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N.H. furniture maker wins $25,000 grant

The Society of Arts and Crafts selected Vivian Beer of Manchester, N.H., as its 2013 recipient of the John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship. The fellowship, in the amount of $25,000, is awarded to one artist annually.

Vivian Beer will use the grant to create a mobile studio and a show from the resulting work.

John D. Mineck was a past president of The Society of Arts and Crafts’ board of trustees and a member of Boston’s cultural community. In an effort to support the art that Mineck loved and the people who make it, the foundation created the fellowship to encourage and support an emerging furniture artist with the financial assistance to succeed with their career goals.

Beer is an innovative furniture maker who started her own business in 2006. With the grant money, she aspires to create handmade, one-off objects that manifest the nostalgia of history, the speed of progress and the memory of the human hand.

She will be doing a research travel project in the American West desert, in parts of Southern California, Utah and Nevada, where she will spend two months in an RV with a mobile studio traveling around to different locations with the idea of inspiration, community and adventure.

Essentially, while continuing her own work, she is also trying to encourage and facilitate collaborating with other furniture makers and designers that she’s always wanted to work with, with the idea that each collaboration with the individual is going to end up being an entire body of work.

“It’s going to be traveling, but the community part is I’m inviting different artists from the different locations to come and collaborate with me so there are a lot of different portions of it,” Beer says.

“The first one is going to be a body of work. I started in a residency out in California last year called Desert Impressions and it’s a combination of taking photographs and taking different molds of places in the desert and then use them to make furniture that has the texture of the desert, for instance, cracked mud, and partnering it with a panoramic photograph.”

Beer plans to package the entire project into a show. To follow her blog throughout the course of her project, visit

This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue.

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