ROCKPORT—The farewell exhibition at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship for Executive Director and furniture maker Peter Korn includes a mysterious cabinet by Silas Kopf that features the image of a macaw in a cage. It’s magnificently created—as all of the furniture and art pieces out of this gallery tend to be—but it’s also furniture with built-in Easter Eggs and delights. This cabinet has a trompe l’oeil door, mechanical parts, and secret compartments activated by motors. While it’s functional, it’s also a bit like finding a secret passageway and experiencing the childlike surprise as the furniture “squawks back” at you once a door is opened.
Kopf, who lives in Massachusetts, has been part of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship from the school’s beginnings. With a career that started in 1974, Kopf became friends with Korn who was running a wood program at a school in Colorado.
“When Peter started his own school here in Maine, I was on his list of people to teach a workshop,” he said. “I taught almost from the beginning and I’d go back to teach every other year. I’ve been back a handful of times in the last 10 years. I’m honored to be part of this last exhibit.”
“Straight from the Heart,” a farewell exhibition curated by the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship’s outgoing founder and Executive Director, Peter Korn, has opened at the school’s Messler Gallery in Rockport, ME. The show runs through January 5, 2022 and visitors are most welcome.
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The Macaw cabinet took longer than normal to construct due to the pandemic.
“I was working with someone in North Carolina to do the electronics because I don’t do that, and when everything halted, that piece was put on hold,” he said. “We finally got together this summer and finished it.”
Though something “goofed up on the electronics” admitted Kopf, the cabinet was still delivered to Maine and will eventually be fixed. Watch the embedded video to see how the piece originally worked.
Kopf’s other fine furniture, which can be viewed on his website, often includes animal imagery, and often in whimsical ways, such as other cabinets featuring parrots and one oval cabinet featuring rabbits chasing a fox called “Bad Hare Day.”
As for Macaw, Kopf said, “I’ve done a bunch of pieces with hidden compartments in them, where you’d push a button and a drawer would slide out. I like the engineering of it—it’s a challenge to make all that stuff work and be relatively hidden.”
The exhibition, according to the release, is Korn’s homage to mentors and peers whose work he greatly admires, whose friendship has enriched his five-decade career, and whose knowledge and participation have contributed to the success of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. It presents superlative pieces made by 17 renowned furniture makers, turners, and sculptors between 1965 and 2021.
Follow Kopf’s work on Facebook and Instagram
To learn more about the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship visit their website.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com
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