A Chat with Emilie Cohen, Expert Artisan
With a background in art, photography, video production, and anthropology, Emilie Cohen is also a picture framer, gilder and frame conservator. Emilie has a broad understanding of period frames, furniture fabrication, art history, ornament design, historical and contemporary materials, and finishing techniques.
Period furniture, architectural moldings and trim work – how did the love affair begin?
I grew up surrounded by furniture made by my grandfather. Almost every room had something of his: a bonnet top highboy and four poster bed with finials in the master bedroom; a secretary with folding tambour doors in the foyer; a demi-lune with gold poled leather top and sides in the hall. You are shaped by the world in which you are raised and these beautiful pieces were the norm. His furniture and memories of visiting his factory as a child continue to fuel my passion for caring for and creating beautiful things to pass down to future generations.
Why would anyone have such wonderful pieces in a house filled with children?
We were taught to take care of them because my grandfather made them. We were instilled with an appreciation for the level of training and effort that went into each piece. My grandfather received his training in the early 1900s in Vilna, Lithuania prior to immigrating to the United States in 1916. He followed in his father’s footsteps who, we were told, made pool tables and furniture for the Czar. I was fascinated by the beauty, craftsmanship, and history from the start.
As your first mentor in this field, what was the most important lesson your grandfather shared?
My grandfather set the standards. Each project, irrespective of age or condition, should evoke the former glory of antique pieces and elicit the inherent beauty of more modern works where craftsmanship and human touch are the norm that guides the work. His principles are what I continue to live by. With Emilie Cohen Studios, I turned my passion into a business that seeks to leave a legacy of beautiful things while fostering the appreciation in the upcoming generation.