Twenty years ago I was in Chicago on business and I had a free day and decided to visit the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum has an amazing collection, but it was one piece that really changed me forever. I discovered a music stand by Wendell Castle.
The music stand mesmerized me. It had amazing, sinuous lines. It was at once a useful item and also, unquestionably, art. I’m in awe of it and it still inspires me. Take a look at it here.
It was only a few years later that my wife and I left our life in New York City to return to my native Maine. Even as I continued my work for a New York-based company, I was spending nights and weekends fixing up a 200-year-old farmhouse we’d bought from a member of the family that had built it and owned all those years. It was designing and building a frame and panel kitchen from antique lumber I found in the barn, that set me on a new path.
A Return to Creating
In 2009, we’d left Maine and were living in Newburyport with our three daughters, and I decided to change careers and become a full-time furniture maker. It has been an excellent journey because the joy of the job is working with customers to make items that fit their personality and space.
In a way, the change was a return to my roots. My parents were both painters and my father, Robert Eric Moore, supported the family entirely by selling watercolor and acrylic paintings. One of my sisters is an artist and the other owns an art gallery in New York City. Some of my earliest memories were of my parents debating the color of the sky — was it really cerulean blue? Aesthetics and art were always important.
Many types of furniture inspire me. I love the functional aspects and simplicity of Shaker, but I also appreciate the inlay ornamentation on Federal period furniture. The carvings of Samuel McIntire, who lived and worked in Salem, Mass., are fabulous. Like my father, I love Japanese art. And Japanese joinery is just amazing — I recently had the opportunity to recreate an intricate Japanese joinery method in a table leg connection.
This and much more informs my work. And I learn from my customers who bring their own inspirations and knowledge to the design process. I’ve also learned a lot from fellow New England woodworkers. I have had a long association with the non-profit educational organization The Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers. I’ve learned so much from GNHW members and I’ve given back by having edited some publications and having served on the Board of Directors.
Reflecting my love of hand tools, I’m a long-time leader of the Guild’s “Hand Tools & Carving” group.
More than 12 years into my professional woodworking journey, I’m pleased to say that my furniture is now in homes across the country— even in Alaska. It is my hope that one of my pieces will, someday, approach the grandeur of Wendell Castle’s music stand.
Woodworking Education — Studies
- Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Providence, RI
- The Woodwright’s School, Pittsboro, NC
- Maine Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport, ME
- The Furniture Institute of Massachusetts, Beverly, MA
- The Woodturning School, Damariscotta, ME
- Homestead Woodworking School, Newmarket, NH
Columbia University, Master of Science
Bowdoin College, A.B.
- Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce
- The Furniture Society
- Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers
- American Association of Woodturners
- Society of American Period Furniture Makers