Last week on my tour of luxury Vermont home decor companies I stopped to visit Charles Shackleton and his wife Miranda Thomas at their studios in Bridgewater, Vermont. Charlie is perhaps one of Vermonts most beloved furniture makers. He’s famous for his steadfast belief in the integrity and enduring value of true handcrafted furniture. You won’t find cnc routers in Charlie’s shop! Everything is traditionally carved and crafted by hand, making each piece a unique work of art. Dennis pointed out that Charlie is making the Chippendales of tomorrow. It’s the stuff Christie’s and Sotheby’s will be competing for in years to come.
What’s a Naked Table?
“We invite businesses, friends and families to our workshops to make tables for themselves to last for ages to come. Each piece in the Naked Collection is made from the iconic Sugar Maple harvested in the forests we visit (inverse from conventional methods of deforesting and sourcing wood from anywhere in the world)… The table has come to symbolize our community’s connection to our local environment and our ability to make something of it.” … Charles Shackleton
The Work of Human Hands
Charlie notes that humans have a natural tendency to want to make things, using their hands in particular. “It’s a satisfying “buzz” of creativity, comparable to baking a loaf of bread from the grains of a wheat plant. When a finished piece expresses our creativity, either through the natural beauty of the wood, the design or the marks of shaping left by the human hand, it sends a message. In these times when so much is mass produced in factories by automated machines on the other side of the world, many are treasuring that message and the natural resources that surround it..”
Visit the Shackleton Thomas store in Bridgewater, VT or their website to learn more and shop. Next week: a quiz about Miranda’s pottery. Hint: yes it is displayed in the White House and the Vatican in addition to dozens of other prestigious locations around the world.
Luxury home decor aficionados: do you long for days past when real, honest, human craftsmanship was the means of producing quality, long lasting goods for your home? Are you tired of disposable everything and looking to add authenticity and character to your home– a few things with substance that are designed to be enjoyed forever? Well Vermont has a treat for you. Four of America’s top luxury home decor brands are headquartered in the middle of the Green Mountain state– all within a comfortable driving distance of each other. I made the tour myself last week, while preparing our Stonehurst gallery to begin carrying a selection of items from each company. Here is what I found at my first stop, Simon Pearce.
Simon Pearce Glassware
With the rich history of Irish glass blower Simon Pearce behind it, this company leads the way in high end, hand blown glass and table ware. Headquartered in Windsor Vermont, Simon Pearce creates glass and ceramic “products that are beautifully designed, produced with premium quality materials and time-honored techniques and intended for a lifetime of everyday use”.
Simon Pearce Pottery
Learn more about Simon Pearce, his story and products on his website. Or better yet, come up to Vermont for a visit! You can use Stonehurst, our fine furniture, home decor and art gallery as a launchpad to Simon Pearce and the rest of Vermont’s luxury home decor companies.
The other three luxury home decor brands I’m thinking of? Stay tuned, there’s more to come but you’ll find hints on Kelsey’s new Vermont luxury Pinterest board. Let us know on our Facebook, about any other brands you’d like to learn more about.
Last week I managed to escape from the office and take a road trip. The excuse (er… purpose) was to visit Vermont’s top luxury home decor businesses. Maybe this won’t surprise you — it turns out that in addition to being the fine furniture capital of America, Vermont is second to none in many other types of authentic, handmade home decor. The Green Mountain State hosts hand blown glass blower Simon Pearce, hand forged lighting manufacturer, Hubbardton Forge, hand loomed artisanal fabrics maker, Anichini and handcrafted furniture and pottery maker, Shackleton Thomas.
We felt these companies should be featured at Stonehurst, making it a complete showroom for Vermont’s best, high quality, handcrafted home goods. So I was chosen as the lucky one to make the rounds and pitch the idea. I was met with nothing but kindness and enthusiasm. Wendy Fannin at Hubbardton Forge, Heather Carey at Anichini, Maria Parrado at Simon Pearce, Charlie Shackleton and Miranda Thomas were all very supportive of our plans (thanks guys!).
Over the next few months we’ll be hard at work, adding these new products to our showroom. A nice selection of items will also be added to our online store. Stay tuned for more details as they unfold!
Today it’s my great pleasure to welcome our newest team member, Nina Narkiw to Vermont Woods Studios. As a professional photographer, Nina will be working with Dennis and Kelsey in our Marketing department. Her focus will be on conveying the beauty and quality of Vermont’s fine furniture to those who are unable to visit our Stonehurst showroom and see it in person.
A graduate of Johnson State College with a BA in Studio Art and a concentration in photography, Nina made the Presidents List and graduated magna cum laude. She owns White Blossom Art, a small business that offers wedding photography, fine art photography and paintings. In her “spare time” Nina helps in the family’s floral business Checkerberry Hill, which specializes in custom floral designs for weddings and other special events.
For Nina, “art is a way of life and not just a hobby”. At Vermont Woods Studios we feel very lucky to have her caliber of talent and drive on our team. Please join me in extending a warm welcome to Nina on our Facebook!
Steve’s article, “Three Vermonters and Their Love of Wood” explores how many of us in Vermont’s artisan community share a vision of using the timeless power of wood and woodworking to change the world:
Gail, a professionally trained musician who learned woodworking and built her own house, is now teaching the craft to other women.
Charlie, a master craftsman (who traveled to Vermont from Dublin Ireland with his friend famed glass blower, Simon Pearce) uses his world-class fine furniture (and wife Miranda’s pottery) to share his passion for authenticity, sustainability and social responsibility.
And Vermont Woods Studios, where we reach out across America through our website to bring furniture buyers into Vermont so they can experience the timeless quality and beauty of handmade wood furniture.
We appreciate Lynn’s support for our craft and her help in raising awareness about value of Vermont’s fine wood furniture business. Keep up with the latest news about the Arts in Southern Vermont and these 3 woodworking businesses: