She is a CEO who brakes for salamanders, has bottle-fed rescued squirrels and spent her vacation building furniture for a rural school in Costa Rica. She believes in the future and in the people who will build it. A former distance-learning professor at Tulane University with a master’s in environmental health & safety, she turned an interest in forest conservation and endangered species into a growing, local business. She delivers rainforest statistics at breakneck speed, but knows how to slow down and appreciate the beauty of a newly finished piece of heirloom furniture.
Last month I took a trip to Manhattan to meet with leaders in the world of home decor and interior design. We talked about the fact that the past several years have been dominated by modern, contemporary decor with lots of metal, glass, upholstery and synthetics. Very little wood. But in 2014 the pendulum is swinging back to home decor that is much more connected to our natural world. Check out Architectural Digest’s latest interiors page and you’ll find the richness of handmade wood furniture, flooring and accessories throughout.
In 2014, interior designers and homeowners are looking to be refreshed by the authenticity and organic nature of real wood in their home decor. Reclaimed wood and metal are perhaps the most popular combination for furniture styles we’ve seen this year. The beautiful occasional tables above (handcrafted by Dan Mosheim and his sons) are a great example.
Here’s another example of handmade wooden furniture that’s trending up this Spring. It’s Copeland’s new Kyoto Dining Furniture Collection– proving that modern and wood are not an oxymoron when it comes to furniture!
Need more inspiration on how to refresh your home with the beauty of handmade wooden furniture this Spring? Visit the Architectural Digest annual Home Show in Manhattan, March 20-23. Or make a trip to beautiful Vermont and enjoy the bounty of nature inside our fine furniture showroom and outside on our scenic woodland trails.
Vermont’s been cold this year. We’ve had a winter like I haven’t seen since I was a kid (when every winter was like this). So Ken and I decided to cash in some FF miles and head south for a week. We like to visit rainforest countries because it gives us a chance to understand the realities and trends behind Vermont Woods Studios’ mission— forest conservation. Central America provides the closest rainforest and we’ve traveled to Costa Rica and Panama before. But after much research we decided to try Nicaragua this time.
When I told my mother and sister we were going to Nicaragua, they hesitated and politely said “be careful”. Ken’s friends said “bring a machete” and “watch out for the Sandinistas”. Douglas and Dennis encouraged us to update our wills before leaving.
Well, I’m here to tell you Nicaragua has changed! No longer a war-torn country, it is now evolving to join it’s Central American neighbors as a warm and welcoming respite for it’s neighbors to the North. Lush rainforests, white sandy beaches, and majestic mountains make up Nicaragua’s landscape. And friendly people reach out to help you find them along with unique, affordable places to stay, play and eat.
We chose Nicaragua because of it’s government’s commitment to the sustainable development of tourism (rather than the depletion of rainforest resources). But recently news has broken of President Daniel Ortega’s $40 Billion deal with Hong Kong to build a canal across Nicaragua (that would compete with the Panama canal). NPR aired a discussion of the catastrophic environmental and cultural devastation that could result.
Hopefully the deal is abandoned in lieu of the economic benefits of eco-tourism. Interested in helping to tip the balance? Learn more about affordable, sustainable Nicaraguan travel at the Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Trip website.
Over the years, I’ve lived and worked in New Orleans a couple times. So when Mardi Gras rolls around its always fun to celebrate and reminisce about the Big Easy. This year is especially exciting because we have five original New Orleans jazz paintings featured in our gallery at Stonehurst. They are the creations of Linda Eaton Marcille, an award winning artist from Westminster, Vermont whose work hangs in public and private collections, across the country and internationally.
Linda’s jazz paintings are on silk, a medium that few artists will attempt. If you’re a jazz lover or an art collector, stop by and see them at Stonehurst! They are truly world class art.
About Silk Painting
Even at the hands of a master, silk paintings can take months to complete. The images are created with French steam set dyes that shimmer on this charmeuse silk. The jewelry in each painting is created with a metallic resist called gutta that sparkles like real gold.
“Silk painting is an ancient Asian art form and it is very unique and mysterious. The silk itself is seemingly so fragile yet it is one of the strongest fibers in nature. There is also a serendipitous quality to painting on silk with dyes. The process never allows the artist to be fully in control or to know exactly the effect that will be created. “Painting on silk is an incredibly time-consuming and unforgiving medium. Just one drop of misplaced dye, or a broken resist line, and days of painstaking work are ruined. As challenging as painting on silk is, however, it is also one of the most rewarding art forms because the dyes take on the silk’s iridescent sheen producing an awe-inspiring range of reflective color that no other medium is capable of creating,” Linda Marcille
Jazz in Vermont
You might not think of Vermont as being synonymous with Jazz but we actually have quite a respectable jazz and blues community here. Burlington has hosted the Discover Jazz Fest annually for the last 30 years, proudly featuring such jazz legends as Sarah Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall… I could go on but you can get the whole run down here on the Discover Jazz Fest website.
Just down the street, we have the Vermont Jazz Center at the Cotton Mill in Brattleboro, VT which is now in its 37th year. Founded by legendary guitarist Attila Zoller, the Center is now run by pianist, Eugene Uman and features a summer jazz workshop, monthly concert series, Wednesday night jam sessions, and frequent collaborations with area schools, jazz art organizations and businesses.
How to Purchase Linda’s Paintings
Do you have the perfect spot in your home for this remarkable series of Jazz paintings on silk? We are proud to be able to offer them for purchase here at Stonehurst. These are the only jazz paintings Linda has done out of an extensive body of work over many years and she will not be creating more like them. They are an investment sure to increase in value.
The original paintings are priced at $800 each to the person or family who will cherish and care for them. We would prefer to sell them as a set or perhaps split them into two sets, if necessary. Dimensions are 29″W x 25″H, matted and framed (actual image approximately 20″W x 15″H). For additional information or to purchase please call Peggy, Liz or any of our sales team at Vermont Woods Studios. Looking to buy just one? We’ll talk.
No tour of Vermont’s luxury home decor brands would be complete without a visit to Anichini, Inc. The Green Mountain State is home to this mecca for high end interior designers who feather the nests of the rich and famous. The company, founded 26 years ago by Susan Dollenmaier, has become the “most prestigious brand of luxury textiles and home furnishings”. It is a full spectrum textile company specializing in rare and handcrafted fabrics and products. I visited Anichini’s new design center in Quechee, VT last week while on my tour of Vermont’s top luxury home decor brands. May I just say right here and now that I have never seen a collection of such beautiful and luxurious fabrics in all my life? What an indulgence for the senses. All of them… not just sight… so many different textures and subtle fragrances of linens, cottons, wool, cashmere and other fibers. Wow.
Anichini Inc. imports fabrics (Muga silks from Assam, Tibetan cashmere woven in Nepal, Ottoman inspired velvets and tapestries from Turkey, Renaissance replications from Umbria, Linen from Lithuania, Woven silks from Morocco) because they are simply unavailable in the USA. However, as shown in this video (The Craftsmanship of Rural Women) those fabrics are sewn here in Vermont by a group of talented seamstresses in Turnbridge.
Found in the linen closets of royal palaces and celebrities around the world, Anichini fabrics round out Vermont’s luxury home decor brand portfolio. They are future heirlooms that celebrate the “extraordinary designs, rare materials, and traditional techniques that are soon to be lost. ” Come see them for yourself! We hope to be featuring a nice selection of Anichini linens at Stonehurst, which will soon be your launch pad into the world of Vermont’s authentic, handcrafted home furnishings.
Next stop on my tour of Vermont’s luxury home decor providers is lighting manufacturer, Hubbardton Forge. If you’ve had to buy or install lighting fixtures over the last few decades you’re no doubt aware that most lighting is manufactured in Asia these days and the quality isn’t what it used to be.
Enter Hubbardton Forge of Castleton. The company was established in 1974 by two guys in a barn who set out to revive the forgotten craft of hand-forging raw metal into contemporary designs. Today the business started by George Chandler and Reed Hampton is one of the largest contemporary commercial forges in America. Forty years of practicing time honored principles have built an international reputation for innovative designs, simplicity and integrity.
During my visit to the forge I met with Art Director, Wendy Fannin to show her what we’re doing at Stonehurst and discuss possible strategies to cross-promote our products. Both companies share a passion for simple elegance, traditional craftsmanship and a commitment to environmental stewardship so it seems some synergy could be achieved.
At Vermont Woods Studios we’re looking forward to receiving our first order of Hubbardton forge chandeliers, floor lamps, sconces and table lamps very soon and I’m eager to see how they transform our space. They’ll be accompanied by fine furniture from studios all around the state, glassware from Simon Pearce, ceramics from Laura Zindel and hopefully linens from Anichini and furniture/pottery from Shackleton-Thomas.
Keep posted on our latest inventory and/or plan a trip to see everything in person at Stonehurst!