Legacy of Talent: A Moser Reunion
Center for Furniture Craftsmanship
September 12 – November 28, 2008
The latest exhibit at the Messler Gallery, presents contemporary pieces by Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers in conjunction with work by seven accomplished furniture makers who passed through the Moser workshops early in their careers. These are Jas. Becker Cabinetmaker from Wilder, Vermont; Green Design Furniture from Portland, Maine; Huston & Co. from Kennebunkport, Maine; Kevin Rodel Furniture & Design Studio from Brunswick, Maine; Peter Thompson from Cornville, Maine; Vigneron Design Studio from Housatonic, Massachusetts; and Stewart Wurtz Furniture from Seattle, Washington.
In 1972, Tom Moser left a teaching career to rediscover the art of furniture making in an old Grange Hall in New Gloucester, Maine. Today, Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers employs nearly 100 craftsmen to produce an extensive line of residential and institutional furniture, yet the work retains Moser’s original commitment to the natural beauty of wood, enduring construction, and simple, unadorned, graceful design.
Most of the exhibitors in “Legacy of Talent” started with Moser in the Grange Hall, lured by the romance of craftsmanship. Bill Huston was one of only four craftsmen working at the bench when he started in 1976. By the time he moved on to found his own company, in 1988, he had risen to general manager and the business grown considerably. “I learned that bigger is neither better nor worse, “says Huston, “just different. What’s amazing is how much the craftsmen at Moser have continued to care about the quality of their work, regardless of size.” Today Huston employs four craftsmen building his own line of residential and institutional furniture, which can be seen at his Kennebunkport showroom. “What I love most,” he says, “is interacting with my customers, so I’ve purposely kept my business at a personal scale.”
Kevin Rodel worked at Moser from 1979-1985, during which time the Grange Hall was populated by six cabinetmakers and five chair makers and Moser handled his continuing expansion needs by opening a second, larger facility in Lewiston, Maine. Today, Rodel is an international authority on Arts & Crafts furniture, building one piece at a time in his Brunswick studio and offering design services for larger projects. He is also co-author, with Jonathan Binzen, of Arts & Crafts Furniture: from Classic to Contemporary Taunton Press, 2003.
Doug Green left a small, one-man workshop to work for Moserfrom 1981-1982. At Moser’s he discovered a talent for streamlining production techniques which led him to take a degree in industrial design from Pratt Institute in New York and then to found his own company, Green Furniture Design. Today Green employs five craftsmen making high-end furniture for a national customer base, using his own patented joinery technology.
Every maker in the show has an interesting background, but it is the furniture on display in “Legacy of Talent” that tells the story. It illustrates how passing through the Moser workshops boosted the trajectories of seven talented craftsmen, all of whom have gone on to explore exciting new directions and inspire others with their own significant design accomplishments.
Messler Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays. The Messler Gallery is located on the campus of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, at the corner of Route 90 and Mill Street in www.woodschool.org.. For more information, please call 207-594-5611 or go to
Thos. Moser Continuous Arm Chair
Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers
Designer: Thomas Moser
Cherry, Maple & Ash
Huston & Company
Designer: Bill Huston
Cherry, Wenge & Leather