Have you ever wondered why Vermont is so clean, green and pristine? Well one reason is that since 1970, thousands of Vermonters have gotten outside on the first Saturday of May to collect tons of litter that would otherwise mar our state’s scenic beauty. The goal of “Green Up Day” is to “promote the stewardship of our state’s natural landscape and waterways and the livability of our communities by involving people and raising public awareness about the benefits of a litter-free environment”. So tomorrow May 3, volunteers will scour 13,000 miles of roads and collect 40,000 bags of trash.
Have you participated in Green Up day before? If not, how about giving it a try? Get your muck boots on and head outside for some fresh air, sunshine and the good feeling that comes from serving your community. Find out who’s coordinating Green Up day in your community here. They’ll have trash bags for you but more importantly they’ll probably throw a pizza party for all the local volunteers after the work is done.
Our Green Up efforts at Vermont Woods Studios took place yesterday as staff members had other obligations this weekend. Here are some photos of the work we did cleaning up the Vernon Pond and the Vernon Beach (bet you didn’t know we had a beach, did you?).
Please share your own Green Up Day photos with us on Facebook.
Furniture is more than just something we sit on, sleep on, and eat on; our furniture becomes a part of our life story. It’s an integral piece of what makes a house a home. But for the chemically sensitive, or for those who are just serious about not bringing harsh chemicals into their homes, finding the right furniture can seem like an impossible task.
All of our furniture (with the exception of our Outdoor line, which is made from recycled milk jugs) is handcrafted in Vermont using real, natural hardwoods. We do not work with inferior substrates like Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF), particle board, or flimsy faux wood veneers.
We work mostly with cherry, maple, oak and walnut. Each board in your furniture is selected by hand, and inspected for quality, strength, straightness, grain and color. When requested, we use FSC green-certified lumber, although there is still a premium for FSC certified wood. Sometimes our artisans harvest lumber from the woods on their own property, a sustainable approach that adds another dimension to the story of your furniture!
Toxin Free Finishes
Many of our furniture makers continue to use traditional oil and wax based finishes, but even those that use more modern finishes ensure that they are non-toxic, formaldehyde-free and eco-friendly with little or no Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs).
As concern over indoor air quality continues to grow, many of our furniture makers are moving towards water based finishes. Conventional petroleum based solvents contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful to the atmosphere. While most of these VOCs are released at the time of manufacturing, a small amount remains on the product and can off-gas in the home. Many of our collections can now be requested in a non-emitting water-based finish.
With a new year comes new designs, fashions and ideas. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be cover different trends that we’ve seen coming up for this year. First up for your 2013 Interior Design Trends: furniture!
In 2013, I think we are going to see many furniture pieces featuring simple lines and functions, much like furniture of the mid 20th century. We’ll have many retro styles making a comeback, such as metal detailing, splayed leg designs and futuristic, modular furniture. Our Moduluxe, Astrid and Contemporary Cable collections are good starting points for this look.
Unique Artisan Designs
Sometimes the best trend is not following a trend at all. Creative, one-of-a-kind designs will be big this year as people start to “de-commercialize” their lives. Whether you’re going for a modern look or a simple shaker style, artisan work is the way to go. Give us a call to discuss some custom options for your home.
Whatever look you decide to go for, make it a green one. Sustainability is starting to become a consumer standard in most industries, including food and fiber, and furniture is no different. Choose pieces that are made from sustained, American forests rather than endangered rainforest lumber. Learn more abut our sustainability standard and what we do to protect our rainforests.
There’s a lot of creative energy at Vermont Woods Studios these days and happily we have a number of talented writers who are willing to share our daily goings on through this green furniture blog. Pictured above are Heather Barrett (left) of Brattleboro VT and Loryn Dion (right) of Northfield MA who work long and hard on many aspects of our Vermont furniture store, including keeping you up to date on the latest office shenanigans.
Holiday Hot Topic: Made in America Christmas Shopping Challenge
The photo above was taken Friday at our “Made in America” Secret Santa party where each of us gave and received American made Christmas gifts. It’s part of our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge (we figure with Americans spending about $586 Billion this holiday season, if all of those gifts were made in America it could generate 5.8 million jobs. OK we know that not every gift can or should be made in America, but still shopping “American made” can create a lot of jobs).
Not Just Red, White and Blue– Green Too!
Anyway, if you want to follow these two creative writers you’ll find their contributions right here every week. Besides keeping us up to date on American made Christmas gift ideas, Heather tends to blog about green furniture, Vermont Travel and all things adventurous and exciting in the Green Mountain state. Loryn’s been keeping her focus on Green decor and interior design but you never know what kind of provocative topics she might wander off into.
To stay in touch with Heather and Loryn, subscribe to this blog on the top right or join their conversations on Facebook. And keep a look out for insider secrets from their newly recruited accomplice, Liz Francese who’ll be taking you on occasional trips behind the veil at Vermont Woods Studios Sales and Customer Service. More about Liz coming soon!
I remember travelling from Vermont to High Point, North Carolina exactly 5 years ago to meet with Gerry Cooklin of South Cone Furniture, Susan Inglis of "From The Mountain" (who is now the Executive Director of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, SFC) and a handful of visionaries. Our mission was to promote forest conservation in the furniture industry. That was Year 1 for Vermont Woods Studios Sustainable Furniture and the trip was instrumental in charting a course for our company.
I had read alot about Gerry and Susan before I attended the meeting. To me they were larger than life– and they still are. Five years ago though, they were the first in the industry to talk about the fact that Americans were unwittingly contributing to the decimation of endangered species of the forest (including all the big cats and great apes) by purchasing cheap imported furniture made from timber that was being clear cut from the worlds rainforests. Their pitch was for the formation of a furniture industry group that would promote healthy, sustainable practices particularly with regard to the use of responsibly harvested wood.
Since that meeting 5 years ago, Susan and Gerry have been successful in recruiting some 400 companies to join the SFC. There is much work left to be done, but these two champions of the forest are inspirational leaders in the green furniture movement and we are grateful for their relentless pursuit of sustainability in our industry.