by Sara Farizan
PROVIDENCE-There’s something missing from your living space. Perhaps your tired of the sectional sofa in your living room, you’ve always hated that chair that your significant other inherited from their great-grandmother or the feng shui just isn’t doing it for you.
Finally, when you motivate yourself to take action, you are lost in a cookie-cutter landscape of furniture that has been produced and manufactured for the masses. You think to yourself, “I kind of like it, but I know I’ve seen this dinner table somewhere before,” or “Man, the meatballs in the food court are overrated.” It can be difficult to find a piece that is unique, daring, and completely you.
There is, however, an alternative. Mark your calendars for the Fine Furnishings Shows, annual showcases exhibiting furniture and accessories by artisans with one of a kind visions and extraordinary attention to detail. The mastermind behind the three city extravaganza is Karla Little, who in 1994 began to see a trend in soft goods companies catalogues like L.L. Bean. These companies were introducing furniture into their brands and Little, saw a way that local artisans and craftsmen could potentially showcase their own work.
In 1996 the first Fine Furnishings Show had over 80 exhibitors at the Rhode Island Convention Center, and the show has grown and expanded into multiple shows where exhibitors can market their own work and show-goers can purchase or commission custom-made, American furniture.
One formerly featured artist, David Stine, selects and scrutinizes over which of his own trees to cut down, mills it and designs and creates a unique product from scratch. A Baltimore Show artist, Michael Maxwell, creates eye-popping, kitschy chic pieces out of antique pinball machines. These are pieces you will not find at your everyday furniture store, even if they are offering a chance to save depending on how the Red Sox play.
Other things you will see at the show are mirrors, hats, bracelets, vases, necklaces, chaises, clocks, fountains, sculpture hardware, stools, blankets, lighting fixtures and even fancy, hand-crafted spoons to name a few. The styles of the work vary from Art Deco to Japanese to Neo-Classic and the materials used are some of the finest leather, the smoothest wood or hand molded ceramic.
While there are two more recent shows in Baltimore at the Maryland State Fairgrounds and Milwaukee at the Harley-Davidson Museum, this is the first time in the Providence show’s 17 year history that the Providence show will be at the Pawtucket Armory Arts Center, from November 2-4. While the show is far away from now, there is still plenty of time how you can be involved and perhaps even have your own booth for exhbition.
For more information on attending or exhibiting at the show call 401-816-0963 or e-mail [email protected]