The Alfred Village Shaker Chairs
A historic collaboration with the Sabbathday Lake Shakers and Chilton Furniture
In late 2014, we were honored to chosen by Chilton Furniture and the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in New Gloucester, Maine to re-introduce two iconic Shaker chairs to production. The originals — a side chair and rocking chair, both with tall, bent ladder-backs — were crafted in the Alfred, Maine Shaker Community between 1830 and 1850 (the Alfred Shakers moved to Sabbathday Lake in 1931). This partnership is unique in the history of Shaker furniture as this is the first time that the Shaker community in Maine has collaborated with an outside manufacturer to produce one of its iconic chairs.
Left to right: Michael Graham, director of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village; Nate Gobeil, general manager at Chilton Furniture; Brother Arnold Hadd of the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community; Adam Nudd-Homeyer, owner and craftsman at Tappan Chairs. Photo courtesy of Sean Hurley.
As crafted by Tappan Chairs, the Alfred Chairs are re-entering production using many of the same 19th century processes and techniques that the original Shakers used. Tappan Chairs is crafting these pieces not as copies—but rather, in the spirit of a continuation of the original production. Quality control is supervised by the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake, and each chair is individually numbered and stamped with the Shaker brand.
In early 2015, NHPR's Sean Hurley contacted us about a piece on Tappan Chairs...little did he know at the time of this historic project that was in the works! Sean quickly saw the significance of this story, and we can't thank him enough for his work in bringing attention to this special project and community. Thanks to Sean, coverage of this project expanded further, with subsequent articles in the Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe. We cannot even begin to say how humbled and thankful we are to be part of this great undertaking with the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community.