Today, Joanne & I had the pleasure of meeting with our friend, Dale Couch, who is the  Curator of the Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts at the Georgia Museum of Art.  Our visit to the Museum, which is on the campus of my alma mater, The University of Georgia, centered around Dale's invitation for me to join him in developing a paper and presentation for the Georgia Museum of Art's biennial Henry D. Green Symposium, Feb. 2–4, 2012.  Wow... what a fantastic opportunity! 

Our project will focus on an analysis of Georgia's oldest known documented Windsor Chair, which is part of the permanent collection at the Museum, and other similar chairs that are believed to be from within the region.  This collaboration will leverage Dale's years of decorative arts experience and vast knowledge of early chairs from the region with my experience as a Windsor Chairmaker, Cabinetmaker, and period furniture enthusiast.  We will be combining our very different backgrounds to form, "Where Scholar Meets Maker."

The opportunity to get my hands on a chair of this stature to analyze, measure, and reproduce it for historical research and to present it to an interested Symposium audience is exciting!  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be involved with a museum at this level.

This chair was acquired by the Georgia Museum of Art in the Fall of 2010 and is the focus of our analysis and presentation for the Symposium. Photo courtesy of Brunk Auctions and the Georgia Museum of Art. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Levon Register.

But what does all of  this have to do with New Windsor?  In a word - lots.  For starters, as mentioned above, Dale is a true scholar of early chairs of the Georgia Piedmont, however, what I didn't tell you is that Dale is a retired Senior Archivist from the Georgia State Archives with an immense knowledge of both the broader geographic area and history.  His understanding of the area, as well as period furniture forms, runs deep and rich.  So I ask you, if you were to venture out to create an authentic 18th century cabinetmaker's shop in North Augusta, SC that was as true to its origins as it was back in the day, wouldn't it be nice to know someone who had an interest and expertise in the Savannah River Basin, the history of the people who emigrated to that region, and knowledge of the period furniture forms that existed in the area?   Wouldn't it also be nice if this person understood the more "advanced" furniture forms that existed in the more urban populations centers like Charles Towne AND had the discernment to know the difference between the two in order to authentically represent the furniture, the people and the time period of New Windsor.  But who could do that?  In a word - "Dale".

The opportunities to collaborate with Dale extend way beyond the 2012 Symposium.  Our recent conversations have already provided clarity of thought on furniture from the Augusta area.  I hope to foster a relationship between the New Windsor Shop and the Henry D. Green Center for the Study of the Decorative Arts that will help both groups better understand the furniture of the 18th Century New Windsor/Augusta area - working hand-in-hand as Scholars and Makers.

Hope to see you in Athens for the Symposium in February 2012.


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