Last week on my tour of luxury Vermont home decor companies I stopped to visit Charles Shackleton and his wife Miranda Thomas at their studios in Bridgewater, Vermont. Charlie is perhaps Vermont's most beloved furniture maker. He's famous for his steadfast belief in the integrity and enduring value of true handcrafted furniture. You won't find cnc routers in Charlie's shop! Everything is traditionally carved and crafted by hand, making each piece a unique work of art. Dennis pointed out that Charlie is making the Chippendales of tomorrow. It's the stuff Christie's and Sotheby's will be competing for in years to come.
I arrived at Shackleton-Thomas just as a Naked Table project was beginning. The lucky participants were the board of directors for King Arthur Flour (bet you didn't know that was a Vermont company). They were building tables for their conference room.
What's a Naked Table?
"We invite businesses, friends and families to our workshops to make tables for themselves to last for ages to come. Each piece in the Naked Collection is made from the iconic Sugar Maple harvested in the forests we visit (inverse from conventional methods of deforesting and sourcing wood from anywhere in the world)... The table has come to symbolize our community’s connection to our local environment and our ability to make something of it." ... Charles Shackleton
Charlie Shackleton (left) and Pete Michelinie of Shackleton Thomas Fine Furniture in Bridgewater, VT. Pete was trained at the renowned North Bennett Street Furniture School in Boston. He's part of an elite team of craftspeople who create heirloom quality furniture and pottery at Shackleton-Thomas.
The Work of Human Hands
Charlie notes that humans have a natural tendency to want to make things, using their hands in particular. "It's a satisfying "buzz" of creativity, comparable to baking a loaf of bread from the grains of a wheat plant. When a finished piece expresses our creativity, either through the natural beauty of the wood, the design or the marks of shaping left by the human hand, it sends a message. In these times when so much is mass produced in factories by automated machines on the other side of the world, many are treasuring that message and the natural resources that surround it.."
Visit the Shackleton Thomas store in Bridgewater, VT or their website to learn more and shop. Next week: a quiz about Miranda's pottery. Hint: yes it is displayed in the White House and the Vatican in addition to dozens of other prestigious locations around the world.
Related posts: Touring Vermont's Luxury Home Decor Brands A visit to Simon Pearce
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, a 200 year old farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.