Influences III – Shaker furniture

Jun 19, 2010

I first came across the Shakers and their work whilst doing my degree in Three Dimensional Design at the University of Northumbria in the 90’s.

Shaker furniture is widely admired for its simplicity, superb joinery, quality, and functionality. Shaker designs were inspired by the ascetic religious beliefs of the Society. It is the physical embodiment of their faith. Shaker craftsfolk were rather a pragmatic bunch, form followed function, and beauty was seen as a function. A mixture of hand and machine work was employed to produce decorative arts, and objects of everyday life – stoves, woodworking tools and machinery, oval boxes, wooden carriers, buckets, poplar ware, seed boxes, textile equipment, baskets, brooms, clocks, transportation artifacts, and agricultural and medical equipment.

The form and proportion is similar to classical British and American furniture of the same period but is stripped down to just the essence of what is required. An approach I am rather keen on myself.

NK Forster luthier, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Maker of Guitar, Bouzouki, Cittern and Mandolin.