O.H. Harris' Curved Creations

A local cabinetmaker imbues creativity into his straight-edged designs



A closeup of “Escape Velocity” (walnut, fumed eucalyptus, holly-dyed veneers, shellac, varnish; 46”W 33”H 19.5”D), Harris' contribution to the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Main Event

Photo by Bill Truslow

People often say they can’t draw a straight line. In woodworking, straight is easy, but curves are complex problems. Cabinetmaker and furniture artist Owain Harris claims, “Curves are my thing.” Indeed, he has designed and built cabinets for the curvilinear interior of an Airstream trailer, and he loves the challenges of curved inlays for his casework, admitting, “There is not much room for error.”

Harris, of Barnstead, started as a framing carpenter in his 20s. He “fell in love with making things” and went on to apprentice with a New Hampshire furniture and cabinet maker. Now working in a cooperative workspace in Deerfield, he custom designs mid-century cabinets, Arts and Crafts and French Art Deco entry doors, classic mantels and curved window sashes.

Eighteenth-century furniture makers, whose work is now in museums, were also cabinet makers — the skills are virtually the same. Harris’ fine furniture pieces include elaborate casework with a modern touch using exotic and classic woods, while curves are seen in bowed fronts and whimsical holly wood inlays.

This year, Harris was invited to exhibit in the annual New Hampshire Furniture Masters Main Event, where all work is sold to the highest bidder at a closing auction. His piece for the auction is the sideboard shown here, which he explains as “firework display in wood” created by the tension of the formality of the case visually forcing the inlay through the top of the cabinet.

Harris shares his skills by teaching each year at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, and is a member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. Contact him directly for commission work.


New Hampshire Furniture Masters Main Event

An exhibition of works from this year's event runs from September 21 to October 1 at 3S Artspace, 319 Vaughan St., Portsmouth, with an opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on September 21.

The Main Event, including live and silent auctions and a reception with the Masters, will take place on October 1 from 1 to 7 p.m. at 3S Artspace.

For more information, visit furnituremasters.org.

More NH artisans you might be interested in

Amee K. Sweet-McNamara's Insect Jewelry

Fun and fantasy with polymer clay.

Randy Johnson's Marvelous Spirals

Making a nautilus, almost like nature does.

The Truly Custom Shoe

Renowned cordwainer (shoemaker) Molly Grant offers classes in crafting your own unique pair of shoes.

Fashion Feet First

Look great no matter what you need — from boots for getting through mud season to heels for your next party.

A Local Literary Gem Earns National Accolades

Publishers Weekly names Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord one of the country’s best.

Kristin Kennedy's Fine Jewelry Design

From single stones to complex compositions.

Puzzle Master

David Beffa-Negrini's handcrafted puzzles are challenging and charming works of art.

The Devotional Hymns to Darwin that Inspired Dan Brown

If you are one of the millions expecting to buy Dan Brown’s new book “Origin” for a Christmas (or Solstice) present this year, why not listen in on the music that inspired it?
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. The Last Real Trout Stream
    For the outdoor enthusiast, the farther you travel into the wilderness, the closer you get to home.
  2. A Dining Tour of New London
    There's something for everyone to love in this small town including restaurants, inns and gift...
  3. Discovering Milford
    Don't miss out on the antique (and food) finds in Milford.
  4. Up Our Alleys
    Or should we say “lanes”?
  5. The Case of the Incredible Mystery Team
    Can the Granite State take credit for launching actors Donald Glover and Aubrey Plaza (and...
  6. A Kennel Club Champ Born and Bred in NH
    This year’s “Best in Show” traces his roots back to a pair of devoted dog lovers in...
  7. MLK and New Hampshire
    It was 50 years ago this month that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Tennessee. For...
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags