Red_upholstered_heart_shaped_chairs Sorry to interrupt our train of thought on the Manifesto, but this too is very urgent.  What have you done for Valentine's Day?  It's not just for your one true love, you know.  Here's a link to World Wildlife Fund's free Valentine's email cards to help you out in recognizing all the special green people in your life.

Oh and a reminder for those on a more generous budget. You can still surprise the love of your life with the gift of our heart-shaped chair handcrafted by Steve Holman. This figured maple chair with velvety red upholstery can be customized to include your names, date or other creative personal touches. Like your enduring devotion, these heirloom chairs will be around forever – or at least for generations!

Vermont Woods Studios Custom Artisan Furniture

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Red_upholstered_heart_shaped_chairs Diamonds, rubies, furs, bonbons…if none of these will be quite creative enough to make the splash you need on Valentines Day, how about our fine furniture adorable handmade, heart-shaped chairs?  Deirdre Woolard of the Luxist writes, "The thing about these Valentine chairs that makes them amazing is all the little details like the way the heart on the chairback is broken so that is slightly curves in to support your back and the darling little red shoes on the end of the chair legs. The chairs are made of sturdy maple with soft velvety red upholstery. The chair sells for $3950 but is as much of an heirloom as any piece of jewelry."  Purchase online, email us or call for more information (888-390-5571).  Happy Valentine's Day!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Meg Flaherty:  I had the recent opportunity to interview Vermont Woods artisan David Holzapfel, whose truly unique work with forgotten and "unwanted" hardwood treasures is showcased proudly in our online gallery.

David_holzapfelDavid and his wife Michelle, another Vermont Woods artisan known for her exquisite work with objects and vessels, live and work in Marlboro, VT as they have for years.  Their shared passion for hardwood artisanry led them to found their own studio in 1976, where Michelle remains fully employed.

David and Michelle are lucky in the time they are allotted to focus on their work.  Although David has been an elementary schoolteacher in Marlboro for twenty odd years, the structure of the academic year affords him large blocks of unadulterated time to spend in his studio.  And though holding two full time jobs can be exhausting, David admits "that there are very, very few studio furniture makers– and I know a goodly number– who are able to work full-time in their studios."  In the roller coaster world that is the artisan furniture market, David is able to rely on his stable teaching salary when the going gets tough.

Like many of our custom furniture makers, most of David’s work is by commission; the process of collaboration is central to his work.  Even the acquisition of his raw materials is a cooperative venture; David has formed a symbiotic relationship with local loggers who bring him bits of non-commercially-salable hardwood in exchange for a small supplementary income not otherwise available in the lumber market.  This way he not only saves the wood itself and gives it new life, he can trace its history back to the exact plot of forest in which it was found, by someone he knows he can trust. 

David has been associated with Vermont Woods Studios for a couple of years now.  While he and Michelle continue to show in galleries and exhibitions from time to time, their main focus of marketing remains at home: at their studio, its website, and ours.  Ironically enough, it is rare for David to receive any local commissions; most of his clients are from other parts of the United States and Canada.  He says that VWS has made things easier for him, in that it "gets [his] work out to a new, interested and select audience."

For the artisan furniture maker, however, things are never simple.  "The market is too thin," David says; "Ikea and other such companies will always be cheaper and take a larger portion of the pie," but "we keep moving on, responding to anyone who expresses interest and providing as much information as we can."  Hopefully, Vermont Woods can provide a kind of extra exposure for its artisans that remains compatible with their marketing philosophy and principles.  "It’s not like the hard-sell of a used car or kitchen appliance," David says; it deserves its own specific kind of marketing.  What Vermont Woods does, we hope, is get David’s work into the eyes of a more specialized clientele, which will hopefully increase his business.  David has said that, "Peggy’s vision for VWS is attractive to makers…. philosophically and business-wise, and the diversification she promotes is essential."

Thank you, David, for your time.  I’m sure I speak for everyone who reads our blog that we are appreciative of the extra insight into your artistry and process!

As always, you can see examples of David and Michelle’s work– or commission new pieces from them– in the Custom Artisan Furniture section of our website.  Happy shopping!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Green_wood_chairs_latin_america

Last week
while I was at the Providence Fine Furnishing Show I was lucky enough to meet
Brian Boggs and Scott Landis of GreenWood/Madera Verde. Both gentlemen were
instrumental in establishing a community-based sustainable forestry initiative
in Latin America whose mission is to increase the value of the forest to its
inhabitants through appropriate woodworking technology. As with our project with
LaChonta in Bolivia, the GreenWood affiliated forest dwellers are able to earn
more by managing their forest than they would make from conventional agriculture
or destructive logging.  Since GreenWood’s inception in 1993, It has trained
more than 40 artisans, adding to the forest economy of more than five different
communities. Employing mainly handtools and lesser known wood species, these
artisans have produced a wide range of furniture, craft products and boat and
guitar parts.  I spoke to Brian and Scott about importing some of these products to make available to our customers, but GreenWood is not yet able to accomodate our needs.  Perhaps in the future.

We commend
Brian and Scott and thank them for their hard work and impressive results.  And
BRAVO, Brian for winning Best in Show for an individual piece at Providence! 
And BRAVO Scott for your
excellent books on woodworking.  Best of luck with GreenWood.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.