Oral history interview with Silas Kopf, 2004 October 1
Kopf, Silas, 1949-
Cooke, Edward S., 1954-
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America
Place of publication, production, or execution:
Transcript 60 pages.
Originally recorded on 3 compact discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 4 digital wav files. Duration is 2 hr., 54 min.
Access Note / Rights:
Transcript available on the Archives of American Art website.
An interview of Silas Kopf conducted 2004 October 1, by Edward S. Cooke, Jr., for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Kopf speaks of growing up in Warren, Pennsylvania.; being interested in drawing as a child; getting a degree in architecture at Princeton University; visiting Richard Newman at his studio; moving to Rochester and taking classes in woodworking; working for Wendell Castle's studio and the projects they worked on at the time; trying to find his own style and deciding to make marquetry furniture; setting up his own shop; his early influences; moving to Easthampton; working at the Leeds Design Workshop; selling his early works in galleries; traveling to Italy to look at Renaissance intarsia panels; exploring portraiture and trompe l'oeil styles; choosing furniture designs; hiring assistants; taking part in the Woodworker's Alliance for Rainforest Protection; pricing his work; working on commission; and teaching workshops. Kopf also speaks of his favorite furniture pieces; participating in exhibitions; how the market and interest in studio furniture has changed; and visiting France on a fellowship. Kopf recalls George Nakashima, Stephen Proctor, James Krenov, and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Silas Kopf, 2004 October 1. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Transcript available on line.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America. Funding for the digital preservation of this interview was provided by a grant from the Save America's Treasures Program of the National Park Service.
Silas Kopf (1949- ) is a woodworker and furniture maker from Northampton, Massachusetts. Edward S. Cooke, Jr., is an art historian and professor in New Haven, Connecticut.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001