Philadelphia Home Furnishings Show

By Jeffrey Fazio
Special Sections Writer


The modern world offers so many easy answers to home decorating choices, that sometimes better, higher quality possibilities are not investigated.

As a matter of convenience, most things purchased for a home are bought within a limited distance. However, great one-of-a-kind pieces for homes are produced all over the country. The limitations of time and money prevent most people from searching the ends of the earth for that great piece of furniture that complements the decor just right.

For those in the Philadelphia region, there is a solution. Once a year, the Pennsylvania Convention Center hosts the Philadelphia Furniture and Furnishings Show. This is a juried show that features 250 artists from around the country. One weekend a year, the convention center is filled with these artists' high-quality handmade furnishings.

The 2000 show was held May 12 though May 14 and featured artists from as far away as Los Angeles and Canada and artists as nearby as St. Peters, Chester County, and Royersford, Montgomery County.

With this diversity came an overwhelming variety of styles. There was quite literally something for everyone.

The best of show award went to David Merrifield and Angie Bell from Asheville, N.C. Their work consisted of steel-framed cherry cabinets with copper handles. The use of steel allowed their pieces to get height without looking bulky. The delicate look of their furniture came from the clean lines of their designs and qualities of the materials. The contrast of the colors and textures of the steel and cherry in their furniture made the pieces very appealing.

Margaret Forrest of Forrest Furniture in Philadelphia had pieces on display for those with a flair for color, dynamic lines and a truly new look. Her carefully selected color choices accentuated the highly energetic designs that her furniture possessed. Her pieces are the answer for anyone looking for a non-traditional home décor with a taste for the modern.

St. Peters artist Jeanne Petrosky of J.P. Design was exhibiting her handmade paper sculptures in this year's show. The textures of the paper in her work along with the watercolor types of hues she used gave her pieces a very soft feeling. Her whimsical, childlike designs added to the light feeling of her pieces.

In contrast to almost everything else present, Abington artist Sam Ostroff's large steel sculptures and furniture made their mark on this year's show. His Southpaw Studio designs look like something out of a medieval torture chamber with a touch of influence from the futuristic artist H.R. Geiger, who designed most of the sets in the Alien movies. Ostroff's work immediately confronts the viewer with his dark side. Although his work may not appeal to mainstream America, the quality of his craftsmanship and his adherence to his style more than justify his acceptance in the show.

These four artists are just a sample of the variety that existed at this year's show. They can be used as a starting point to visualize the diversity of the other 246 artisans present at the show. For more information on the show, check out their Web site at