Sheltering at Home

With current events impacting us all so deeply, we collectively discover ways within ourselves to embrace the unexpected.  We find comfort and positive support through togetherness. We explore a new path forward and enrich our lives while sheltering at home. We find more meaning in gatherings especially around the table whether at home or virtually. 

We yearn for a warm cozy atmosphere and strive to cultivate a sense of safety and serenity taking hints from the danish concept of Hygge.  Well being is key, while optimism and finding balance in our lives helps uplift us throughout each day.  A new normal evolves, and a homebound routine incorporates virtual meetings with colleagues, while the home office becomes a dynamic hub of activity.

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We seek interaction and connection with family and friends to compare notes on ways to feel good, be healthy, share recipes and stay nourished.  As we navigate these times a new appreciation for the things around us emerges as we curate a sense of what we want in our home environment.  While embracing the change we can still celebrate life’s holidays, birthdays, milestones, and make things work for us at home.  Entertaining can be a source of joy by sharing botanical drinks, creating craft beer tastings, wine & cheese, or sending invites to a virtual happy hour.

Look for What Speaks to You

Throughout our Simon Pearce line, we have many of the quintessential handmade elements available to make those home moments special.  Our drinkware collections contain a fine selection of beautiful and functional items you can use to curate your home.  Having the time to pay attention to details, you can appreciate the nuances of the handmade. 

A few Spring New Arrivals now available are the Coral Tealight, Vintner Wine Decanter with Marble Stopper, and the Sunderland Artisan Board made in Vermont.  We are now offering the Alpine Tasting Flight that is excellent for chilling beer on the soapstone base.  The perfect addition to outfit the home bar cart for any tasting event.

Keeping the Furnaces Turned On

At Simon Pearce, we have adapted to the new paradigm and are continuing to practice our craft. Our ethos of ‘handmade quality’ drives us forward and everything we make is a unique expression of humanity.  

The hand is involved in every step of bringing each object to life.  We hand draw, and model concepts, like the dog and the new puppy then work out the details on the glass floor with the expertise of our glassblowers.  Each object is a combination of the hand of the maker, the form, the fine quality of the material, and that is blended with our distinct  ‘point of view’ about design.

These elements cannot be separated. Our passion for handmade excellence permeates everyone in the company with ‘purpose’.  We love to share what we create, because we are confident it will make these times spent at home, that much better.  

To see the latest items for sheltering at home please visit our website.

Link to the At Home Offerings

Try Our Take Out

If you need a break from cooking in your kitchen, and you are in the Upper Valley, the Simon Pearce Restaurant has a new menu with delightful dishes of ready to heat dinner. Jerod Rockwell is running the kitchen for take out which can be picked up with curbside service.

Link to the Simon Pearce Restaurant

 

Home as Sanctuary

Time spent creating a calming mood at home is time well spent.

#4Create calm at the table with the following: Grey Felt Placemat, Barre Dinnerware, Teak Handled Flatware, Natural Linen Napkins, Sunderland Artisan Boards#1The longer days of February and early March are perfect for candlelight in our homes. Let our new Bristol Hurricane in the Medium size create the mood.

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While the late winter skies delay the day’s light after sunrise, start your morning slowly, lighting a Simon Pearce Bristol Hurricane in the small size by your side. Create a sanctuary to set the day’s intentions.

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As the day winds down, and the sun sets, you can surround yourself with our new Waterbury Tea lights, with their wavy surface that creates flickering candlelight.

 

Holiday Gatherings

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Come in from the cold and create warmth at your table this holiday season with our new candlelight designs. The Engraved Aspen Forest Hurricane brings a new feel to our assortment with its engraved art. The engraving lends itself to wintery themes and the candlelight reflects between the branches. It’s a simple silhouette with a unique touch.

Another way to incorporate candlelight is to place one of our many tea lights at each place setting. Every guest can enjoy their own candlelight gift to take home at the end of the evening. The Echo Lake Tealight is a new treasure with strands of molten glass that wrap around, creating shimmering light. We’ve placed one atop our red napkins, with a clever fold that holds evergreen sprigs. The KP Love Your Brain Snowball Tealight * adds whimsy with its shape and texture of a freshly formed snowball and would also add a festive flare at place settings.

* 20% of proceeds from this item fund Kevin and Adam Pearce’s LoveYourBrain Foundation, and its mission to promote holistic healing for those affected by traumatic brain injury.

Down the center of the table, we begin with our customer favorite, the Scandinavian White & Natural Runner. Any of our candlelight vessels will captivate with their handcrafted shapes, weighty presence, and unique surface treatments.  To create a centerpiece of candlelight, nestle tea lights and hurricanes of various sizes amongst seasonal flora. In Vermont, it is red-berried branches and various evergreen sprigs that we can bring inside. Eucalyptus would add another interesting shape and hue. Shown here also, is our Alabaster Votive with a milky marbled surface that plays off our clear glass and adds dimension. The final accent is our twinkle string lights set in and amongst the greens and candlelight. Read on to learn about the new hurricane and tree collection that is quickly becoming a new favorite.

In Northern Vermont, the Long Trail winds around the edges of Sterling Pond, whose icy waters inspired our Sterling Pond Collection. Small crystals of glass encase the simple soft hurricane shapes, creating beautiful candlelight flickerings. The same crystals cover our conical shaped trees for the ultimate winter wonderland forest.

The beauty of the Sterling Pond Trees is the many ways in which they can be lit. We love the way the twinkle string lights (also available in battery-powered) create a glow when placed inside each tree or amongst a grouping. They can also fit over our mini LED light (an alternative to placing on top of our larger LED base). These 6, 8 and 12 inch trees create the perfect trio to use on your table. They can be moved to the sideboard or window sill when more space is needed at the table.

For place settings, consider adding pieces from our Barre dinnerware in the satiny Alabaster glaze, perfect for this crisp table setting. Framing the settings here is our new Charlotte flatware. We love the textured handles with their simple, geometric shape and the perfect balance of the pieces when we hold them.

* linen is a sustainable fabric. Far less water and pesticides are used to grow flax, from which linen is woven, and no parts of the flax plant are wasted (yielding linseed oil, twines, and ropes)

Our partnership with Celina Mancurti to design holiday linens has led to a favorite motif, the evergreen, and we offer it in a variety of colors, shown here in white on red. Also, Andrew Pearce wood side plates are shown layered here in cherry wood, for a light and crisp holiday setting.

The tablescape is inspiring and inviting. Your guests are about to arrive and you have chosen your wines for the evening. The recently launched Vintner stemware is our choice for the table this season. Its bowl and stem are shaped and pulled from one gather of molten glass, creating a beautiful angled shape with a lightweight feel in the hand. These are the characteristics of a great wine tasting glass, ready for an evening of friends and festive times.

 

Bringing the Spirit of Handcrafted Excellence to Ardmore, PA

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We are pleased to be serving our devoted customers and connecting with new ones, in the Philadelphia area with our 11th store bringing us into the region with a fresh new approach.  Following on the heels of opening our Chestnut Hill Store, just over a year ago, we completed the interior construction of our new Ardmore store, just in time for the holiday Black Friday shopping rush. To make this go from concept to reality, we had an incredible team that made the opening of the store possible, with staff contributing from every department in the company. Our company is united by a culture that is dedicated to providing a “wow” shopping experience.

Quote from our press release;

“The Ardmore store will invite customers to explore—or perhaps discover for the first time—our glass and pottery collections,” said James Murray, Senior Vice President of Product Development + Design. “The shop’s warm, contemporary interior and displays take a cue from our flagship location in Vermont; by referencing that historic building and vibrant makerspace, we hope to bring the spirit of handcraftsmanship to our newest location.”

Deciding on the best location is key, and Jay Benson, our CEO, researched and evaluated the marketplace to find Ardmore to be an optimal destination.

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The design process started with imagining the type of space and feeling that takes cues from the experience of the Mill in Quechee, Vermont. We developed a material selection of complimentary, beautiful, real materials, that include walnut shelves, white oak flooring, wrought steel, walnut fixtures, and clay inspired earthy paint tones, that are used throughout the main retail floor.

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Illumination is a key element to showing the characteristics of our iconic glass products, so we employed built-in LED lighting technology into all our fixed shelving. To really make our evergreen trees glow, we built the lighting into the surface of the shelves so trees are illuminated from underneath.  The overall concept of the store was then rendered to capture our fresh aesthetic, that appeals to the customer that looks for our humanistic approach to design.

We utilized our retired wood molds from blowing glass, to create a textural wrap around our main counter.  Neil Cockwill, Director of Forms, carefully selected and collaged the molds together, at our facility in Windsor, Vermont. We also feature our vine chandelier over the cash wrap counter as a focal point. We contracted Andrew Pearce to build a series of walnut and steel furniture, for us to use in cross merchandising statements.

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The store design is featuring a separate studio space, in the back, that highlights our handcrafted pendants and lamps, which makes it easier for interior designers and customers to make buying decisions from our lighting collection. Our contractors worked quickly to demise the space, and go through the process of re-configuring it to suit our needs. They created the lighting studio out of a prior stock room by taking down walls, and rebuilding it into a useful space. The shelving around the store was custom built for us and they house all of our core products, delineated by their category.   

Kathy Marshall, Creative Integration Manager, on the planogram:

“The product assortment for Ardmore is curated to include top performers and new designs, based on the store size. Within this framework, we assign categories of product to specific fixed shelves and dynamic displays, as well as carefully considering the placement of the product to make shopping easy.”

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James Murray, Jackie Collier, Jacob Perron, Lindsay Harrington, Jay Benson, Jen Smith and Michael Robinson

A few weeks before the store opening, a group of us visited the store location as the construction had begun to check on progress and interview candidates to work at the store.  

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Jen Smith, our new VP of Retail, started in July 2019, joined us after a long tenure at Crate & Barrel, rallied the retail team for an incredibly organized and quick opening.

“We had so much fun opening the Ardmore store – it was a fast and furious process! In just 3 days, we unloaded and unpacked 16 pallets of product and set the displays. It was a small, but mighty team! Opening in the busy holiday season meant that everyone had to be flexible and efficient.”

“Huge shout-outs to:
Stephanie and Amanda, our warehouse managers, and the shipping team at our Oakland, MD facility, John and Josey, who delivered the product the moment we got the green light. Jackie, Retail Operations Project Manager, who coordinated all of the scheduling, travel, logistics and supplies for the store. Jeff, Field Visual Merchandising Manager, who set up the store visuals while training the new staff every step of the way. James and Kathy, who came up with the vision for the store and created a detailed and thorough planogram for execution. And our planning team who pulled the product from our warehouse to merchandise during the busiest time of the year!”

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Emily Kurz, Michael Robinson, and Colleen Charleston

“Michael, the store manager, and Emily, full-time sales, had come up to Vermont for orientation, so they were immersed in the Simon Pearce culture, the Vermont way of life, and have a whole new appreciation for the artisans who create our product. They, along with our part-time sales associate, Colleen, have welcomed returning customers who remember our brand from Brandywine, and introduced new customers to Simon Pearce.”

From our founder, Simon Pearce:

“I started making glass because of the human quality you find in real handmade glass. One of the best ways to share that experience is to put the product directly into the hands of our customers. Opening a location in Philadelphia gives us the opportunity to better share our story with an important market for us.”

Elements of Glass

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Nature uses force to script matter, and we do the same to manipulate raw molten glass. We draw out of our methods of making glass, the elements that have distinct character, and the artistic imperfections that come from the hand, to realize designs, that are ‘real’ expressions. With the ‘Elements’ development, we saw an opportunity to focus on the connection between design and science, using the forms to represent the various states of matter. We interpreted these natural elements that surround us in New England, with seven one of a kind, sculptural pieces. Three of which are featured in the Montshire Science Museum, from September 2019 to March 2020. It is an opportunity for the public and for children to experience how glass is a transformation from sand to the transparent material we are all familiar with, but in new forms. 

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We believe that our craftsmen have captured a sense of wonder and beauty portraying natural elements in glass and by pushing glass to its aesthetic and technical limits. These shapes show a mastery of light through glass and brings us at Simon Pearce to the forefront of creativity and innovation, through a design collaboration with master glassblowers.

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Photo Credit: Montshire Museum of Science

The partnership with the Montshire Museum of Science started when Marcos Stafne and his team came to our facility in Windsor, Vermont, to discuss ideas around how the two upper valley organizations can cross-pollinate concepts and create something unique for people to experience.  They liked the Elements prototypes and were intrigued with the science behind glassmaking, and brought these two concepts together for an exhibit at the museum.  Sherlock and Katie, who create the exhibitions, evolved a wonderful way to interpret the glass Elements, revealing the process, and the science.

From the Montshire press release;

“For this collaborative exhibition, the Montshire partnered with Simon Pearce, a Vermont-based company specializing in handcrafted glass with a creative philosophy rooted in functional, sophisticated design. The Montshire Exhibits team worked closely with James Murray, Simon Pearce’s Vice President of Design, to create a beautiful experience in which science meets design.”

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Montshire Staff, shown here, from left to right: Katie Kalata Rusch, Matthew DiClemente, Anne Fayen, Loren Rutz, and Sherlock Terry.

All seven elements we prototyped are described below:

Fire

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Fire is the element that transforms the other elements. Glassblowers also need fire to create the glass itself. They capture the gesture and movement of flames in glass. The item is sculpted with the energy and flair of a burning flame. Each piece turns out entirely unique and can be illuminated on a LED base.

The glassblowers who worked on this piece are Dwight Yoder, Dave Osburn and Steve White.

Water

Water covers seventy-five percent of the earth’s surface. This design was specifically inspired by the rushing waterfall at the Mill. The glassblowers captured the expressive ebb and flow of water that changes throughout the seasons. It is a very difficult design to make and only a few Simon Pearce glassblowers are able to make it.  The development of this water vessel, and wrap technique led us to offer other lines using the wrap concept, such as the Waterbury and Echo Lake collections.

The glassblowers who worked on this piece are Mike Cushing, Mark Williams, Jason Tucker and Ray Thorburn.

You can find the separate blog post on this design here.

Wood

Wood is a pervasive element in New England, and is revered for the seasonal activity from chopping/limbing trees for firewood to handcrafting it into familiar objects. Here ‘wood’ is represented as a branch with truncated limbs, and a sandblasted hollow core. It is another difficult piece to craft, few glassblowers can capture the exact gesture and form. Wood is one of the five Chinese elements.  Each piece can stand on a LED base.

The glassblowers who worked on this piece are Jesse McComas and Anthony Wroton.

Infinite Space

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Infinite space is the mother of the other elements. It represents the void, or emptiness that is necessary to approach a higher spiritual being. It is the gesture of a figure eight and is a free-form sculpture, with subtle surfaces and requires a high degree of skill to get the symmetry right. Each piece can be illuminated on an LED base.

The glassblowers who worked on this piece are Jason Cole and Jeremy Bastille.

Earth

Earth element is about structure and foundation; in nature it represents all that is solid and nourishing, which also speaks to global environmental issues. The design intent is to represent the whole globe and the topography of total earth, and also the swirling dynamics of mixing of elements, which has been captured in the glass.

The glassblowers who worked on this piece are Mike Cushing, Mark Williams, Jason Tucker, Ray Thorburn, and Chris Rogstad.

Air

Air is a freeing and opportunistic element. The form represents the swirling forces of wind, similar to the aerial view of cloud formations of the weather, while also having an open center for a connection with infinite space. In glass, flat disks can be difficult to achieve when compared to shapes with more mass and volume, so this shows the control and skill the glassblower. This piece is displayed in a specially crafted metal stand made by Jan Mollmark.

The glassblowers who worked on this piece are Perry Schwab and Ryan Adams.

Metal

Metal represents both rigidity and flexibility; being a protective element it is strong but very adaptive to change. Metals are found in nature and in man-made structures, such as suspension bridges and other feats of engineering. The sculpture was created in clear glass with an infusion of silver leaf, to further highlight the connection to the metal element. It can be illuminated on a LED base.

The glassblowers who worked on this piece are Jake Cole and Jeremy Bastille.

You can read more about the Montshire Museum exhibit in this Valley News Article.

Time to Reflect on Design

Travel Notes from Paris

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Every September, the European home design industry returns from their summer break in August to present the best of their new creations at the International Maison Objet show in Paris.  The market is focused on home decor, interior design, and lifestyle concepts, with a very inspiring combination of innovation and new talent throughout the halls.

Simon, Jay and I traveled across the Atlantic to walk the market, meet with some of our partners,  and find new resources or makers we can potentially work with on products. The show also gives an opportunity to spend time discussing, brainstorming and sketching out our approach to design for the next season.  We debate over what can be integrated into our product categories, what new ideas we can bring into existing collections, and where we could layer on new decor concepts.

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“The market gives you a perspective on what is happening in the world with design, and home furnishings, and we distill what makes sense for our line, whether we are buying or designing”, says Simon.  Maison Objet also gives us a sense of what direction glass is heading in, and in a world with the majority of the glass being machine made, we find we are well differentiated with the ‘hand’ being the core value of what we do. We further defined our design mission while traveling. We monitor what is happening in the market but take a great deal of  inspiration from nature, and we blend that with our humanistic approach to design and making things. To capture the essence of our designs, we use a reductive approach of taking away that which isn’t needed to arrive at refined simplicity. The intent of the designs is to amplify the handmade aspect of our products, resulting in objects that are a joy to live with at home.   

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One takeaway from the show was a growing interest in the handmade with small batch production, and a traceability story about the materials.  We found a few other European glass makers, that Simon truly enjoyed talking with, from building furnaces to raw materials used. Glass has also become quite pervasive, as a material of choice for designers.  

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During the market, all across Paris, the whole city was celebrating ‘Design Week’, with interior design events and companies launching their latest products in their retail outposts. 

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We had the opportunity to meet with our Italian linen partners, Bertozzi, and reviewed several new designs that they worked on with us, and also some new offerings they created.  Their hand block printed patterns are one of Simon’s favorites. While travelling through Morocco Simon discovered Bertozzi linens at one of the hotels he was staying at. When Simon returned from the trip, we pursued the company and since developed a great partnership with them as they have a similar ethos, with the handmade approach to their products.  

New concepts from the trip will appear in our Fall Holiday season of 2020.

Live Simply

 

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There is a change in the air that heralds the coming of Fall. It is a transitional feeling, where the long heat filled days of summer give way to earlier sunsets and brisker mornings. We settle into rhythms back at home as summer’s adventures begin to wane. For this transitional time period we’ve paired patterned glassware, reminiscent of summer’s waves, with hand painted linens and warm wood accents for simple casual dining. Take it outside while you still can!

Andrew Pearce’s warm cherry wood bowls and plates are a great way to change up outdoor dining. They are unbreakable,  sustainable, and their oil sealed surfaces can hold any food you serve. Just stack them up and clean them gently at the end of the meal. We have some beautiful wood chargers and teak handled flatware to complete the layered setting of warm woods. The chargers are particularly beautiful in that the maker discovered a way to cure them without cracking. 

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The hand painted linens we feature are a recent discovery of Simon’s. He was drawn to the intention of these makers and the authentic beauty of their product.

Bertozzi Linens is an established family run business in Northern Italy, where solar power and other sustainable practices drive their business. Since 1920, the company has hand-carved thousands of peartree wooden block stamps. Their linens are then hand painted with proprietary dyes based on natural indigo based ingredients, and they use a unique process to steam these dyes into the linen fibers, which lends a superior product with vibrant hues that are resistant to fading. All their linen is certified from Europe, field to fabric and their production is Oeko Tex Certified.

Links to the Simon Pearce website for Bertozzi napkin and runner.

The Waterbury glass collection in this outdoor setting consists of a carafe, and small tumbler, and we introduce for the first time, a tall tumbler to complete the set. Add a glowing Waterbury hurricane to the table as your guests linger past sunset. Each piece is unique with its hand wrapped waves, swirled and then heated for a permanent wavy texture.

A final touch to our early Fall soiree is our collection of hand blown glass pumpkins. We have added an artistic flare to them this season, creating curly glass stems, each one unique, so you can choose from our glass patch of pumpkins, much as you would in the pumpkin field. 

The glass pumpkin can be found in small, medium, and large sizes. The velvet pumpkins can be found in salmon (small, medium, large), maize (medium and large), and graphite (medium and large) colors.

Taste that Stands the Test of Time

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We take crafting glasses seriously at Simon Pearce; and our focus is matched with all the great crafted breweries in the state of Vermont.

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Each year we design new concepts that we add to our line of barware, to keep up with the evolution of beer making and tasting. Our silhouettes are carefully formed with the finesse of our glassblowers.

In addition to many iconic beer glasses, some of our stemmed lines that are geared towards wine actually make great beer glasses.

Mick Maguire, our head of technology at Simon Pearce has lent his expertise in brews and tested many of our glasses to find some perfect pairings. He has experimented with prototypes of our new Vintner pulled-stem line, and discovered that they lend themselves perfectly to particular types of beer.

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“The form of any vessel effects the drinking experience, not just in a tactile manner. An angular body where the base is wider than the neck will have the effect of concentrating the aroma of the beer helping your nose appreciate the full spectrum of the flavor and will also help preserve the head. This is particularly pronounced with ‘bigger’ beers like bourbon barrel aged stouts and double IPA where it will really bring out the white oak of one and citrus of the other. This means that our Vintner line has ideal candidates for truly appreciating the flavor and nuance of complex craft brews. The Snifter will easily hold a full pour and sits very pleasingly in the hand.”

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“For a lighter beer such as a Kolsh or Pilsner, the flute shape of the Ascutney Pint, or the Norwich tall beaker, lend a traditional German feel which brings out the brightness of these nicely.”

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“But my go to everyday summer beer glass is the Woodstock Balloon, perfect for sitting round a campfire, it’s robust design makes it very durable and pleasantly weighty,  while at the same time it’s oversized bowl allows the nose to enter the glass as you drink, giving a truly full sensory experience.”

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“The bottom line is any beverage that has care put into its creation, will taste better in one of our handcrafted glasses, I’d encourage everybody to experiment to see the differences brought about by form, regardless of how a glass is labelled.” -M. Maguire

You can try our glasses out with great beer served at our bar in the Mill.  Visit us and experience the difference handcrafted glass makes.

 

Beachstone Pottery

Earthy poetic in form & technique

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Artistry, concentration, and the hand all contribute to the remarkable objects we turn out at our pottery workshop everyday. The challenge of building things from the ground up, with earthy clay takes a blend of virtuosity, muscle memory and a keen eye to what looks balanced and well proportioned.

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Our latest artistic creation from the pottery is our Beachstone collection.  The inspiration comes from the natural elements here in Vermont.  Along the shore of Lake Champlain, particularity in the area of Shelburne farms, there are beach stones and rock formations that are made of 450-million-year-old, Iberville Shale.

The stones have beautiful graphic striations and veins of the mineral calcite, that inspired the sedimentary effects we wanted to capture in our clay.  By experimenting with different colors  of clay pushed together; we created the effect we wanted to achieve.

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Jeff, our master potter, has a great deal of experience with unique techniques and has perfected marbling the clay and throwing forms on the Potter’s wheel that reveal the graphic striated layers of clay.

Links to: Round Vase / Classic Vase / Bowl

See how it’s done below.

In Good Company

Twin Farms/Opus One Collaboration

Gathering around the Table

We recently had the pleasure of joining forces with Opus One Winery and Twins Farms, to provide a beautiful Vermont based dining event for guests at the Twin Farms.  The aim of our efforts, was to bring people together for an elevated experience around the dining table, with the combination of great food, amazing wine, and handcrafted excellence in glass.

This dinner event, at Twin Farms, featured seven courses, by guest Chef Sarah Steffan, of Blackberry Farm, and Nathan Rich, of Twin Farms. France Posener, who is from Opus One, told amazing vineyard tales of the company history, it’s evolution, and gave an in depth background on the wines being tasted. To compliment the theme of the evening, each couple attending the event received a Bristol Wine Decanter from Simon Pearce.

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The decanter, is a special glass vessel for us, which started out much like the Bristol Tumbler adhering to proportions from the golden section ratios found in nature.  Simon brings a keen eye to proportioning, and attention to detail that is a hallmark of our design philosophy. We carry these values through every new design, and it is innate to this modern decanter.

We blend distinctive form with function. The character of the design first started with renderings on paper while considering the right capacity for a bottle of wine, and creating the proper amount of interior surface area for the wine to decant. Through the sampling process, we tested them and made  revisions, before the process of manufacturing began, right here at our workshops, in Vermont.

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With our trip to Napa last spring, we set out to form relationships with companies like Opus One, and cultivating a deeper connection with handcrafted American wine.

Our first collaborative dining and wine tasting experience around the table was at Ocean House, an amazing destination in Rhode Island.  The culinary expertise for the food was a combination of Twin Farms with Ocean House, and France Posener eloquently spoke about the Opus One wine being served, and I gave the guests insights about the design and making of our Barre Pitcher which we featured that evening.

 

The Barre Pitcher is a contemporary fluid form that  is a joy to use, and is reminiscent of the silhouette of an Egret.