Rachel Fuld built the blue bench with the ash top for her daughters.The others are made from reclaimed wormy chestnut.
There are times when things just fall into place, and for furniture designer Rachel Fuld, her career choice was one of them. “I live here in Philadelphia partly because I was unwilling to take the stress of finding a job after college,” she says. “I figured an internship program would be the best way to give me entry into the job market.”
With praise from a former sculpture professor of hers as encouragement, Fuld took an internship with a furniture maker, and she’s been crafting fine furniture ever since. Although the profession found her by happenstance, this commissioned artist has worked at it with determination from the beginning. “For me, building furniture is a constant challenge,” she says. “Of course, some days are easier than others. I aim to create furniture that’s clean, fun, and sophisticated.” Apparently, Fuld has met that challenge, as her work is set to be shown as part of the 37th annual Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show.
Her pieces for the show were designed to capture elegance in simple forms. All are finished with durable, nontoxic milk paint, and they’re all functional but also beautiful, often inspired by the natural world. “Inspiration for designs can come from objects, nature, other people, other art,” Fuld says. “Each new piece of furniture addresses a perceived functional need, as well as my desire to create an organized yet elegant and colorful environment.”
The natural world never seems far from Fuld’s work, which has been shown at local galleries such as The Center for Art in Wood, among other places. The legs of one of her tables may recall the smooth curve of a stem; designs along the side of a cabinet can take the shape of leaves. For a work titled Ossements, she even created coat hangers that resembled bones. That’s not to say that urban life hasn’t affected her work as well. Fuld lives in a metropolis known for its lively art scene, and aside from the other artists and furniture makers who live here, the city itself serves as a muse. “Philadelphia’s unique architecture has influenced the scale of my work,” she says. “The furniture I make is on the smaller side to fit a city house and make a quiet impression in its combination of elegant forms and saturated colors.” The Philadelphia Museum of Art Contemporary Craft Show takes place November 7–10 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets. For tickets, call 215-684-7930 or visit
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