenty of copies for sale! For those of you who have already acquiesced, Tom will happily sign your copy if you bring it along to this lovely locale just outside Chicago. Given that writing is one of Tom’s passions, the presentation of his deepening dedication to his craft reads like an intimate journal:

“Some turning points are difficult to identify in retrospect, but not this one. I remember that cool September morning in 1971 as vividly as if it were yesterday. I was standing in the backyard of my house in New Gloucester, Maine, blinking in the brilliant summer sunshine, inspecting a table that I had just finished and brought up from my cellar workshop.”
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“I am my own worst critic, but I have enough sense to know when I have done something well, and this was a good table. It had a five-foot-diameter round pine top, with one glue line down the middle. The top was made from a single board thirty-seven inches wide and sixteen feet long, one of six such boards from a first-growth Maine pine felled in 1922 (I still have the other five, and regard them as so precious that I can’t bring myself to use them). The piece, with its robust, canted, turned ash legs, had the look of a rare eighteenth-century tavern table. Freshly finished with boiled linseed oil and hand-rubbed wax, it virtually glowed. Sue Vaughn, the wife of a friend, came by, saw the table, and offered to buy it on the spot.”

“It was just one moment in the dewy grass in rural Maine, but also an epiphany in the truest sense of the word. In an instant, at age thirty-six, I suddenly saw that there was enough artistry in me to produce something for which people would pay money. More importantly, those people would be getting their money’s worth. In the evening, feeling my life teetering on the fulcrum of that moment, I said to my wife, Mary, ‘We could make a living building tables like this.’”

The Thos. Moser story is infused with Tom’s level of passion for his craft and it’s an ongoing narrative that is exemplified by the selections available at Mt. Prospect from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. both days during the event. For more information, feel free to call us at 800-708-9045. We hope to see you there! You are, after all, a very important part of our tale!

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!


As seen in Design New England!

  
  
  

Our friends at Design New England have whipped up a wonderful April issue that has us thinking Spring!

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Featured in the issue was a cool condo in Brookline, MA, done in crisp white, and faces the beautiful Boston skyline. It also happens to feature a few of our pieces, from the Edo Studio Chair used at a vanity to a bedroom oasis with a Lolling Chair and Edo Lounge Chair.

It was shot by acclaimed photographer, Eric Roth, who is also a personal favorite of ours. We think the cherry of the furniture contrasts beautifully with clean white backdrop.

Check out the online version of the April issue!

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!

MOSERstyle Monday

  
  
  

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Dining in MOSERstyle... It's becoming habit in these parts for us to gather around the computer in the mornings to check out the latest MOSERstyle postings. Even though we are surrounded here in the shop with these gorgeous pieces of American-made furniture, it's when we get an opportunity to see them in their new homes that brings a big smile to our faces. These peeks into how our customers are living with Moser are simply inspiring.

Check out Andrew's nod to old Hollywood glamor (above). Andrew effortless pairs our Georgetown Double Pedestal table with a set of mid-century modern metal chairs. 

 

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That same Georgetown table takes on a completely different feel when we visit Donald's Maryland home. Here, Donald partners our Harpswell Dining Chairs with his table to create a classic, clean look. The beautiful artwork on the walls practically beckons you to take a seat and gaze for a while.

 

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Over in Minnesota, the Nyberg's shared with us these photos of their Georgetown Pedestal table. Set in their open concept space, the Nyberg's meld together dining and living beautifully. We're hoping to get an invite to their next gourmet dinner party. It looks like everyone had a blast.

Thank you so much to everyone who has shared their MOSERstyle with us over these past few weeks. We hope you'll stop by and show us your MOSERstyle!

 

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The future of woodworking: spending a day with Boston's finest students

  
  
  

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Last week, Tom was invited to visit Harvard University to speak to a group of woodworking hobbyists at Eliot House. A man of unexpected talents, Tom surprises undergrads Raafi Alidina and Oliver Strand with a rendition of the Harvard Fight Song "Veritas," played on a crosscut hand saw!

 

A visit with the North Bennett Street School -

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Earlier that day, Tom lectured at the North Bennett Street School (NBSS) in Boston. Tom addressed the students of cabinet and furniture making on the basic principles of starting a successful business. Well aware of the challenges presented in the current economy, the group was especially interested in the company's ability to survive, and to thrive, during the recent recession.

 

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The North Bennett Street students at work in their woodshop.

Thanks to our fine hosts during this trip to Boston. It's great to see creative, young minds hard at work!

Supporting American Made

  
  
  

This story just came across our desks and made us stop to think a little – it’s a story we know very well, and it defines the ethos of Thos. Moser. Tom and Mary Moser founded the company back in 1972 and made a point to keep the company and jobs in Maine all these years, despite the economic pressures and challenges that have caused so many other manufacturing companies in Maine, and throughout the United States, to move overseas or close altogether.   The story is below, and was forwarded to us by our friends at the Wood Component Manufacturers Association. We hope it resonates as strongly with you as it did with us: 

MADE IN AMERICA
ABC World News is doing a segment on “Made in America” this week stemming from President Obama’s State of the Union address and the topic of creating and selling products that are made in America and sold all over the world. We all know the storyline and the movement away from American manufacturing to the lower costs of producing goods in developing countries. Manufacturing made up for 33% of the workface in America back in 1960, and today only represents 9% of our workforce.

MadeInAmerica ABCIn the segment, ABC’s research indicates that if Americans spent just $64.00 per year more on American-made goods, it would create another 200,000 jobs in America. It seems like such a small figure to make such a huge impact on our economy. The segment also features a family who volunteered to have the camera crew search through their home for goods made in America and remove everything else. They were left with only a flower vase and the kitchen sink.

Tune in to ABC News Tonight to see the next segment or visit their website to catch up on the segments that have already aired.

The Art of Place

  
  
  
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One of the interesting aspects about having a string of showrooms in some of the finest cities across America is the opportunity to arrange our furniture as if it might be placed in someone's home. We never tire of seeing a remarkable piece of craftsmanship come through the shop when our cabinetmakers finish them, but there’s something very satisfying about standing back and viewing a room setting coming to life with every piece of the design puzzle put in place.

A particular thrill we experience while decorating these spaces is the careful curation of art to place within the showrooms. It's surprising how the personality of a piece of furniture changes when a sculpture is placed beside it or a painting is hung above; the art brings an ambiance to the furniture that reflects the composition's attitude. Recently, we selected a series of contemporary paintings to place in the New York showroom on Madison Avenue and we were thrilled at the flair our classic collections exuded when combined with the modern art. “The paintings brought a contemporary feel to the furniture,” remarks our New York Showroom Manager Martha Nishida. “Proving the versatility of our collections, we followed the modern art with a series of very traditional paintings in ornate gilded frames and they brought an entirely different point of view to the furniture.”
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That’s the thing about furnishings created with classicism in mind: each piece feels very much at home amid a wide array of stylistic slants. We’ve come to understand that collectors of our furniture should never be pigeonholed, as they run the gamut from connoisseurs of the contemporary to appreciators of antiques. We’d like to salute the art aficionados among our customers who may be perusing The Armory Show, showcasing the finest in modern and contemporary styles that opens in New York tomorrow; or combing the booths of The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) fair in Maastricht, the Netherlands in two weeks where they will find one of the best selections of paintings by old masters offered anywhere in the world.
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It’s as Laurie Perzley, of our Freeport Showroom, says of her own MOSERstyle, “…As an avid art collector, I appreciate Moser furniture for its artistic qualities. Over the years, we have added to our collection, most recently with a Sophia Two Place Sofa, which fits beautifully in our space.”
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