Maine Wood 2012

SHOWCASE-Nov/Dec 2011

A preview of the third juried Maine Wood biennial at Messler Gallery.


In December, the Messler Gallery at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship will open its Maine Wood 2012 biennial exhibition highlighting the breadth of wood craftsmanship in Maine.

Maine Wood 2012 will showcase original, current work by Maine studio furniture makers, turners, carvers, and sculptors who use wood as their primary material. The jurors for this year’s biennial were Tom Caspar, editor of American Woodworker magazine in Eagan, Minnesota; Miguel Gomez-Ibanez, president of the North Bennet Street School in Boston; and Yuri Kobayashi, instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. The 21 chosen pieces were all made within the past five years.

“The number and quality of submissions were off the scale this year,” says Peter Korn, executive director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. “I only regret that we have exhibition space for just 21 pieces out of the 113 entries. The excellence of the work is a powerful confirmation of the vitality of woodworking in Maine.”


Eben Blaney 

Wedge Table (Knock Down), 2009, black walnut, 30” x 48” x 12”

“The creation of the Wedge Table was a reaction to a lot of the furniture and cabinetry I had been building—symmetric, highly embellished, and often largely unoriginal—amidst a growing desire to locate my own design voice. Treating it as an exercise in restraint and “simplicity,” I refrained from adding further support elements, preferring the focus to remain on the dramatic relationship of angles and the cantilever, as well as maintaining the ability to assemble/disassemble. The Wedge Table has helped provide a visual vocabulary for subsequent pieces for me, and it demonstrates what I often try to do: use structural elements as points of visual interest.”

For more Eben Blaney:

Gerald Curry

Block Party, 2011, birch, walnut, ziricote, 26” x 26” x 1”

“The technique of using thin end-grain slices of wood to embellish woodwork is known as “oyster veneering.” It was developed in the late seventeenth century in Holland and England at a time when other decorative veneering techniques, such as marquetry and parquetry, were at their peak. The “oyster” usually consists of a cross section of a branch that contains the pith and shows its concentric growth rings. The oysters for this mirror are paper birch, which was chosen for its light color, close grain, and understated figure. The line inlay between the oysters is walnut, chosen for its contrast. The edges are ziricote, an almost black Central American wood that adds a touch of elegance.”

For more Gerald Curry:

David Boyle
Stem Table, 2011, walnut, white oak, zebrawood, maple twigs, 28” x 23” x 22”

“I am intrigued by the contorted and sinuous forms that the stems of young trees take when they emerge from the ground. These forms could become the legs of a table. I had in my lumber stock a small slab of walnut with a beautiful live edge that could become the top. In a sort of a flash, I had a vision of this slab poised on knife-edge triangular elements. From these various ideas and materials the design of this small table began to evolve.”

Randy Colbath
Untitled V, 2009, cherry burl, 23” x 15” x 13”

Randy Colbath is a sculptor who works with salvaged wood. His work is abstract, figurative, and sometimes surreal. It reveals much attention to natural characteristics within wood and complements them with the strong use of line. Art historical references and appropriated styles along with his personal style, technique, and passion meld into completely unique and original works. Randy works with hand-operated power tools along with hand tools to shape the wood and arrives at an inherent aesthetic that is sometimes achieved without having a concrete vision at the outset. He begins working in an almost automatonic manner, where wood grain and natural abnormalities provide the impetus and a free flow of ideas generate a result with totally unique character.

For more Randy Colbath:

Wayne Hall

Carved Walnut Stream, 2011, walnut top, red maple (saplings) base, 35” x 96” x 16”

“Working within the rustic furniture tradition gives me permission to work in the woods and trees as an artist. Because I bring so much of the woods back inside with me, my studio usually feels like the cozy inside of a beaver lodge. The rustic style frees the artist child in me. It feels like play, as nearly all creative ‘work,’ however important or sophisticated, still feels like play to the engaged artist.”

For more Wayne Hall:

Gabriel Sutton 

Liquor Cabinet, 2011, bubinga, cherry, ebony, quartersawn ash,
32” x 33” x 14”

“As a furniture maker and designer I’m dedicated to building aesthetically pleasing, high-quality furniture that will endure. I look to the past for form and proportion but am inspired by modern living. I believe that furniture should be lived with and enjoyed by future generations, so I make sure that my pieces will age gracefully with your life and your home.”

For more Gabriel Sutton:

Maine Wood 2012 will open at the Messler Gallery at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship on
Friday, December 2, 2011. For more information, call 207-594-5611 or visit

Furniture Makers, Sculptors, Carvers & Turners:
Nick Barboza, Bangor; Chris Becksvoort, New Gloucester; Eben Blaney, Edgecomb; David Boyle, Bath; Clara Cohan, Cape Elizabeth; Randy Colbath, Bangor; Gregory W. Crispell, Garland; Gerald Curry, Union; Tom Dahlke, Bath; William Doub, Owls Head; Wayne Hall, Orland; Christopher Joyce, Stonington; William F. Mack, Thomaston; John Moro, Rockport; Malcolm Ray, Damariscotta; Kevin Rodel, Brunswick; Jack Rodie, York; Bernice Masse Rosenthal, Damariscotta; Libby Schrum, Camden; Gabriel Sutton, Biddeford; Peter Turner, South Portland