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 blending 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 are 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.

 

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.

From Milan to the Mill

The Spritz Phenomenon

Every spring, Milan becomes the destination for designers from all over the world who descend upon the the city for the Salone del Mobile, to experience what is the latest and greatest in the design industry.

In addition to the show, the whole city celebrates creativity during Design Week, with home furnishing and interior design companies  hosting unique events at their locations.  Pop up installations are everywhere by brands of any industry, with new concepts for Living, and all doors are open with crowds and lines forming. On the surface, Milan can appear somewhat stoic, but below the surface there is a dynamic vibrancy due to the strong blend of culture and commerce. On alternating years, the design show has a focus on lighting, which is inspiring to see with the nearly limitless variations in construction and materials. The use of glass is so pervasive from pendants to chandeliers and lamps. Milan is both an inspiration and affirmation of how important creativity is to business.

After an entire day at the trade show or events around the city, the golden hour sets in when everyone goes out for the Aperitivi, a ritual that starts around 6pm. The classic bitter liqueurs and aromatized wines are served before dinner, and many of the unique combinations of drinks evolved through the midcentury era in Italy. The modern Aperitivi with a spritz of either Procesco or soda water, are more than just drinks, they are meant to inspire, reflect and get the conversations going.

The famed Bar Basso, known for the Negroni Sbagliato, appears to be a traditional establishment  but has a cosmopolitan clientele and this particular campari drink is typically served in a giant hand blown goblet with a large block of ice. From the street you know you are approaching Bar Basso because crowds gather around it.

A previous recipe for a Negroni on this blog can be found here.

During the golden hour, throughout Milan you see many people drinking an orange toned Aperitivi, known as Aperol spritz, which has gained in popularity and finds it’s way here to Vermont and is served at our Mill.

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Jerod our Restaurant and Bar Director says “We are loving the sharp elements that amaro’s are bringing to the table right now. Our guests are looking for lighter cocktails that they can enjoy before their dinners and Aperol brings a refreshing element to these. Paired with Barr Hill Gin, Orange, and a splash of soda is a lovely way to enjoy this ever popular aperitif!”. 

Here is our recipe for “The Bubbly Bee”:

1-1/2 oz Barr Hill Gin

1/8 oz Aperol

1/8 oz St. Elder

1-1/2 oz Prosecco

Small orange slice or twist to garnish

Build in 1/2 ice filled glass, add a splash of soda and garnish.

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I also made up my own Americano, while in the Dolomites:

1-1/2 ounces of Campari

1-1/2 ounces of vermouth

Soda water

Served in our own Apprentice glass.

Handcrafted Home Fragrance

Add a New Dimension with Handcrafted Scents for the Home

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Simon Pearce glass is known for its clarity.  A captivating and lyrical quality of flickering light is created when a candle burns in one of our Silver Lake pieces. The Silver Lake glass texture we created is reminiscent of the reflection of birch trees that surround Silver Lake, not far from our Vermont glass blowing studio. With our home fragrance line, we offer a new way to experience Simon Pearce in your home, with scents curated to reflect a simple and pure approach, in line with our design aesthetic.

When creating the scents, we were inspired by the vast and dense Evergreens in the surrounding forests, the freshly mowed fields that we pass on the way to the glassblowing studio, and the gorgeous Peonies that bloom in Simon and Pia’s garden each Spring.

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Our Scented candles and diffusers use the same durable and beautiful handcrafted vessels as our other products, which makes our home fragrance program unique.

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The Limited Edition ceramic vessels are glazed in unique colors for each season. Made with our porcelaneous stoneware (stoneware containing porcelain ingredients), they are strong, long lasting and reusable as mugs, vases, storage vessels, a pot for your small plant, or a votive candle holder. Available in our retail stores.

The diffuser vessel is a hand blown organic shape we love and fill with a blend of essential oils and all natural fragrance. The fragrance is absorbed through rattan reeds, and the essential oils slowly release the fragrance over time.

One bottle of diffuser oil can last between six months to a year, after which, you could purchase replacement oil, or use the vessel as a vase. 

Available in the scents: Coast, Peony Blossom, Tranquility, and Evergreen.

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Every aspect of these candles and diffusers is carefully considered. From the hand made vessel, soy grown in the USA, to the lead free cotton wicks, the small batch production and the packaging, which makes our scented candles or diffusers the perfect gift.

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Try our current scents:

EVERGREEN: Spruce, fir needles, balsam, citrus

COAST: Ocean mist, briny kelp, fresh citrus 

PEONY BLOSSOM: Oriental blooms, green stems, rose musk

TRANQUILITY: Herbal patchouli, vanilla, lime

PRAIRIE: Cut grass, hay, lavender

Spring Tablescapes

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As days grow longer and dappled sunlight casts its playful shadows through our windows, we set our tables with Burlington Cloud dinnerware and exclusive Watercolor Floral print table linens (napkin, runner, tablecloth).

From Spring holiday tables to Mother’s Day brunch and all the casual family weekend lunches in between, the wavy and organic silhouette of the Burlington dinnerware melds with natural elements for the table, while the versatile floral print linens can be styled with cool or warm toned floral and centerpiece accents*.

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*It should be noted that linen is the ideal 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 (also yielding linseed oil, twines and ropes)

The “must have” new hand blown glass star of our Spring tablescape is the Addison Basket. Fill it with eggs or a May Day plant and offer it as a hostess gift, or set multiples down your table for a festive centerpiece. This year we are offering hand carved marble eggs as well, to fill the basket with, or to lay along your tablescape.

Two new light and fanciful elements for the Spring table are Horn Handled flatware and a napkin folded “nest”.  The flatware is crafted in France. The horn pattern (made from acrylic) is hand finished and each piece of the set has a unique and gorgeous design.  We fashioned the napkin “nest” by rolling and coiling our napkin just so, to cradle a marble or real egg .*

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*We’ve used the iconic blue egg from the Araucana chickens, that we hunt down at local markets here in Vermont, but you could paint a wood egg as well.

The finishing glass touches to our Spring table begin with Woodstock tumblers. We love our small tumblers with the rounded silhouettes because they can work as stemless wine tumblers, cocktail glasses, or a simple water glass. This Woodstock (and that of the Apprentice glass) silhouette is fuller, shorter, and more casual, while the elegant Hampton Stemless Tumbler, with its thinner and slightly tapered, taller shape, offers a more refined option.

Our favorite new candlelight option is the Bristol Small Hurricane with its lower profile and angular shape. It brings a modern and fresh element to the table.

As Spring progresses and the peonies blossom, consider adding our new Engraved Floral Addison Vase, engraved with spring blossoms, to your spring table or windowsill. The engraved design adds texture and the tapered opening holds delicate blossoms or greenery alike. It is fast becoming a Spring favorite of our customers.

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For fuller and larger Spring gatherings, consider adding these three customer favorites:

Spring Blossoms in our Revere Bowl

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In Vermont we are still many weeks away from seeing green in the landscape and unlike more southern locations, we are not yet enjoying sprouting bulbs outside. While we await the coming of Spring, instead, we can create small Spring “gardens” in our clear glass.

While you could create the feeling of Spring in any of our glass bowls, our Revere Bowl has the perfect shape, with its wider flat interior base, straighter sides, and flared rim. Here we offer a step by step process to create your own Spring Garden indoors, while you await the real thing.

Our stylist, Victoria Maiolo, will demonstrate the steps.

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1. Purchase some forced flower bulbs from your local nursery or grocery store, such as tulips, hyacinth or daffodils. Ideally the flowers have not yet bloomed- as shown in our photos here. Lay down some newspaper and remove the bulbs from the pot, separating each bulb (it’s okay to break some of the roots that are entwined). If needed, you can rinse the bulbs with water to remove dirt from the bulbs.

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2. Gather enough small stones or gravel to cover the bottom of the bowl, and begin to arrange the bulls on top of the stones/gravel. To help keep them in their spots, add additional stones/gravel in between the bulbs. Add just enough water to come to the top edge of the stones/gravel. The bulbs will sit on top of the water. The roots can extend into the water but the bulbs should not be submerged in the water.

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3. Add pieces of moss in and around the bulbs and take care to add all round the sides so that the moss is seen through the sides of the bowl (green sheet moss as shown here, or neutral colored Spanish moss will work).

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4. Once all is in place and you are happy w/the arrangement and the bulbs are secure, cut short pieces of pussy willow and stick in and around the arrangement. These should reach through the gravel below, so they can absorb water. You could also use Forsythia or other blooming branches such as Quince or Cherry blossoms.

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5. Check the water in the bowl periodically, and keep the stones wet, but again, do not over-water the bowl, or the bulbs will rot. Use minimal water; just enough to keep them going. Keep out of direct sunlight to maximize the life of the arrangement and keep the bulbs from blooming too quickly.

Note: Revere Bowl M was used in these photos.

Holiday Decorating

Hygge Holiday 

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At Simon Pearce we are embracing the Swedish lifestyle of Hygge (“hoo-gah”) by creating warm and cozy moments where our handcrafted glass and pottery are at the center. Styling our extra large hurricanes with multiple candles and some seasonal fill such as pine cones, sugar (as snow) or bits of nature we gather creates a centerpiece for a hygge atmosphere where candlelight is central.  We include Crystalline teardrop vases in candent with our alabaster and selenite votive holders, and we have the perfect mix of subtle and soft textures and colors.

Holiday Centerpiece

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Create a centerpiece with our new Echo Lake Bowl. With the same light reflecting qualities that inspired our Echo Lake Hurricanes, the texture of this bowl can either illuminate or subtly reflect the contents of the centerpiece. 

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Here we show natural elements on their own and illuminated by string lights, as well as cranberries floating in water, illuminated by our floating candles. The shape of the bowl also makes it a natural for serving trifle desserts or other holiday food you wish to highlight.

Small Touches 

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Some of the finest details can make the most memorable moments for friends and family over the holidays. In our stores, the customers’ faces light up when they see our 1” glass ice cubes wrapped like presents with ⅛” red ribbon and placed around our glass Christmas trees. Groupings can adorn the table or mantle in this way.

Recently, we added a place card holder, created from our ice cube molds. Try wrapping the cardholder with red ribbon around the sides and add a name card for each place setting, or simply wrap a cube for each guest, or both!

Crystalline Ornaments

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The allure of our subtly textured crystalline inspired our potters to try the mysterious glaze techniques on something our customers love, ornaments. The small round porcelain shape our potters create has the perfect contour for the glaze crystals because it is all about timing and shape with our crystalline glaze. As the ornaments are slowly cooled, and then held at a certain temperature, the liquid glaze becomes more like molasses. Only certain components of the glaze move around within the liquid and form crystals, their size determined by the amount of time they remain in this state. It is the magic and unpredictability of this process that creates the beautiful surface of our crystalline.

Holiday Floral

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The Silver Lake Bowl has a wonderful icy texture that hides the stems of beautiful greenery and florals that you might gather outside your home. What we love about this bowl is how it makes floral arranging for the holidays so simple. Skip the florist, in favor of gathering greens and berries left on branches, while you walk the dog, or stroll with a friend, then bring them inside and arrange with ease, as the tapered base holds the stems in place for you. Flower arranging, Vermont style.

Illuminate the Holidays

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Our LED bases have illuminated our glass evergreens for years, but more recently we are enamored with silver strands of tiny LED lights. A 30 ft. plug in strand with a blank leader works well for creating mantle and centerpiece displays or to decorate your Christmas tree. The shorter 15 ft. strand has a battery pack for use in other, more precarious situations, such as inside one of our hurricanes in place of a candle, for coffee table vignettes or even around place settings at a holiday table, with the battery pack hidden under a table runner. It’s even possible to use these strands to adorn branches with hanging glass ornaments over your dining table for the ultimate holiday atmosphere.

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Harvest Gatherings

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The warm hues of turning leaves are made vibrant by the fading light of Fall and inspire the way we mix glass, pottery and textiles on our harvest tables.  The tone is set with plentiful candlelight and we layer pottery in shades of slate, dove and grey marble for that “Equinox” feel. The mood is rich and the feel is casual.

The place settings are grounded with our natural weave Nettle runner and NEW matte slate glazed Cavendish dinner plates. Layered on top are glossy Cavendish side plates in the dove white glaze and Andrew Pearce 7” Cherry Live Edge Salad Bowls.

To balance the feel, we set each place with a Hampton Stemless Tumbler, a modern take on our refined Hampton stemware and Georg Jensen Copenhagen flatware, with its weightless feel.

Custom designed linens in a golden hue of a cotton/linen mix are printed with Fall chestnuts & are gathered with a Simon Pearce glass napkin ring.

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Where there were once three, now there are six heights of our iconic Hartland candlestick. We’ve added three heights in a NEW stemmed design. You can stop here or you can bring in our NEW pineapple candlestick to create a lively mix along the table. The pineapple, a symbol of hospitality, has become a top seller.

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In between Fall gatherings, the high contrast mix of pottery is a natural for the everyday table, made special with the whimsy of the grey marble, which you can collect in place settings, tiny tapas plates or gorgeous show stopping platters and serving bowls.

Let the final embellishment of your table be a Simon Pearce glass Pumpkin. Like our evergreens, they can be collected to create a pumpkin patch for the table or mantle, to be cherished and shown off year after year.

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