Each year, the Society of American Period Furniture Makers honors an individual with its Cartouche Award for lifelong contributions to the craft. Jeffrey S. Roberts of Unity, N.H., is the 2017 recipient.
Throughout a 37-year career, Roberts has built hundreds of period pieces in Queen Anne, Chippendale, Jacobean, William and Mary, and Federal styles.
“I am very excited about it. It’s an opportunity for me to hopefully expand my audience. I’ve been here in New Hampshire now for about 10 years and I’ve been self-employed. I’ve had a few really good clients throughout my career that I was lucky to get that gave me the opportunity to make some really cool projects,” Roberts says.
Ken Johnson, SAPFM vice president and mediator of the group’s Cartouche selection process, says Roberts’ breadth of work, mentoring and teaching efforts, and contributions to the SAPFM made him an easy choice.
“Normally [recipients] are a little bit older but he’s been doing this over the course of his career and he’s made a lot of stuff,” Johnson says. “We also look for educational outreach, which he’s done. This type of work is a relatively narrow niche within the furniture making community and, to some extent, it’s kind of dying out. It’s just not as popular an aspect of furniture making as some of the others, so mentoring, teaching, and writing about it are strong positives and he’s done that as well.”
Roberts is principal of J.S. Roberts Furniture Maker & Carver. He attended North Bennet Street School in Boston, and has worked at several small shops. He’s a multiple award winner at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair and member of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters’ Prison Outreach Program, which teaches woodworking skills to inmates.
The Cartouche Award is open to craftsmen, educators, conservators and supporters.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue.