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The Definitive Blog for Fine Furniture & Design

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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.”
Vita Credenza resized 600

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."