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

Amazing Comeback

The original science fiction magazine is reborn in New Hampshire.

Joyce LeBlanc's Childrens' Couture

Gorgeous wool coats designed and sewn by Joyce LeBlanc of Rindge.

Start Your Holiday Shopping with NH Open Doors

The statewide touring and shopping event offers art, crafts, jewelry and more.

Celebrating 30 Years of Excellent Theatre

The New Hampshire Theatre Project in Portsmouth kicks off a special 30th anniversary season.

Tales From Fritz

Fritz Wetherbee shared three creepy local stories guaranteed to inspire some Halloween chills. His spooky tales were then turned into short comics illustrated by students from the New Hampshire Institute of Art.

Glass-maker Jordana Korsen

This artist's Hot Glass Art Center is educational and a fun place to hang out.

Blown Away

Opera North resurrects the tradition of grand spectacles at Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish.

Woodworker Evan Court

This artist has a refreshing take on traditional woodworking.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

  1. Prepared for Anything
    As the global future grows more unpredictable, some people are staking out their own worlds and...
  2. 2018's Best New Restaurants
    Over the last year, Food Editor Susan Laughlin traveled the state, searching for notable new...
  3. How Food Can Affect Your Mood
    What you do (and don’t) eat can affect your stress level and more.
  4. Contoocook Cider Company
    This isn't sweet apple juice - good hard cider can be just as varied as wine.
  5. Tales From Fritz
    Fritz Wetherbee shared three creepy local stories guaranteed to inspire some Halloween chills....
  6. The Immortal Daniel Webster
    The great orator, statesman and diplomat Daniel Webster was “God-like” in his day, and,...
  7. Symphony NH Holiday House Tour
    This annual tour and fundraiser, happening December 1-2, will inspire you to decorate your own...
Edit ModuleShow Tags