For centuries, while China was closed to foreigners, Chinese forms found their way into Western furniture. From the frothy fretwork of Chinese Chippendale to the cabriole legs on Queen Anne tables, China has been with us whether we knew it or not. Inspired by China, an extraordinary show at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., asked 22 American, Canadian, and Chinese makers to participate in a three-day workshop on Chinese furniture at the museum. Then each maker built a piece in response to that experience. In this back cover feature, freelance editor Jonathan Binzen briefly describes the show and highlights the work of three artists. The museum also has information about the exhibit on its Web site (

From Fine Woodworking #189