arts and crafts
Vermont craftsmen are known for their quality products and attention to fine detail. This has long been well recognized in our Shaker style furniture, but over the last 25 years Vermont has also become one of America's premiere Craftsman style furniture producers.
By way of background, Craftsman Style Furniture grew out of the Arts and Crafts movement promoted by Gustav Stickley and his family. In the early 1900s Stickley and fellow period designers like Greene and Greene, Roycroft and Limbert created a renaissance of honest workmanship and honest designs in their furniture.
In contrast to designers of the preceding Victorian era, they rejected the cheaply made, mass-produced, ornate factory furniture of the time. They believed that beauty does not come from ornamentation, but from sturdy construction, simplicity of purpose, and optimal presentation of nature’s materials.
Well, it turns out that over 100 years after the Arts and Crafts movement, Vermont furniture makers continue to remain true to it's values of simple elegance. For a look at some examples of Vermont style Craftsman Furniture, visit our website to view our Frank Lloyd Wright collection, Contemporary Craftsman Collection, Cherry Moon Furniture Collection, Copeland Berkeley Collection, Copeland Monterey Collection, Northup Craftsman Furniture Collection, American Mission Furniture Collection and Modern Mission Furniture Collection.
By Heather Barrett
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about "Five Fantastic Vermont Events In July." The Shelburne Museum Art and Craft Festival was included, and is wrapping up my list of July events. The Art and Craft Festival is this weekend, July 27-29, and after a 6 year hiatus, the festival is returning to the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont. This 14th annual event will feature over 150 artists and artisans, who will be showcasing their specialties. Vermont artisans, like the ones who make wood furniture at Vermont Woods Studios, are a large part of Vermont's culture and history. Vermonter's pride themselves on their craftmanship, and the unique items they can handmake. Art items that will be at the festival include hand thrown pottery, fine silver and gold jewelry, photography, paintings, and many more.
The Shelburne Craft School will be demonstrating how their products are made. Kid's will be invited to join in with the activities offered by the school instructors.
This weekend event is more than just art, it is also largely focused on food and drink. This year there will be a new spirit and wine tasting tent, where you can sample local wines. Vermont craft beer will be another local beverage option at the event. Your taste buds will also be satisfied when you discover the small size food portions being served by local restaurants on Sunday. This Sunday event is called the "Taste of Shelburne" and the restaurants will be donating their profits to the Shelburne Craft School.
This is a great opportunity to experience Vermont culture, buy local products, and enjoy delicious food and drink.
Heather Barrett is a Marketing Assistant at Vermont Woods StudiosF, 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.
Shaker Furniture conjures up images of traditional New England style tables, chairs and bedroom furniture designed way back in the late 1700s by members of the The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, otherwise known as the Shakers. It's really the only style of furniture that's widely agreed upon as quintessentially American and it's changed only in subtle ways over the last few hundred years.
Vermont furniture makers are perhaps the world's most diverse group of Shaker furniture makers. Most furniture coming out of Vermont reflects Shaker values in one way or another (highest quality craftsmanship, simple functional design, elegant straight lines, finely crafted joinery such as mortise and tenon and dovetails) but each furniture maker has a unique signature on their furniture.
We've been working with Copeland Furniture recently, as we've added their bedroom furniture, TV-Entertainment furniture and home office furniture to our website. It's interesting to see how they've evolved from building traditional Shaker Furniture (Sarah Collection) 30 years ago to ever increasingly modern furniture today. Copeland's Lily collection blends a modern Scandinavian style with Shaker furniture design. Their Berkeley collection is a fusion of Arts and Crafts, modern Japanese and Shaker style.
Check out these and other new collections and see how you like this modernization of Shaker style furniture. As far as I can see, the addition of Copeland furniture to our website gives Vermont Woods Studios the most expansive and diverse selection of high end Shaker style furniture on the Internet.
Thanks To Vermont Craftsman Chad Woodruff: Maker of Mission, Arts & Crafts and Stickley Style Furniture
Once again we'd like to say thanks to one of our favorite Vermont fine furniture makers: Chad Woodruff of Woodruff Custom Furniture in Vernon, Vermont. Chad was kind enough to join us on Tuesday when ABC World News came to town. He and his quintessential Vermont workshop (located in an historic, old red barn) were featured in a film segment for the Made in America Shopping Challenge. I can't wait to see that part of the video because Chad speaks about his craft so beautifully and powerfully– straight from the heart.
Chad specializes in building Arts & Crafts style pieces, inspired by craftsmen like Stickley, Roycroft, and Limbert. Each piece Chad crafts has a simple beauty and an honest solid construction. His furniture is made by hand from rough board to fine finish.
Quartersawn White Oak is the wood of choice for most of Chad's customers although he is happy to customize his furniture to meet your specific needs and preferences. He offers 4 stain choices: a classic mission finish with a medium brown stain with strong orange and golden highlights, a light mission stain, a dark mission stain and a fumed oak finish.
Chad's quality is impeccable, his customers are raving fans and we are very proud to be able to represent him at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. Check out some of Chad's Mission, Arts and Crafts and Stickley Style Furniture on our website or give us a call to learn more about his work and how to bring it into your home.
I’m not sure what the official count of craftspeople & artisans (making some or all of their income from their crafts) in the state of Vermont is but if I had to guess I would say it is easily in the thousands? Vermont certainly has to be one of the top states for high quality, fine arts & crafts work. Studios, workshops, and galleries can be found in practically every Vermont city and town. I suppose it could take months to visit even half of them. The diversity of the media choice these talented artisans choose is equally overwhelming! Clay, fiber, paper, wood, glass, jewelry, and metal works are all well represented. And expect to find not only traditional type works but plenty of one of a kind pieces. Saying one could build a vast and eclectic collection of Vermont art pieces is absolutely an understatement.
So from now through the fall is about the time we start to see the larger organized craft festivals and open studio weekends in Vermont. I will highlight a few popular August ones below and no doubt a quick web search would yield many more.
The first weekend in August brings the very popular Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival held at the historical Hildene's Meadow in Manchester, VT (Hildene, as shown here was the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln– Robert was the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln). At the Hildene festival you will be able to meet and see the work of 150 artisans plus take in some great food and music. This long running juried festival is a must attend for the arts & crafts aficionado.
Moving up to the middle of the state and the middle of the month (Aug 13 & 14) is an “Art in the Park” event hosted by the Chaffee Art Center in Rutland, VT. Fifty years running, this event brings in juried, high quality craftsman as well as fine art, great food and live music. The estimated 7000 – 9000 attendees suggests that this event is worth the trip!
The following Saturday (August 20th) and just down the street from Rutland in Ludlow, VT is the Fletcher Farm School Annual Arts & Crafts Festival. Over 90 fine artist and craftsman will be exhibiting top quality works across all medias. And if seeing all this beautiful handiwork inspires your creative side you are in the right place! The Fletcher Farm just happens to be a school for the arts and crafts. Their course program covers just about every type of art or craft!
And if you can’t make these dates you can always visit one or more of the Vermont State Craft Centers. Open year round, these centers are state approved and they showcase exclusively Vermont made works that meet high quality, uniqueness and variety standards.
We at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture hope you get the chance to travel to and discover the incredible Vermont arts & craft scene soon. We know you will find something you just can’t live without! And so you know, our connection to the Vermont artisan scene is our representation and marketing of the works of over 20 highly skilled and acclaimed fine wood furniture makers. We like to think of these craftsman as creators of functional art!