Skip to main content

Maine exhibit combines beauty and utility

An exhibition of functional products in wood is on display through April 1 at the Messler Gallery in Rockport, Maine.

Maple cutlery in the Messler Gallery exhibit.

The “Beautility” exhibition celebrates ordinary objects – buckets, bicycles, boats, brooms and more – that achieve beauty through purpose and conscientious construction, according to the gallery.

“In researching the show, I was excited to discover a natural juxtaposition between gorgeous traditional objects that arrived at their design essence through centuries of anonymous refinement and contemporary products that have been brilliantly conceived and executed for purposes that were previously unknown,” guest curator Judy Bonzi says.

The “Erban” bycycle at Messler, made with bamboo and hemp.

The exhibit includes work from Analog Watch Co. in Philadelphia; David Rasmussen Design in Carbondale, Colo.; Erba Cycles of Boston; Grain Surfboards of York, Maine: and JD Wagner, a rod maker in Parma Heights, Ohio.

Cabinet by Niche finalist John Williams.

The Messler Gallery is part of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, a nonprofit, year-round school that offers courses in furniture making, carving and woodturning.

Niche Award winners named

In January, 170 winners of the Niche Awards were selected from more than 1,000 entries.

The awards program is sponsored by Niche magazine, a trade publication for independent retailers. The list of winners in all 34 categories is available at

The program began in 1989 to recognize the outstanding creative achievements of American craft artists who produce work for craft galleries and retail stores. Judging is based technical excellence, market viability, and creative thought.

The winners were announced at the American Made Show, held at the Washington Convention Center, a national wholesale marketplace featuring more than 700 exhibitors and 5,000 buyers.

Applications for the 2016 Niche Awards will be available this spring.


Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, 25 Mill St., Rockport, ME 04856. Tel: 207-594-5955.

Niche Awards, 3000 Chestnut Ave., Ste. 300, Baltimore, MD 21211. Tel: 410-889-3093.

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue.

Related Articles