Contemporary furniture featuring abstract patterns and flare has been popular for decades. High-end furniture stores in New York, Paris, London, Rome, Hong Kong, and other major cities are filled with pieces that blend color and unusual shapes to create elegant and functional items. MosArt is one such company that specializes in both modern furniture and vibrant tiles.

MosArt is a modern furniture company that focuses on abstract designs. Founder and artistic designer Bruce M. Schuettinger went to college to study abstract painting, studio furniture, and color theory. He was awarded “best of show” in sculpture for a chair that he designed in 1978 and went on to become a company owner as well as a teacher whose work and #Art has been exhibited all over the world.

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Bruce is currently the president of two companies: Art in Furniture by Schuettinger, Inc., and MosArt where he also serves as an artist and designer.

Bruce M. Schuettinger recently discussed his career in a recent exclusive #Interview.

Furniture, tiles, art, and design

Meagan Meehan (MM): What initially interested you in the arts and how did you come to work with tiles?

Bruce M. Schuettinger (BMS): I was always interested in working with my hands from an early age and then when I went to element school I had an eye for art, both of which have never left me. Over the years, through my college fine art studies and the gift to see and appreciate nature and what God has created, my artistic abilities have united with my thirty-plus years of conserving furniture from the 4th through the 21st century.

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From a practical point, I started working with tiles (mosaic pieces) in the production of some of my furniture because it allowed me to use the small cut offs from various saws, which occur when fabricating furniture. It also allowed me to use thin pieces of highly figured and normally unstable wood in the solid form such as crotches, burls, etc.

From an artistic point, it allowed me to place various colors and grain figures of wood next to each other in an artistic arrangement with grout lines between them that have the effect of emphasizing the directional movement of the design. It also allowed me to the ability to essentially paint with wood much like the 17th and 18th-century marqueteers did with veneer, although my artistic works are based on various forms of abstraction rather than realism.

MM: What sorts of mosaics have you created for clients and were any particularly memorable?

BMS: We have created several pieces for clients and they tend to be based on known fine art movements of the mid-19th through the 20th century to include Cubism, Abstract Expressionism, Abstract Illusionism, Neo Plasticism, etc.

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We enjoy working with our clients to allow them to see their visions and ideas come to life. In addition to designing and fabricating fine art furniture for clients, we create works on speculation that we offer for sale through fine art galleries, shows, and on our and other websites such as Houzz.

MM: Many of your works have a beautiful glossy finish, so how do you create that?

BMS: The finishes we use on our furniture vary depending upon the effect we are seeking. That said, we do prefer higher gloss surfaces because it allows the true beauty of the wood to be revealed. One practice is coating traditional French polish, which is essentially a manner in which shellac is applied. Our higher gloss surfaces are achieved utilizing a combination of materials and application techniques ranging from synthetic highly durable coating and spray application systems to age-old natural resin based coatings applied by brush and hand-rubbed to the 18th-century French polish pad systems. Our French polish finish sometimes requires over fifty layers to achieve its high gloss and pore filled appearance!

Starting a company and goals

MM: How did you initially get your art seen publicly and when did you decide to start your own company?

BMS: I started my career many years ago as a wooden artifacts conservator, a lecturer, teacher, consultant, and personal property appraiser. But, I decided that I wanted to create new work as I had done in my college years. So, I started a new parent company called "Art in Furniture by Schuettinger Inc." and then later developed "MosArt." We exhibit our work at art shows, galleries, and upper-tier craft shows on the East Coast and as far West as Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

MM: What are some of the biggest challenges and rewards pertaining to working in the field of decorative arts?

BMS: The biggest challenge, of course, is to be recognized by the fine and decorative art communities for the quality of our furniture and its artistic merit. Other challenges are keeping up with show schedules and the practical side of simply paying your bills. There does not seem to be, at least at this point, a challenge for developing new ideas or designs; just the time to fabricate them.

The most rewarding aspects are being accepted and appreciated by the fine arts community for our designs and the craftsmanship that our furniture exemplifies. We also feel a sense of gratitude from all the skilled artisans and craftsmen who have come before us for carrying on the highly refined bench skills seen in the 18th and early 19th century’s furniture making a trade. And let us not forget, that smile on our clients' faces when they receive our work!

MM: Right now, it is you and one other #Artist at the company, so can outsiders ever submit mosaic design ideas to you?

BMS: At the moment, it is myself and my long-time coworker who started with me when he was only sixteen years old in a high school apprentice program. Sure, clients can submit their ideas and we would then interpret them in the design and creation of the furniture.

MM: What have been the highlights of working with MosArt and how do you envision it expanding in the future?

BMS: The biggest highlight for me is to simply create art again, what I started to do so many years ago, but changed career paths. Other highlights have been from our clients and people who have simply come up to us in a show or gallery exhibit and have told us that our work is absolutely amazing and they have not seen anything like it before. I also can be in a total state of peace and joy when I am creating, a state of Zen, what a joy and a gift.

One of my goals is to educate the community about not only what constitutes a well-designed and fabricated piece of furniture, but also to educate them through our work of the amazing beauty and sheer variety of wood, that gift to us, from the trees of the world. I am hopeful too that I will be able to grow so that I can employ artisans and craftsman and teach and encourage them along the way, much like a traditional apprenticeship program. We are also attempting to educate potential buyers about LEED certification and how one can have furniture within their collection which abides by these eco-sensitive guidelines and practices.

MM: Is anything exciting happening for MosArt in the near future?

BMS: Indeed, we are going to be represented by two galleries the T. H. Brennen Gallery in Scottsdale Arizona and the Aldo Castillo Gallery in Estero, Florida. We are also participating in several shows to include the Baltimore Fine Craft Show in August, the Western Design Show in Jackson Hole Wyoming in September, the Washington D.C. Show in October and the Spectrum Miami Show in December. Of course, it is always exciting to create new designs!