Adding Shine with New Handcrafted Hammered Bowls

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.

Stainless steel has long been an essential element to how we set the table, and it adds a bit of shine and reflection to the overall tabletop landscape.  From a practical and aesthetic perspective, Simon has been a fan of the high quality handcrafted hammered metal we offer.
The stainless steel bowls have a few distinct advantages for serving due to the fact that it is easy to clean, very durable and malleable enough to create unique shapes.
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The Medium Bowl used as a Champagne Chiller

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.

Adding shine with new handcrafted hammered bowls.  Stainless steel bowl used as a wine chiller.
Stainless Steel Bowl as a Wine Chiller

Visit us to find these great new bowls at our retail stores and on our website.

The New Woodbury Bourbon Glass

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:

In a cocktail shaker with ice:

1 ½ oz. Bullet Bourbon

1 oz. lemon simple

¼ oz blackberry puree 

Shake and pour into an Woodbury Bourbon glass. 

Visit the Mill

Make the Simon Pearce Mill a summer destination and see where we make many of our barware and stemware items.

The Honey Grapefruit Martini

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 chilled Benson or Ascutney 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.

The Benson Martini Glass

Explore our drinkware assortment online, or visit our Mill in Quechee Vermont, to experience the many dimensions of Simon Pearce.

The Waterfall at the Simon Pearce Mill

Every Dog has it’s Day

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.

Enjoy a Negroni Sbagliato in the Vintner Flute

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

Prosecco

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.

Through the Eyes of Design Students

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.

Long Summer Days

At Simon Pearce, we take our design inspiration from Nature with all that New England has to offer, from the rolling terrain to the lakes, rivers and waterfalls.  We cherish time outside, a walk in the woods, or time spent at the waterside this time of the year which infuses our design thinking.

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As summer sets in and the days blend together, we strive to regain some sense of normalcy and a chance to relax and to recharge.  The long days of sunshine offer time to focus on comfort, warmth, and familiarity.  We rediscover ways to enjoy sunsets and the evening outdoors while we savour summer drinks or wine out of our favorite glasses.  Taking a break allows us to gain the sense of enlightenment that comes from being out in Nature whether by land or sea.

Vintner & Marble

With change in our everyday routines we seek ways to live with a new approach, and try to surround ourselves with beautiful things that give us joy.  We’ve been adding to our Vintner wine tasting collection, with the new Coupe and Tulip wine. The Vintner glasses, with their stunning good looks and refined function are an opportunity to upgrade your wine tasting experience.   We’ve also added the new material combination of glass and marble to the wine tasting story.  The marble forms are inspired by a visit to the recreated atelier of Brancusi at the Pompidou Center in Paris.  An artist of the early 20th Century he was known for simplicity, elemental shapes, and a liberal use of material which are ideas that are true to our design approach.

Brancusi's Atelier
Brancusi’s Atelier

The design process started with small clay sketches, and hand renderings to evolve the aesthetic of the group. The marble items center around wine & cheese serving, with future designs in the queue to round out the concept.  The smooth simplicity of the marble designs marry perfectly with the elegant outlines of our Vintner Collection.

The marble is another way for us to bring a new earthy material into the mix of our brand expression.  The latest introductions are the Marble Chiller and the Vintner Wine Decanter.

 

Woodbury Phone Holder

While sheltering at home, the effort to reinvent the home office became paramount for many of us.  Looking at the desktop landscape, we quickly realized we needed something to hold our phone or tablet, while video conferencing, and came up with the Woodbury Phone Holder to compliment our other items in the collection.  Having the appearance of being sculpted from a block of ice, our proportions are scaled to work with most phones and smaller tablets.   The clear solid base is an exceptional design for anyone looking for a crafted technology solution for the office or even the kitchen while following recipes.

Romance Heart Vase

The sculptural outcome of finessing a unique form with our talented glassblowers, the Romance Heart Vase is a work of art in glass.  It started out as renderings on paper, and then went to interpretation by our master glassblowers, with each one capturing a special moment of expression with the human hand.  The versatility of the fluid shape performs perfectly as a vase with summer blooms and also as a decor object that can stand on its own.  A great gift for any occasion or for someone special to give a heart to.

Shell Platter

An iconic item for this summer entertaining, is the new organic shell platter.  The new design takes it’s natural inspiration from ancient fossil spirals revealed in stones of the Isle La Motte, here in Vermont.  The concept was translated into a textured shell, starting with hand sculpting the design into plaster and then a metal mold to cast the glass platter.  It’s a versatile object with plenty of surface for serving, and a visual delight when sun shines through it.

For the latest summer offerings visit our website and stores.

Our stores are open exhibiting some of the best collections in glass, pottery, and accessories, with a focus on summer seasonal entertaining at home.  Shop by appointment, to be immersed in the assortments of beautifully crafted wares to uplift your everyday experience.

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Summer Blues on Display in the Mill Retail Shop

Shop our stores:

https://www.simonpearce.com/our-stores#shop-by-appointment

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.

At home office
Working from Home

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

 

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

Fire

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.