December 23rd, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Vermont furniture seems to be getting famous these days. During a down economy when housing sales (traditionally the driver for furniture sales) are in the ditch, Vermont made furniture continues to increase in popularity. As a company that sells exclusively Vermont made furniture, we chat daily with customers who inquire about all the details of our state’s signature craft.
So I’ve begun to compile the essence of these conversations into what we’re loosely calling a Vermont Furniture Encyclopedia. It’s posted on our website and includes topics like the History of Vermont Made Furniture, Vermont Furniture Makers, Vermont Furniture Styles, Sustainability and Vermont Made Furniture, Woods Used in Vermont Furniture Making, Education and Training, Vermont Furniture Quality and Craftsmanship, and How to Find and Purchase Vermont Made Furniture.
Check it out. You may be surprised to learn that Vermonters have been crafting wood furniture for over 250 years. Back in the 18th century, wood furniture, cutting boards, bowls, bowling pins, baskets, drumsticks, toys, musical instruments, golf tees, cheese boxes, dolls, gun racks, Scrabble tiles, snowshoes, clothes pins, and wooden shipping boxes were (and continue to be) all products of a thriving Vermont woodworking industry.
And in modern times, during the last half century, when furniture companies from across America began outsourcing top American brands (including Ethan Allen, Bassett, Broyhill, Thomasville, La-Z-Boy and Lane) to Asia, Vermont companies stayed home, remaining true to their values of quality, community and local economies. You’ll find a list of notable contemporary Vermont furniture makers, sorted by size and specialty in the encyclopedia. Plus learn fun facts like which state ranks #1 in furniture makers per capita.
We’ll consider the encyclopedia a work in progress and I invite others in the Vermont Furniture World to contribute. Send comments in the section below, on our Facebook or by emailing me at peggy@VermontWoodsStudios.com.
October 30th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
We are feeling very lucky this morning, waking up to intermittent rain and occasional gusts of wind from the remnants of Hurricane Sandy. Although tens of thousands of Vermonters lost power last night, thankfully Vermont has escaped the worst of the storm. As pain from last year’s devastating Hurricane Irene has yet to subside, it makes me wonder if perhaps Mother Nature has a heart after all.
Our thoughts and prayers are going out to all our friends, family and customers who are today going through the kind of nightmare we woke up to last year on August 21, 2011. In the coming days we will be thinking of you and looking for ways to help. Vermonters have a tradition of reaching out in times of need and we will be supporting our state’s efforts to send relief to hurricane victims in neighboring areas. Stay tuned for details as they evolve.
October 27th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
Recently Dennis and I had the opportunity to contribute to a blog dedicated to promoting products made in America: USA Love List. This blog has a segment called “The Top 10 Things Made in My Home State” and we represented Vermont. The guidelines were simple: the list had to be exclusively Vermont made products, and our list couldn’t contain more than half food items. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. Vermont has always made high quality products. There are hundreds of companies that as Vermonters we are well aware of and use their products on a daily basis. Our audience narrowed our list down a bit, because we wanted to choose products that are nationally known. However, it was still extremely difficult to limit our list to just 10 products made in Vermont. In the future, we will continue to post on the Vermont Woods Studios blog about products made in Vermont, because there are too many good ones that we don’t want to leave out! For now, here is the original list of Vermont made products that was published on the USA Love List blog on October 24.
Vermont’s quaint landscape and travel are what typically give our Green Mountain State some national attention, but our products are pretty buzz-worthy too! Vermont has always been industrious and innovative, which is why it was so hard to narrow down our list to just 10 items. Here are some of our best Vermont made products that we simply could not leave out.
1. Wood Furniture- Vermont’s history of furniture making spans over 200 years. This handed-down tradition of crafting solid, functional, and lasting furniture pieces has continued into the present day, and has made Vermont the fine furniture capital of the United States. There are over 2,500 furniture makers in the state, and including the large household names like Copeland Furniture and Lyndon Furniture.
2. Maple Syrup- For many, Vermont is synonymous with maple syrup. Vermont is the largest producer of pure maple syrup in the United States, and Vermonters use maple syrup in just about everything we cook. We put it in our coffee, glaze our meats with it, and use it as a substitute for white sugar. You won’t find any of the fake stuff (with ingredients you can’t pronounce) in our refrigerators — we like nature’s recipe better!
3. Ben & Jerry’s- Ever head of them? This ice cream company started in Burlington, Vermont in 1978. Ben & Jerry’s is known for their quirky flavors like Chubby Hubby, Phish Food, and Americone Dream. Today you can get Ben & Jerry’s ice cream all over the world, but the ice cream factory is located in Waterbury, Vermont. Come visit the factory, and pay your respect to ice cream flavors of the past in the flavor graveyard.
4. Cheese- With over 150 varieties to choose from, deciding on a type of cheese seems like an impossible task, but somehow we manage. Vermont is the premium cheese state with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita: over 30 of them! You can find some of our cheeses in your local super market. Keep an eye out for Cabot Cheese and Grafton Village Cheese!
5. Darn Tough- With drastic weather changes in Vermont, the importance of good socks is apparent. Darn Tough has been keeping feet happy for three generations. Their quality socks, made in Northfield, are so darn tough that if they aren’t the most comfortable and durable socks you’ve ever owned, they’ll give you your money back!
6. Vermont Flannel Company- This family owned business has been making apparel in Vermont for over 20 years. In 2010 they were given the Made in the USA Foundation’s Hall of Fame Award for their dedication and commitment to manufacturing in the United States.
7. King Arthur Flour- King Arthur Flour has been making top-quality flour for over 200 years. Not only can you find their flour, baking mixes, and other ingredients in your local super market, but you can also visit their headquarters in Norwich, Vermont. The King Arthur Flour campus is a baker’s paradise!
8. Vermont Teddy Bear- The finest handmade teddy bears are designed, cut, sewn, stuffed, and stitched in Vermont. They make cuddly creatures for all occasions, and even have a Bear-Gram option where they ship a special teddy bear gift to a lucky recipient. If you find yourself in northern Vermont, visit their factory in Burlington.
9. Simon Pearce- This glassblowing, pottery, and home accent company is a great representation of the high-quality artistry of Vermont. You can observe these fine pieces being created in two Vermont locations: Quechee and Windsor.
10. Hubbardton Forge- Although this name may not immediately ring a bell, you’ve probably seen their gorgeous hand-forged lighting in showrooms, magazines, and even on film (like the popular TV show Glee). A team of over 200 people hand-forge these lighting fixtures in Castleton, Vermont.
Did we leave out your favorite product that’s made in Vermont? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page! Hopefully we’ll cover them in a future blog post.
October 26th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
Lucky me. I stopped by the Interstate 91 N Guilford Welcome Center (a mile south of Brattleboro on I91) the other day to drop off some brochures and stumbled upon a beautiful collection of oil paintings by nationally acclaimed Vermont artist, Paul Stone. You never know what amazing stuff you’re going to find at Vermont’s Welcome Centers (it’s not unusual for Paul Stone’s painting to sell for over $10,000 each)!
Paul Stone is a master at capturing quintessential Vermont rural scenes like the barns and farmhouses in my snapshot above. He’s known for his use of light, shadows and a vibrant palette to create scenes that are realistic and abstract at the same time. Maybe it’s because I live in Vermont but when I look at Paul’s work I feel like I’m inside his scenes, enjoying the view and the moment.
Apparently many others around the world feel a similar connection to Paul’s work because it hangs in numerous corporate and private collections around the world. Paul Stone’s shows are relatively rare events so if you love art and you’re coming to Vermont to enjoy the last few days of leaf peeping season be sure to stop at the Guilford Welcome center and take this one in.
A little bit of background about the artist: Paul is a native Vermonter who grew up in Westminster and has been painting since he was a young boy. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Tufts University. While I was admiring Paul’s paintings, I happened to see my neighbors from Earth’s Supergrains who told me Paul used to be their dentist. What? Like this post if you think it’s unfair for one person to have such an abundance of talent. Haha!
October 21st, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
If I was a cow and you gave me a choice of where I could live, I’d seriously consider Vermont. Wouldn’t you? I mean, you’d think this guy has it pretty sweet… rolling pastures with a brook running between them, expansive views of the Connecticut River, lush meadows with an endless supply of green grass to feast on. What more could a steer ask for?
But you know what they say about the other side of the fence. For this poor guy, it’s a farm stand full of freshly picked corn, squash, tomatoes and other succulent veggies. It stands there all day long, fully stocked– and abundantly available with nothing in between but a barbed wire fence and an honor system.
Can you imagine the frustration? I don’t know if I could live like that. There’s not much else to do that might provide a distraction either. A couple times a day a train goes by. Once or twice a week the Cabot truck comes to get milk from the holsteins across the street but other than that, it’s pretty quiet in Vernon, Vermont.
So I think everyone in town cheered this guy on when he finally made his move. Who could blame him? I hope he had plenty of time to indulge before anyone noticed. I don’t know what the eventual consequences were, but from the looks of things it really didn’t matter much to him.
Like this post if you think this steer should eat for free.
October 13th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
We’re right at the height of leaf-peeping season in Vermont. If you’re planning a trip you might want to check out Vermont’s Foliage report or our friend Rachel Carter’s article, “Best Fall Drives in Vermont” to gather travel tips about the fine art of leaf-peeping.
This year leaf peepers have had some rain but don’t let that dampen your spirits. Escape the weather by ducking into Vermont’s many fine art galleries! Last weekend I visited one of the best, The Edgewater Gallery in the heart of downtown Middlebury, VT. Edgewater is elegant both inside and out. The setting overlooks lovely Middlebury Falls on Otter Creek. If you haven’t strolled along the river’s banks and wound your way in and out of Middlebury’s charming downtown area, you’re missing out! I promise, it’s worth the trip.
Inside Edgewater Gallery you’ll enjoy the creative works of some of Vermont and New England’s most talented artists and artisans. You’ll find something for everyone: many diverse paintings, sketchings, ceramics, pottery, glass works, jewelery, fabric, wooden furniture and more. The prices range from affordable to expensive. But even the priciest pieces are far less than you would find in Manhattan– and of no smaller stature either!
You can find the inside scoop on Edgewater’s collections on the current shows section of their website or on their Facebook. And speaking of Facebook, let us know about your favorite Vermont Fine Art Galleries on our Vermont Fine Furniture Facebook. Thanks and happy travels.
October 11th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
If you love unique, high-quality handmade crafts then Weston, Vermont is the place to be. This weekend is the 29th Annual Weston Craft Show. The event will be open daily from 10-5 starting on Friday, October 12, and ending on Sunday, October 14. This Vermont weekend event represents 45 artists and artisans who showcase the highest quality crafts in the state. Artists’ work fall under the categories of bookbinding, ceramics, floor cloths, folk art, glass, jewelry, wood, textiles, sculpture, photography, lighting and pastels. Their impeccable work makes this a Top 10 Fall Event, named by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
Proceeds from the Weston Craft Show support the preservation of Weston’s historic properties, including the Weston Playhouse building that is hosting the event. The quaint village of Weston is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Not only is this Vermont weekend event the perfect opportunity to see Vermont’s finest artists, but it is also a great time of year to see the Vermont foliage. Foliage is just hitting peak season in many areas of Vermont, including Weston. While traveling to Weston, you will be spending time on Route 100, which is a classic foliage drive. You will also have a great view of the Green Mountains on this route, making it well worth the drive.
Besides the Weston Craft Show, the village has a lot to offer visitors. There are museums, art galleries, and restaurants to keep you busy for hours. But the one stop that you must make while in Weston is to the Vermont Country Store. Make sure you’re hungry when you go in because the Vermont Country Store has dozens of treats for you to taste. You’ll leave the store with a smile on your face and a strong sense of nostalgia after discovering jars filled with penny candy.
October 4th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
Vermont always has unique events happening, and Columbus Day Weekend is packed with them. One that we are most excited about is the Vermont Fall Open Studio Weekend. Vermont artisans are opening up their private studios, on October 6-7, to the public for this statewide event. The Vermont Crafts Council Director states, “It’s a rare invitation to go behind the craft shows and exhibits to view the creative work environment and speak with the artist.” There are 119 studio locations all over the state, so you can personalize your own route and move at your leisure. Most Vermont artisans have studios on the same property of their homes, and in many times, on back roads that visitors typically wouldn’t travel. This event is a great excuse to jump in the car and explore Vermont during foliage season.
Studios will be open from 10-5 each day, and will be marked with yellow signs from the Crafts Council. Free map booklets of the 119 studio locations (showcasing 131 artists) can be found online, at galleries, and at Vermont Welcome Centers.
If you stop at the Guilford, Sharon, or Williston (north and south) Welcome Centers be sure to keep an eye out for Vermont Woods Studios. A barnwood bench and inlaid table have found their home at the Guilford Welcome Center. We have an additional furniture display of an inlaid table at the Sharon center, and our rack cards can be found at both Williston centers.
September 30th, 2012 by Kelsey Eaton
By Heather Barrett
The Vermont Department of Marketing and Tourism has been
experimentally trying out progressive tactics to boost tourism and ensure that
visitors have a unique, memorable time in the Green
This summer the Twitter handle @THISISVT was handed over to the public. Each
week a new Vermonter is selected to take over the account and share their Vermont
experiences. @THISISVT acts as a peer
review / inside scoop on what to do and where to go while in Vermont.
It also gives visitors a glimpse into the everyday lives of Vermonters.
Additionally, The Vermont Department of Marketing and
Tourism, the Department of Buildings and General Services, the Vermont
Librarian’s Association and AMPress Publishing have developed a new program
that encourages visitors to experience the state’s literary resources. Seven
Visitor Centers are participating in The Vermont Authors Project’s Lending
Library. The Alburgh, Fair Haven, Guilford,
Montpelier, White River Junction
and Williston north and south Visitor Centers will have free books to lend to
the public. The books are written by Vermont
authors Archer Mayor and Castle Freeman, with the intention to expand genres
and authors in the future. Travelers can sign out a free paperback or audio
book to enjoy during their Vermont
trip. The program uses a classic Vermont
honor system in that borrowers are simply asked to return the book to any Welcome
Center in Vermont
or by mail (envelope provided) within one month.
To learn more about the program and Vermont
authors, please read the press release from Vermont Tourism & Marketing.
Heather Barrett is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods Studios,
an online furniture gallery which showcases Vermont’s finest wood
furniture. Follow our blog to learn about Vermont fine furniture,
Vermont happenings, our mission, and our team.
September 28th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh
The weather isn’t looking so great for leaf peeping in Vermont this weekend. So if you’re traveling around the Green Mountain State and looking for indoor activities, try heading to Woodstock, VT for the Ninth Annual Vermont Fine Furniture and Woodworking Festival.
This year’s theme is “From Forest to Furniture: Take Home a Piece of Vermont”. It dovetails with our plans at Vermont Woods Studios for a showroom at Stonehurst in that the focus is to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.
Much like the organic food movement, the organic furniture movement is catching on. Customers are realizing both the economic and health benefits to buying locally crafted furniture, handmade from real, solid, sustainably harvested wood.
Come visit with some of the regions (and world’s) most respected fine furniture makers in Woodstock this weekend. You’ll be able to see and feel their furniture creations and also learn about the well-managed forests where their wood is harvested. Free tours are available of the nearby Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Here customers can experience the forest and learn about each of the many links in the chain from forest to trees to furniture.
Shown above: Brent Karner of ClearLake Furniture in Ludlow VT won first place for production furniture in the 2011 Vermont Fine Furniture Festival. Who is going to win this year?