The Conference

Furniture Society Conference 2012 at MECA

The deeply held values that account for the life and work choices of the Shakers, the boat builders and all those who coax wood is predicated on the strength of community and tradition. The Furniture Society’s 2012 conference – Design, Community & the Sublime – will celebrate these traditions and the intersections of craft, community and design, teasing out the ethic that results from their combination.

For more information on the Furniture Society and the conference contact Jean Aslund at the Furniture Society office: 828.255.1949

The Society’s 2012 conference will convene in Portland, ME at the Maine College of Art, June 14-16, 2012. (Pre-Conference tours & workshops on June 12 & 13)

About the Exhibition

Then and Now is a juried exhibition of work by alumni and current students of MECA who are investigating furniture in all mediums or working sculpturally with wood. This exhibition will be held at Rose Contemporary in Portland, Maine in conjunction with the 2012 Furniture Society Conference, hosted by Maine College of Art. The exhibition was juried by Chair of Woodworking & Furniture Design Matt Hutton, Visiting Assistant Professor of Woodworking & Furniture Design Adam Manley, and Owner of Rose Contemporary Virginia Sassman Rose and was coordinated by Tina McLuckie ’12.

June 1-June 29, 2012
First Friday Reception: Friday, June 1st
Furniture Society Reception: Friday, June 15th – 6:00 – 8:00PM
Rose Contemporary
492 Congress Street
Portland, Maine

Steven Anderson ‘11

Oak Armchair

Resides: Portland, Maine

This work is the beginning of an exploration into seating. It’s foundation lies on the transparency of mid-century furniture while heavily influenced by pre-industrial techniques.  I desire to use my hands spontaneously through steam bending and coopering to create palpable body supports that make sitting a conscious activity.

Vivian Beer ‘00

Yellow & Black Bench

Resides: Manchester, NH

My design process is sophisticated daydreaming. I choose a cocktail of images and forms that embody beauty and power: flags, fenders, clouds, tail feathers, rodeos and corporate logos all come into the mix. I combine these with a sense of architecture and furniture design to create objects that are steel calligrapher’s lines in three-dimensions.

Sarah Bouchard ‘11

White Cube

Resides: Portland, Maine

“white cube” is comprised of 72 free-standing ladders, created by hand and individually positioned to form a 48” x 48” x 48” white cube.  The piece references “The White Cube” by Ilya Kabakov and contributes to the artistic dialogue sparked by Brian O’Doherty’s pivotal text “Inside the White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space.” white cube engages this intellectual critique within a visceral experience of active looking that plays with the concepts of interior and exterior.  The piece appears from one vantage point to be a solid cube, but circumnavigation reveals negative space, changing gradations of light, repetitions of form, and a re-framing of the works and space outside the cube in multiple variations.  Symbolically, the ladder references hierarchical structure, but it also signifies an individual’s quest to achieve higher levels of consciousness.

Nikki Farrand ‘11


Resides: Richmond, VA

Fully engrossed in the performance of repetitive action, I seek comfort and clarity through the process of making. The resulting multitude of simplified forms, brought together as strokes in a painting, serve as a record of time and aim to transcend their individual structure in the formation of a cohesive work. Through labored processes, I experience a sense of meditation and calm, and aspire to translate such emotion through the portrayal of the sculpted image.

Forest Gagne ‘14

Hanging Lamp & Floor Lamp

Resides: Gorham, Maine 

While I still try and truly develop the direction of my work, I let my current work speak for itself. I allow the essence of my own aura to shine through. My work is about the process of making and the energy that radiates through me into each piece of work. I see woodworking as an intuitive process of balancing structural elements to reveal the poetry of color, light, and form within objects in nature.

Jordan Gehman ‘06

Altered Broom

Resides: Oakland, CA

I am interested in creating new conversations between humans and objects. Utilitarian forms are the foundation of my visual language that accentuates its own flaws and absurdities. Layered with irony, humor, and playful colors my works suggest usefulness but are little more than faulty contrivances functioning as metaphors for the human experience.

Ted Lott ‘05

Habitation #2

Resides: Madison, WI

Craft practices are at once defined and restrained by their connections to tradition.  Viewing woodworking in the context of objects made with wood; housing, particularly stick frame construction, emerges as possibly the most widespread use of the material throughout the modern world.  Utilizing these techniques in a studio based practice, it is my hope to further the conversation on how notions of craft fit into the modern world.

Tina McLuckie ‘12

Untitled (Ribcage)

Resides: Portland, Maine

My work manifests itself as anatomical sculptures of the human body. Through material exploration in a vast array of mediums, I strive to evoke the physicality, tactility, and ultimate fragility of the body. These works investigate the physical and emotional sensations of embodiment as well as the symbology surrounding human experience. The viewer is reminded of his or her mortality and material impermanence. My sculptures are fragments of the body that bring attention to its subtle details and surfaces. Organs, limbs, and layers of skin are truncated, analyzed, and studied. These sculptures stress kinesthetic experience, a visceral tactility that is felt through observation alone. The body is manipulated and transfigured; it becomes a landscape and a personal map of knowledge and identity.

Abby Mechanic ‘13


Resides: Sparta, New Jersey

My work explores domestic settings and the relationships of objects within those settings. I am interested in altering materials and space in order to create an environment for the viewer to experience. I am always striving to add an emotional element to my work through materials,that stems from my past.

Hannah Merchant ‘13

Organic-Inorganic Chandelier

Resides: Portland, Maine

Biologically, we are organisms, but philosophically, we are social and political animals. Through our inherent desire to belong to groups, we have created an environment full of artificiality. The resulting compound of organic and inorganic elements continuously shapes our identities. The evolving building process of this piece investigates this duality with a balance of natural and synthetic materials and forms. A juxtaposition of control and instinct mirrors the identities that exist in a world of both man-made and natural landscape.

Oliver Percival ‘10

Wall Cabinet

Resides: Portland, Maine

My work has gone through many different evolutions in a short time; the unifying principles have been to make contemporary, functional, sophisticated yet relatable pieces. I make work that is unique yet not foreign. I allow form, grain, and texture to define the sensibilities and presence of a piece. Communicating with subtlety  with simple forms and traditional materials is integral to my work.

Tanner Price ‘12

Structural Study 1

Portland, Maine

My work explores the use of architectural lines represented on a furniture based scale through both functional, and sculptural forms. This representation exploits the relationships between furniture and architecture, as well as experiences that can occur amongst viewers in relation to an object or a space.

Program Chair Statement

I have one of the best jobs in the world.  Each day, I get to problem-solve with students, explain process and coax ideas that may or may not manifest into three-dimensions.  I place a high level of expectations on them and, in return, they consistently yield solid results through experimentation, inquisition and pure dedication.  Having just completed ten years of teaching at Maine College of Art, I am now in the fortunate stage of witnessing students’ careers develop as a result of that deeply rooted dedication.  It is through these students, both then and now, that I grow as an educator and artist.  This symbiotic relationship is the keystone within the MECA community.

Then & Now: Alumni and Student Work from Maine College of Art is a collection of select works that clearly illustrates the inquisitive and experimental work of current students as well as the sophisticated and refined voice of experienced alumni.  Our encouragement of material exploration, craft, personal narrative and design are clearly evident within this exhibition.  These works were selected through a jury made up of myself, Adam Manley, and Virginia Sassman Rose, a process that was simultaneously challenging, yet extremely rewarding.  With so many great works to choose from, it was evident that MECA has become a leader in the field of woodworking and furniture design education.  I am honored to be a part of that symbiotic relationship.

Congratulations to all the exhibiting artists and a special thanks to Tina McLuckie’12 for her insightful viewpoints and dedication in coordinating this exhibition at Rose Contemporary.

Matt Hutton
Associate Professor and Program Chair
Woodworking & Furniture Design
Maine College of Art