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Shakers outsource chair making

For first time, they’re licensing production to outsiders in a bid to keep the brand alive

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NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine — In the pantheon of American decorative arts, Shaker furniture holds a high place, inspiring generations of designers and craftsmen hoping to replicate the clean lines, timeless quality, and exquisite simplicity.
 
Now, for the first time, the United Society of Shakers will license the manufacturing of its classic ladderback chairs and rockers to an outside party, not only to help support the Sabbathday Lake community of Shakers here, where the last three members of the 275-year-old Christian sect live, but also to continue the Shaker tradition of craftsmanship.
 
The licensing deal comes from a partnership between the Shakers, the Maine retailer Chilton Furniture, and the New Hampshire furniture maker Tappan Chairs. Tappan will craft, by hand, the Alfred Side Chair and Alfred Rocker, named for the vanished Shaker community in Alfred, a Southern Maine town. ...see original coverage...