Read the feature in Richmond Magazine’s River City Roundup 

January 15, 2022 through April 17, 2022


Atavistic Memories: The Studio Furniture of Sam Forrest explores the American Studio Furniture Movement through the hands of furniture maker Sam Forrest (1936–2021). Bringing together furniture, painting, and archives, the exhibition considers the intellectual statements of an artisan outside the constraints of the past and the advanced technology of the twentieth century. For Sam, his craft was a quality or state of being in which he permitted his subconscious to reveal itself through skillful woodwork.

Forrest devoted more than fifty years to handcrafted woodworking, from household objects to church altars. Showcased are more than forty works locally sourced from family, friends, collectors, and Sam’s last home, the Haiku (Hyco) House, in Mathews, Virginia. Atavistic Memories: The Studio Furniture of Sam Forrest encapsulates the spiritual tenacity and structural process of a man engaged in the delight and dilemma of the resistance of wood.

Atavistic Memories: The Studio Furniture of Sam Forrest is organized by The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design and is generously supported by:

Patsy K. Pettus


The exhibition would not have been possible without the following individuals, who gave generously of their time, expertise, collections, and memories of Sam:

Bo Forrest

Mark Lenz, Tabitha Ramseyer, Joe Ramseyer, Hyco House, Mathews, VA

Jennifer Schroeder, Bay School Community Arts Center, Mathews, VA

Scott Braun, Assistant Professor, Area Head in Wood, Craft/Material Studies, VCUArts

Arthur and Lloyd Backstrom

Sharon Leahman

Ryland and Monika Fleet

Rubin Peacock

Alan Lazarus

Catherine Venable

Zarina Fazaldin

Andrew Willner

Maurice Beane