Shaker furniture is known for it's clean lines and simplicity, and some even think it was the predecessor to modern furniture.
And while you may know Shaker chairs, there's way more to Shaker style furniture, and Meghan Carter of http://www.AsktheDecorator.com visited Shaker Village in Kentucky to learn all about the Shaker's furniture.
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Meghan: Shaker furniture is known for its clean lines and simplicity and some even believe that is the predecessor to modern furniture and while you may know about Shaker chairs there is much more to Shaker furniture. And I am here at Shaker Village in Kentucky to learn all about it.
I ma hitting the road, searching for answers and finding great design, it is quest for beauty, function and of course, inspiration.
Shaker furniture style and quality was greatly influenced by the shakers religious beliefs. As I learn from Susan Hughes the Interpretation and Education Manager at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.
Susan: The Shakers believe that their work was an act of worship. They did their work the best play they knew how because it gave glory to God. And then part of this goes back to one of their fundamental religious beliefs. They believe they are living in the millennium. A thousand year reign of Christ on Earth. And so if you believe you are living in the thousand year reign of Christ on Earth you have a thousand years to get it right. And so it does not matter whether it is production line mentality. You are not trying to pump out as many chairs as you can you mind that chair the best way you know how.
Meghan: When making furniture the Shakers used common furniture building techniques.
Susan: They used to dove tail, they did use some nails and pegs. They really making furniture the same way that world’s carpenters were making it but they had more time to sort of perfect design there. They weren’t really using a different techniques they were just perfecting those techniques.
Meghan: The Shakers used the same techniques as other furniture makers because their members were often part of the outside world before becoming a Shaker.
Susan: The folks who came here as Shakers were Kentuckians first. And if they you know if the fellow was a cabinet maker he had been making process for instance and knew what made it pretty and he paired the away some of the decorative elements but he still kept that same style.
Meghan: Because some of the Shakers were furniture makers in the outside world before becoming a member of the group Shaker furniture shares similar elements to other styles of furniture.
Susan: There are scenes for Shaker furniture in the Sheraton and Hepton Wide in styles they just got away from all of the decorative elements. A chair is beautiful because it functions well. And so you pair away all the unnecessary decorative items and get back to the simplicity.
Meghan: The simplicity and clean lines of shaker furniture has led many to believe that shaker furniture was a predecessor to modern furniture.
Susan: There are scholars who will agree that Shaker furniture is sort of the precursor to the Danish modern style. We actually have a group of furniture designers from Scandinavia who come here periodically as a study trip to come and study not just the furniture of the architecture to look at and point out the Scandinavian modern style.
Meghan: The clean mind of shaker furniture earns its style points but often times the Shakers were more concern with function. And that can be seen in the differences between shaker furniture from different regions of the country.
Susan: They believe that the beauty of any object was in it’s utility and how it functions. The press here is a good example. You will notice there is floating panel here set in a case that enables the wood to expand and contract along with the changing heat and humidity. A similar piece over here from New England is a solid board because they do not have the heat and the humidity.
Meghan: While Shaker furniture does vary from region to region it still shares a plain and simple aesthetic quality that has made it in an attractive decorating choice from many people. And after learning about it, Susan took me to see what it is like to sit in a chair. Unless you say it takes some getting used to. Well, shaker furniture may not be the most comfortable furniture you ever sit in it does have in an aesthetic appeal that is both simple and calming. And when you a