Vermont Artisans Designs | Brattleboro's Fine Arts Gallery
Looking for an escape from the elements this weekend?  Head over to downtown Brattleboro and check out the beautiful artwork at Vermont Artisans Designs, Brattleboro’s Fine Arts Gallery.

If you’re in Brattleboro this weekend for the Harris Hill Ski Jumping events and you need an escape from the cold, why not head downtown and wander around Main Street?  You’ll find lots of little independent shops and art galleries to duck into– my favorite being Vermont Artisans Designs at 106 Main.

Owners Suzy and Greg Worden always have an eclectic mix of handcrafted artwork by some of the most talented artisans in Vermont and New England.  You’ll find paintings, sculpture, pottery, hand-painted silk, carefully turned salad bowls; exquisitely finished furniture, lamps and other wonderful items crafted by well-established and emerging artisans.

This month, Vermont Artisan Designs Gallery is featuring the portraits of Juan Jr. Ramirez, and paintings by a variety of artists including Deborah Lazar, Carol Gobin, Paul Stone, Jeanette Staley, Jim Murphy and Dane Tilghman.

If this weekend doesn’t give you enough time to take in all the art Vermont Artisans has to offer, come back for Brattleboro’s monthly Gallery Walk.  It’s held on the first Friday of each month.   You’ll see why Brattleboro was named the No. 11 Best Small Town in America by Smithsonian Magazine and has consistently been in the Top 25 Best Arts Towns with populations of 100,000 or fewer.

Enjoy your weekend in Brattleboro– inside and out!

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.

Valentines Day in Vermont
Celebrate Valentines Day in Vermont by commissioning a heart-shaped chair at Steve Holman’s custom artisan furniture studio or renewing your wedding vows at the Mount Snow Cloud 9 Nuptials.

Try celebrating Valentines Day in Vermont!  Your romantic adventures could include anything from a visit to master craftsman Steve Holman’s  studio to getting married on the slopes of your favorite ski resort.

Steve’s one of our favorite Vermont artisans, crafting the impossible out of wood and transforming it into beautiful, often whimsical furniture.  Every Valentine’s Day I think of Steve’s bright red, heart-shaped chair.  Wouldn’t this be a show-stopper gift for your honey on a day like today?

If you’re looking for an outdoorsy agenda for Valentines Day, how about a trip to Mount Snow for the second annual Cloud Nine Nuptials?  Last year 20 couples  renewed their vows and three couples tied the knot for the first time at the summit of Mt Snow. The event is free, taking place on the Cloud Nine trail where a local justice of the peace conducts a ceremony around a giant heart painted on the snow.

For more Vermont Valentines Day activities, check out Ski Vermont or stop by Vermont Teddy Bear where you can buy the world’s most expensive teddy bear.  It’s the Big Hunka Love Bear and he goes for $30,000 including the 6 carat diamond ring he’s wearing.

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.

I got a mysterious brown paper package in the mail yesterday.  The return address label said Mountaine Meadows Vermont Made Pottery, South Ryegate, Vermont.  I thought it was going to be a sample from one of our craftspeople in the Northeast Kingdom but instead it was an unexpected gift from my old pal, Doctor Blakley. I used to work for Sally at Tulane University in the distance learning section of the Center for Applied Environmental Public Health.  She was my champion during a pretty difficult time in my life.

But anyway… inside the package was a personal note from Sally and a beautiful handmade wall plaque with the traditional Irish Blessing my mother’s had hanging on the wall of her home for over 50 years:

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face

May the rains fall soft upon your fields

And until we meet again, my friend

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

What a perfect gift!

If you’re ever looking for something special for a friend or relative, check out Mountaine Meadows Vermont Made Pottery.   They have tons of plaques, dishes and magnets with messages of all types:  funny, inspirational, religious, irreverent, sentimental… you name it.  All made in America, handcrafted in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.

And thanks, Sally for your kind and thoughtful support throughout the years.  Did you notice that Mountaine Meadow let’s customers submit sayings for new pottery pieces?  I think I’ll submit one:  “old friends are the best friends”.

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.

President Obama's Limo | Handmade in Vermont
President Obama’s personalized Presidential Limo handcrafted in Vermont by Maple Landmark of Middlebury.  Congratulations to Mike Rainville and his staff for the impressive feat of producing 500 of these 2013 inauguration souvenirs in record time.

President Obama’s Limos

Does this seem excessive?  President Obama was presented with 500 personalized, limited edition limousines on his inauguration day, January 21, 2013.   Each handmade automobile was carefully crafted in Vermont by our friend (and leader of Vermont’s Wood Manufacturers Association VWMA) Mike Rainville and his staff at Maple Landmark Toys.

Dennis and I were lucky enough to see the limos last week at the annual VWMA meeting which was held in Middlebury, Vermont at the headquarters for Maple Landmark.  Actually, the toys were purchased by President Obama’s Inauguration Committee for resale as part of a fundraising activity to defray the cost of inauguration activities.  The cool thing is that there are still a couple of these keepsakes left and you can buy a limo online for $20.  Obama fans: hurry and scoop up this Vermont made souvenir before the secret gets out!

Mike Rainville, Leader of Maple Landmark and VWMA

On another note, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Mike Rainville for his leadership and dedication to our Vermont made furniture and woodworking industry.  As president of our industry group he’s been volunteering huge amounts of his time (for many years!) to promoting our craft and building synergy amongst our members.  As owner and founder of Maple Landmark he acts as an ambassador showing customers all across American and around the world the beauty and quality of Vermont made wood products.

Mike Rainville of Maple Landmark Toys | President Obama's Limos
Mike Rainville gave us a tour of Maple Landmark Toys.  His traditional wooden toys and trains are handcrafted one by one in Middlebury Vermont by Mike, his family members and a dedicated group of 30 employees.  Mike started the toy factory in his parent’s basement (when he was 14) using scraps from his grandfather’s carpentry projects.

Last week Mike told us the story of how President Obama’s inauguration staff phoned him on December 28 to ask if he could design, produce and deliver the limos to Washington for the January 21 event.  Less than a month’s time and during the holidays (a toy makers busiest season) too!  But Mike and his staff were happy for the opportunity and pulled out all the stops to get the job done.  He said the biggest challenge was getting timely government safety ratings and approvals but I guess the mention of his client might have greased the skids a bit on that.  Great job, guys.

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.

Vermont Road Trips
Need a day off from skiing?  Take a Vermont road trip using the VT Forest Heritage trail guide.  Meet Vermont’s furniture makers and see how they incorporate nature into the sustainable furniture they design and build.

Some parts of the Green Mountain State may have run out of snow this week, but don’t let that deter you from jumping in the car and taking a couple Vermont road trips.  Our ski areas all make snow and temps have been perfect for doing that lately, so skiers are in the all set club.  But if you’re not a skier or your knees need a break we’ll post a few Vermont road trip suggestions you may not have thought about yet.

First up is the The Vermont Forest Heritage Trail.  It’s a driving tour of Vermont’s woodworking shops, studios and showrooms– large and small.  You can pick up a guide booklet at any Vermont Welcome Center or download it here.  In it you’ll find a Vermont map with dozens of furniture makers and their studios.  You’ll also find information on Vermont’s sustainable forestry industry and an invitation to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park, a managed forest in the central region of the state.

Here’s your chance to connect with nature and see how Vermont craftspeople incorporate it into the sustainable furniture they design and build.  This initial Heritage Tour goes through the middle of Vermont and features Clear Lake Furniture in Ludlow, Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater and Copeland Furniture in Bradford.  Maple Landmark Toys are also included.  The Vermont Wood Manufacturing Association is working on updating the brochure with additional tours throughout the state so stay tuned for more options.  Happy trails to you!

 

 

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.