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Thos. Moser: Legacy in Wood

Thos. Moser: Legacy in Wood a traveling exhibition illustrating the artistic vision of Tom Moser, Maine’s legendary furniture maker, will be on view through January 13, 2018.

“The traveling exhibition is the first retrospective of Tom Moser’s 45-year contribution to art, craft, design, and entrepreneurship in Maine,” comments the exhibition’s curator Donna McNeil. “This version of the traveling exhibit has some commonalities with its installations in the other two venues. In many ways it is unique. Different pieces of furniture and new styles will be featured. Some pieces made by a new generation of designers, all inspired by Tom Moser’s vision and working at Thos. Moser, Handmade American Furniture, will be highlighted as well.”

In addition to showcasing beautiful furniture, Thos. Moser: Legacy in Wood, includes a wood-bending jig from the factory floor and hands-on joinery examples to display how the furniture is made. A small carousel horse, hand-carved by Tom Moser in collaboration with Ramsy Uter, a craftsman at Thos. Moser, Handmade American Furniture since 2007, makes its debut as part of the Maine State Museum’s exhibit.

In 1972, Tom Moser was a tenured professor at Bates College when he took a year off to make furniture, and never went back. His early designs were based on classic New England furniture, such as Windsor chairs and ladder-back Shaker chairs. Forty-five years later, the design of his sinuous take on the Windsor has been updated several times. It is joined by a twenty-first century interpretation, fittingly called the Sequel, and other iconic designs that will be included in the museum’s exhibit.

As Tom Moser tells it, he has always had, and still has, a compulsion to build. “To this day, I cannot imagine a life in which I am not creating objects in three dimensions. The urge runs deep in my bones, and for better or worse, I define myself by my output. The unexamined life may or may not be worth living, but for me, life without a project is at best a shallow experience.”

The result of Tom Moser’s compulsion was first a one-man shop in New Gloucester, Maine where his family’s dining room was the showroom for his furniture. Now, Thos. Moser, Handmade American Furniture, based in Auburn, Maine, employs more than 100 people, including three generations of Mosers, and has showrooms across the country.

The exhibit catalog, “Moser: Legacy in Wood” by Thomas Moser and Donna McNeil will be available for sale in the Maine State Museum Store throughout the exhibit’s run. Thos. Moser: Legacy in Wood was organized by Maine College of Art, Curator, Donna McNeil.

Above: Ramsy Uter and Tom Moser work on their carving of a small carousel horse that makes its debut at the Maine State Museum’s exhibition, Thos. Moser: Legacy in Wood.

Maine State Museum