Characteristics Of Amish Furniture
Approximately 150,000 Amish live in North America, many of them in the United States. Like the Mennonites, from which they branched off, the Quakers and the Shakers, they have adhered to a simple life style. This is what makes them an anomaly in today’s world. Their traditional way of life is why those who purchase it in Kalamazoo, MI and elsewhere around the globe treasure Amish furniture.
The approach of the Amish to life is based on their religious beliefs. They perceive everything they do to be in the service of God. They live life simply, without many if not all of the modern conveniences. Hard work is an integral component of their life. They value those who follow this path. This philosophy applies to every aspect of their culture, including their livelihood. For some, this is farming; for others it is the production of fine, quality furniture.
Traditionally, the Amish who work with furniture produce fine pieces of furniture. The quality arises out of this devotion to their ancestry and generations past. Like Craftsmen, Quaker and Shaker furniture, Amish furniture is characterized by the following:
- Simplicity: In design and even construction – no electric tools are employed to create the furniture that lacks frills or ornamentation
- Utilitarianism: furniture is functional. It all has a practical purpose
- Quality Workmanship: No matter how basic the style, each piece is carved slowly and with painstaking care. The natural result is a quality piece
- Durability: Furniture pieces tend to be durable. They are not flimsy but capable of withstanding the everyday wear and tear thrown at it
Wood Choice: Preferred woods include first – oak followed by cherry, hickory, walnut and maple.
- Particle Board: Genuine furniture made by the Amish does not contain any particle board. It must be of real wood
Amish furniture retains old style qualities and methods. The furniture artisans do not use nails or screws to hold items together. Instead, they employ dovetail joinery combining it with tenon joinery and mortise. This applies to the various styles they adopt, including Mission and Shaker.
- Mission Style: classic clean design, straight lines and exposed joinery
- Shaker Style: Simple, elegant, functional and durable
Furthermore, furniture made by the Amish is meant to work with the environment and involves no wasting of wood.
If you live in Kalamazoo, you should be familiar with the beauty and sturdiness of furniture produced by the handicraft arts of the Amish. Like the Mennonites in Ontario, this group of individuals is known for high quality work. Amish furniture, with its simplicity of design and functionality adds a quiet beauty and grace to any home.