From Forest To Fine Furniture
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?
Speaking of organic, did you know that Vermont is also famous for it's organic furniture? Last count there were some 2000 small wood furniture makers scattered across Vermont. Although the styles and methods of craftsmanship are quite varied, these furniture makers have in common a deep respect for the forest where their wood furniture originates.
I haven't been able to find a definition for organic furniture yet but I do think Vermont would logically be the place to start. Vermont woodworkers have a long history of sustainable woodworking, sourcing their wood from our local forests abundant in native hardwoods like maple, oak, ash, cherry and birch. And we avoid the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in Vermont's sustainable forests, relying instead on Mother Nature to regenerate after careful selective harvesting.
When it comes to applying a finish to Vermont's furniture, you'll be hard-pressed to find harsh chemicals with high levels of VOCs or formaldehyde. Instead furniture makers use natural linseed oil finishes, clear non-toxic lacquers and even a natural coating made from whey (a recycled byproduct of our dairy industry).
Yesterday I wrote about organic food in terms of where it comes from and how it's grown. The organic food movement has been around for over a century but has picked up more steam in the last 20 years as people become more aware of where their food comes from. I think the next step for the organic movement is into the world of organic furniture. And Vermont will lead the way.
Have you ever thought about where your wood furniture comes from? Over the past few decades, the organic food movement has made us ask questions about the origin of our food. Now the fundamental concerns voiced in that movement are being extrapolated to the furniture and flooring industries. People want to know where their furniture comes from and what they're finding out is often more disturbing than the facts that were uncovered regarding the origins of our food.
For facts about the origin of your furniture, check out Vermont Woods Studios' latest article on American Wood Furniture and Global Forest Conservation at Ezine.