Installation Photo by Erin Jenkins of Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers_Evolving Traditions (26).JPG

George Sawyer, "Wayward Bench" (2021), ash, maple, 18 x 76 x 86 inches, courtesy of Sawyer Made Custom Windsor Chairs.

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BRATTLEBORO — “Evolving Traditions,” a new exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, showcases innovative work by 15 members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers and six collaborating artists.

Tom Bodett, Timothy Clark, Greg Goodman and Charles Shackleton led the creation of the exhibit, which is on view through Feb. 13, 2022.

“‘Evolving Traditions’ highlights the creative energy and fresh thinking that Guild members are bringing to their work with this gorgeous, confounding material—the flesh of trees—some ancient, once alive—that knew the sun and the wind and the soil,” Bodett wrote in a statement accompanying the exhibit.

The theme of “Evolving Traditions” was inspired by changing concepts of “home” and “work” during the pandemic as well as by an increasing focus among Guild members on sustainable furniture-making practices. Each piece is accompanied by a statement tracing the furniture maker’s influences

“My work is constantly evolving,” Guild member, exhibit organizer, and exhibiting maker Timothy Clark said. “As I approach 60 years old, I am still finding new inspiration and trying out new things. One lifetime will not be enough to create all that I can dream of, but at least it has not been dull.”

The beds, chairs, tables, dressers, mirrors, cabinets, and other pieces in the exhibit take their inspiration from sources as diverse as the hand-hewn furniture of gauchos in the Patagonian wilderness, the finely detailed Japanese woodworking art of Kumiko, the mandala-like botanical paintings of Margaret Shipman, and the illustrations of Dr. Seuss.

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“Evolving Traditions” features work by George Ainley, Jim Becker, Richard Bissell, Tom Bodett, David Boynton, Jason Breen, Timothy Clark, Erin English, Nick English, Chris Ericson, Bob Gasperetti, Greg Goodman, Erin Hanley, David Hurwitz, David Lewis, John Lomas, Pete E. Michelinie, George Sawyer, Charles Shackleton, Margaret Shipman, and Shari Zabriskie.

“I appreciate the opportunity to showcase my work in a museum setting,” Sawyer said. “I've always considered fine furniture to be akin to functional art, and this was a chance to embrace that and see where it might lead.”

BMAC will present a lathe demonstration at Brattleboro's HatchSpace on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 5:30 p.m. Register at brattleboromuseum.org.

The Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers is an association of master-level furniture makers dedicated to the promotion of quality craftsmanship, excellence in design, and the pursuit of artistic vision. Its goal is to increase public awareness and appreciation of this time-honored art, thereby expanding the market for handcrafted furniture and promoting the common interests of furniture makers in Vermont.

Founded in 1972, the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art, complemented by lectures, artist talks, film screenings, and other public programs. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is on a “pay-as-you-wish” basis. The museum, in historic Union Station in downtown Brattleboro at the intersection of Main Street and routes 119 and 142, is wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 802-257-0124 or visit brattleboromuseum.org.