“We fell in love with Maine
during our second honeymoon,” says Tom Moser
. “So much in life is historical accident!” The Thos. Moser story, in fact, swims with historical accidents of sorts—memories of the jagged coastline of the upper reaches of the continental U.S. calling a young couple back to its frothing waters and woods, a woodworking tradition in Maine serving as an inspiration for Tom’s aspirations, and the last extant shaker village near where the couple decided to settle drawing Tom again and again as he studied the fine craftsmanship that he held in the highest esteem.
“I was a first generation American—my mom was German and my father was Austrian—both settled in Milwaukee,” Tom explains. “I met Mary in high school and we knew we wanted to leave because the suburban culture was all about acquisition. Fashion has a life cycle of a season and we didn’t agree with what we were seeing. We left when we were 18, and once we had visited Maine, we discovered the Northeastern values and felt very much at home with them.”
Everyone who flocks to the state in the winter to snow ski or in the summer to enjoy our dramatic coastline sees what’s the most obvious to everyone about why we love being a part of this great state. I guess it’s one of Maine’s best-kept little secrets that the true depth of our love for where we live—the beautiful snow-packed mountains and craggy coastline notwithstanding—is its artisanal heart!
Ask 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!
We’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?
We 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!
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
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
“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