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‘Challenge of the Chair’ winners picked

The Wharton Esherick Museum’s new exhibition, “The Challenge of the Chair,” is open to the public now through Dec. 31 at the Paoli, Pa., museum. The juried show features 10 side chairs selected from 68 entries to the museum’s 15th annual thematic woodworking competition.

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“The jury selected David Ebner’s ‘Brookhaven Chair’ for Best in Show and Michael Brolly’s ‘Alter Chair’ was second place, which also received the Member’s Choice award,” says Paul Eisenhauer, curator of the Wharton Esherick Museum. “The third place went to Daniel Turley. Those were the three awards selected by the jury. The criteria for judging were creativity, first and foremost, and then functionality, and then craftsmanship.”

The winning chairs were selected by Albert LeCoff, executive director of the Wood Turning Center in Philadelphia; Mansfield Bascom, curator emeritus of the Wharton Esherick Museum; and Jack Larimore, furniture maker and adjunct professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

The other seven finalists were Ric Allison of Narberth, Pa.; Anthony Chickillo of Lake Ariel, Pa.; Brian Kolakowski of Philadelphia; George Manns of Montrose, Pa.; Donald Moss of West Hartford, Conn.; Mitch Ryerson of Cambridge, Mass.; and Chris Todd of Kittery, Maine.

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“This year, since it was the 15th show, we wanted something special and that’s why we chose chairs because it is the real furniture maker’s challenge,” Eisenhauer says. “We’ve been doing this for 15 years and woodworkers have never failed to surprise us with their creativity. We’ve had such amazing things. This show is probably one of the best we’ve had. People walk in the door and their jaws drop. It’s such an amazing selection of chairs.”

This year’s exhibition is supported by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Dr. and Mrs. Henry A. Jordan, and the members of the Wharton Esherick Museum.

Island show
“The Unexpected Table,” an exhibition of tables made of wood, steel, clay or glass, runs through Dec. 2 at The Gallery at Bainbridge Arts and Crafts in Bainbridge Island, Wash. The tables, made by artists who are also designers, engineers and fabricators, were built to bridge the gap between art and function.

Participating artists include Andy Caro, Garth Edwards, Larry Halvorsen, Solia Hermes, Steve Humphrey, Hugh Montgomery, Gerry Newcomb, Seth Rolland, J.T. Scott, Michèle van Slyke, Don Spencer and Dan Walters.

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The Gallery is a nonprofit visual-arts organization that advances creative achievement, provides educational opportunities, and exhibits fine arts and crafts from regional artists for the community.

The Society for Contemporary Craft (SCC) in Pittsburgh has issued a call for entries for its 2009 Raphael Founder’s Prize. The $5,000 cash award was established in 1997 in honor of SCC’s founder Elizabeth Rockwell Raphael and recognizes excellence in the field of contemporary craft. The award is presented in conjunction with a juried exhibition, purchase award, video and catalogue. The accompanying exhibition usually travels to two or three additional national venues.

The competition is open to all interested participants with an emphasis on emerging artists, and next year’s award will be made to an artist working in wood. The jurors are Craig Nutt and Michael Monroe and 25 finalists will be invited to create a piece based on the theme of “Transformation” for an exhibition. The entry deadline is Jan. 26.

CraftBoston, a juried show of fine contemporary art, craft and design, is now accepting entries for its eighth annual show, scheduled for March 27-29, 2009 at the World Trade Center in Boston. Presented by the Society of Arts and Crafts, artists are invited to apply for participation in the following media categories: furniture, wood, mixed media, metal, baskets, ceramics, fiber decorative, fiber wearable, glass, jewelry, leather and paper.

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CraftBoston features about 110 artists showcasing their one-of-a-kind and limited-edition pieces. The 2009 jurors are Mark Del Guidice, furniture maker, trustee, Fuller Craft Museum, and SAC Artist Award recipient; Lisa Englander, store manager and buyer, Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wis.; and Tommie Rush, glass artist, trustee, Penland School of Crafts, trustee, American Craft Council, trustee, Glass Arts Society.

Bainbridge Arts and Crafts, 151 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Tel: 206-842-3132.
CraftBoston. Tel: 617-266-1810.
Society for Contemporary Craft, 2100 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222. or
Wharton Esherick Museum, Box 595, Paoli, PA 19301-0595. Tel: 610-644-5822.

This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue.

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