Just before the big tourist rush hit Cape Cod on the Fourth, a group of us made our way to Massachusetts for an on-location shoot for our summer campaigns.
The week was full of long workdays unpacking products, beachcombing for props, scheduling shoots around the tides, and chasing the most beautiful lighting (often quite early in the morning – and with plenty of Beanstock coffee to fuel our efforts) – followed by short-but-sweet evenings sharing grilled pizza and ideas for how to best show our customers how much we love doing what we do.
Together, we came up with new ways to show the beauty of our handmade glass and pottery, in settings that bring forth the strong influence nature has on our designs – like showing the rugged New England spirit of our Bristol Hurricane standing up to the waves of the mighty Atlantic or our Revere Hurricane serving as illumination for the perfect summer view.
And we welcomed our newest colleague into the mix: Victoria (also known as @daisy_roots_ ) who created visuals for our retail stores for over five years, and is now bringing her incredible eye to our digital marketing efforts. We’re thrilled to have her on the team!
We hope you love the images we captured as much as we do – and that they inspire you to enjoy every moment of your summer. Check out the homepage to see our photos in action!
When it comes to ideating new concepts in design, Simon and Pia are a dream team. The original glass basket was Pia’s idea, which was brought to life using the clean lines of Simon’s Addison Collection. We launched this first version in March 2018 and it quickly became a spring classic.
Two years later, we took the same simple shape and applied the wrapped-glass effect of Echo Lake for a texture that nods to a natural woven basket. Like all Echo Lake pieces, it’s made by master glassblowers nimbly wrapping a fine strand of molten glass around the silhouette. With both baskets, the handle takes some skill to apply, with a race against time and gravity to prevent it from flopping.
As whimsical as it is, this sweet design has inspired a surprising number of uses: A vessel for pretty pastilles or cheeseboard crackers, an unexpected planter, a flower girl wedding accessory… Surely we’ll think of more as the years go on.
We like to think of our glass baskets as future heirlooms, darling markers of the start of spring, and unique vessels to fill and leave on a doorstep as a May Day tradition. How will you use yours?
With Winter Solstice upon us, we take every opportunity to enjoy the wintery wonderland as a source for new inspiration. A steady flow of ideas come from reflecting on this season, taking cues from nature for new evergreen trees, frosty decorative objects, and essentials to gather around the table. We transform what we see and experience into new glass objects to bring home and enjoy everyday. Our handcrafted glass is magical as it starts as a molten material that takes it’s form from the finesse and skill of the master glassblowers.
The organic shaped Burlington Collection’s plates and bowls have unique reactive effects in the glazing that are both casual and elegant. It can be paired with any of our glassware and flatware lines, but here we have it featured with our new Benson Tumbler and Warren Flatware.
The Benson tumbler evolved from the geometric design concept originating with the martini glass and it is universally useful for a variety of occasions. The Spruce tree is now offered in a new mini version that is a great gift or a nice addition to any beloved glass forest. Building upon our natural theme the potters created a great line of marbled clay vessels that are very unique centerpiece bowls and vases called Beachstone.
The new warren flatware is inspired by a teardrop shape, similar to the lamp in our lighting line. The streamlined flatware is 18/10 stainless steel that is cast and forged by skilled craftsman. Partnering with Bertozzi, we created new linen patterns for this winter. Our favorite is the naturally beautiful Ponderosa design with oversized pine needles in both a napkin and a runner. Another new addition is the shape of our classic evergreen trees as a beeswax candle in ivory, red and green. Lastly, a useful item for entertaining is the elemental Soapstone Chiller that can keep you wine cool or double as a mini ice bucket. Consider some of these new additions as part of your holiday celebrations as we officially head into winter.
A Collaboration with WhistlePig Yields a Unique Glass
We were very optimistic about this new design when we saw the final samples of the Shoreham Whiskey Glass come out of the glassblowing studio. After many months of hard work and collaboration, this striking glass grew directly out of a passion for handcrafted quality that both Simon Pearce and WhistlePig share. These two Vermont based companies were driven to perfect the whiskey and glass combination. We found the WhistlePig American-style rye, to be a quintessential pairing with our handmade glass.
The collaboration first started with an ideal bowl shape specified for optimal whiskey tasting and we evolved it with a softly rounded base that fits nicely in the hand. Simon himself said “the lines of this glass are simply beautiful”. The glass derives it’s name from the town where WhistlePig has a 500-acre farm and distillery. From the moment our glassblowers formed the glass and many hours later when it was cool to the touch, we knew that this is one of the best glasses we’ve created to enjoy whiskey.
Beyond straight whiskey drinking, the new glass is also great for chilled cocktails. As the August summer days go by this drink recipe is something we have highlighted at our mill restaurant, and is a refreshing one to try at home.
We recently introduced two new exclusive designs for artisanal hammered stainless steel serving bowls. They are the perfect accessory for outdoor entertaining this summer. The silhouette is inspired by the metal vessels employed for scales you will find in general stores throughout New England, typically used for weighing provisions. The overall fluid form also takes its cues from the organic design direction used with a variety of our marble and wood accessories.
The medium bowl is specifically designed and scaled to double as a chiller to hold a wine or champagne bottle on its side resting in ice. The spout rim of the bowl holds the neck of the bottle. The delightful small bowl can be a nut, dip, or appetizer serving bowl to accessorize a bar or for entertaining around a table.
Take a break from the summer heat of July, with a wonderful chilled cocktail in the Woodbury Bourbon glass. We recently extended the infamous Woodbury collection with this smaller cousin of the Woodbury Double Old Fashioned. The barware design characteristics are distinctly different from most other lines with the hallmark chilled textures, round to square detail and the heavy base. This bourbon glass is the perfect size for sipping bourbon, enjoying a mixed cocktail or simply as a juice glass. It was originally drawn up while traveling in Paris where Simon and Jay Benson started brainstormed new ideas for drinking glasses.
The Blackberry Bourbon Sour; featured at our restaurant, and you can try it at home with this recipe:
As summer solstice approaches we’ve made the shift to outdoor entertaining. The Honey Grapefruit Martini is a seasonal favorite at our restaurant in the Mill. This refreshing drink is ideally served in a chilled Benson Martini glass which is the perfect combination of form and function. The base of the glass fits well in the hand, while the cone shape of the bowl is the right capacity to sip this summer cocktail. As the weather warms up, and if you have the opportunity to dine at our restaurant, select this wonderful cocktail off our menu, or if you are at home try our recipe.
Honey Grapefruit Martini
2 oz. Barr Hill Gin
1 oz. Honey+Lime+Grapefruit Mix* (see below)
Fresh Herb Sprig
Combine all ingredients in an ice filled shaker. Shake well and strain into a chilledBenson orAscutney Martini glass. Garnish with a herb sprig such as thyme.
*Honey Lime Grapefruit Juice Mix
1 part Hot Water
2 parts Honey
2 parts Lime Juice
5 parts Grapefruit Juice
Mix hot water and honey until honey is dissolved. Then add lime juice and grapefruit juice and mix well.
As a tribute to dogs and the role they play in family life, we’ve introduced a new glass dog each year and for 2021 our latest creation is Derby. This new silhouette features the classic characteristics of a smaller breed dog inspired by pugs, bulldogs, and boxers.
The steps we went through to create Derby, started with renderings to explore variations and interpretations that can ultimately be made out of glass. From the hand renderings we pick a path to then sculpt in clay to establish a few three dimensional models. As the models emerge, we pick out the best features and elements to finalize into one ideal model.
Once we make a metal mold from the clay model, we can start forming Derby with some trials on the glass blowing floor. The glass blowers can make adjustments with tools while the glass is hot, and use a torch to smooth out the surfaces. We evaluate the first round of samples and make any other edits to the details, to get the final result we are after.
Derby follows the same design and development path we took with our existing line of pets including the iconic dog, the puppy, and a puppy ornament. These beloved animals are a striking reminder in glass of our essential connection to the natural world. Following our tradition of using local names from the countryside, Derby takes it’s name after a wonderful Northern Vermont town.
Please visit our Website or stores to explore these great gifts for any dog lover, to have as a keepsake, a paper weight, or a decor tribute to a favorite pet.
End the week, with a refreshing drink we serve at our restaurant in the Simon Pearce mill located in idyllic Vermont. If you are inspired to kick off a happy hour and want to try the Negroni Sbagliato recipe at home we provide that in this post. The Vintner Flute is a beautiful glass with a new contemporary profile that isn’t as narrow or tall as traditional flutes which makes it perfect for light cocktails and anything sparkling. The refined elegance is a result of our master glassblowers pulling the stem from a fluid gather of glass.
Negroni Sbagliato Recipe
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
Add Campari and Cinzano to a Vintner Flute glass with light ice. Top with prosecco. Small orange garnish.
Visiting our website to browse the full range of stemware options or visit any of our stores.
Looking back on 2020, we had the pleasure of working with a group of design students from Pratt Institute to interpret our brand and design intent through their eyes.
The collaboration started with conversations with Constantin Boym the chair of the Industrial Design department at Pratt, about how we could continue to build on the relationship between the two organizations. We wanted to focus on exploring the growing connection between product design and the handmade. The next step to getting this started was to partner with Dana D’Amico the professor of the special projects class, to create a design brief. Looking through the lens of the Simon Pearce ethos, the students would investigate form and function that would be appealing to a younger demographic.
Research started before the pandemic early in 2020, and we were able to have the Pratt class leave Brooklyn and make the trip up to Vermont and visit our facilities to learn first hand about our processes for making glass and ceramics.
We gave the students a tour and introduction to the brand at our flagship Mill location, and then visited many of the facilities of our Windsor location for an in depth explanation of how we make things. Matt McFarland and Neil Cockwill gave insights into our unique processes, and requirements to make an object into something we can produce. This input is crucial for students to understand in order to resolve a design concept so it can be made by master glassblowers or potters. Over the many months that followed, we transitioned the classroom to working virtually online with video conferencing.
The students had to quickly adapting to working from home, and were extremely resourceful with continuing to experiment with concepts off campus. As we did our virtual review of the class progress, the students revealed many very poetic refections on the natural landscape and rituals of use. This exploration lead to some very creative vessel concepts for glass and ceramics that they could see incorporating into their lives.
“These students really worked hard through a challenging semester and were very excited to share their work”, a quote from Dana. The concepts were refined into a final presentation that would be reviewed by a panel of judges.
In addition to Dana and myself, we were fortunate to have an amazing panel formed from New York museums. We were joined by Yao-Fen You, Senior Curator + Head of Product Design and Decorative Arts at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and Elizabeth St. George, Curator at the Brooklyn Museum. With the virtual final review, each student gave a concise overview of their semester work. After much consideration, the panel selected the work of Stephanie Chen for her nicely resolved reference to ice formations at the Mill in connection with the rise in whiskey+bourbon drinking.
Stephanie’s study of the waterfall influenced the tactile experience of the glass in the hand, and considering amber drinks like whiskey all played into how this concept came together.
We were delighted to see all the students hard work pushed through these very thoughtful concepts and look forward to future collaborations. We love to explore concepts for the home and build relationships with students. To further delve into exploring this potential we provide internships over the summer months so students can be engaged with all elements of creating and developing new products.