A lighter than expected turnout at Mt. Pleasant yesterday allowed me to sit in on Chris Storb’s presentation. It was great and I learned a lot. But as I sat in the room where John Adams may have been received, the day’s fine light streaming in through the 18th c window, listening to one of our nation’s most accomplished 18th c carvers, I considered two things: 1) How privileged I was to have had this experience and how many of you would have gladly been there if you could have. 2) How “behind the ropes” access to 18th c masterpieces has changed my perspective of period furniture.
When I think of the top reproduction furniture makers in the country, they are all privileged to have exceptional access to period furniture. Let’s just name a few names off the top of my head: Allan Breed, Gene Landon, Mack Headley all have exceptional access.
As you and I look to increase our furniture making skills, I think its important to look to every opportunity to improve our access; through museums, events like the one in Mount Pleasant yesterday, Williamsburg’s conferences to name a few. I’m not trying to put anyone down here. In fact you can view this as a compliment. But I think woodworkers who can’t see, preferably touch, crawl under 18th c masterpieces are at a severe disadvantage. Museum catalog books may be your best alternative. But I’m finding more and more that information from folks like me with spotty access and only pictures of my own furniture to share is really not as helpful.