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Furniture Society lightens its approach

The Furniture Society is gearing up for its annual conference, which this year will be referred to as a symposium with a program designed to give attendees a more relaxed and lighter agenda.

The 2015 symposium is scheduled for June 25-27 at the American Tobacco Historic District in Durham, N.C. The district has gained national attention for starting a large revitalization of a city that had suffered since the decline of its tobacco industry. Durham is also the studio furniture group’s national headquarters.

Conference committee chairman Cory Robinson says the symposium will feature artist presentations, rather than the panel discussions and lectures held in the past, in an effort to promote more audience participation.

“Like other years, our focus is to try to serve as wide an audience as possible. We keep getting fewer and fewer members with large-scale production shops, but we still have and active membership of small shops,” Robinson says. “The content we will be presented in a less nuts-and-bolts [fashion], but attendees will really benefit from broadening their scope about what furniture making can be for their career and how it’s a unique livelihood and creative endeavor.

“The main reason people attend is to rub elbows with like-minded individuals in the world. With the lighter programming scheduled for this year, there will be more availability for small groups to migrate and spend time together and still participate in seminars and skill-training workshops.”

The society’s mission is to promote the art of furniture making and it sponsors a variety of programs that contribute to the education and enrichment of its members and the public. Robinson adds that he expects a large turnout, especially because the location is easy to drive to for many members. Non-members are always welcome to participate.

ShopBot Tools, a manufacturer of CNC machinery in Durham, is the lead sponsor and will be hosting a presentation and social gathering at its facility. Company president Ted Hall will be speaking about studio furniture and the engagement of digital fabrication technologies.

The symposium will also feature a juried exhibition of members’ work, according to Robinson.

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This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue.

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