24 June 2012
Two weekends ago I was in Cranston, Rhode Island for Festival Fete ( www.festivalfete.com ) an arts festival with a good funky vibe to it. A great time, lots of awesome crafters and some simply wonderful people. While I was there I had the opportunity to talk with a crafter who used a Shaker box he made "ages" ago as his cash box...he, of course, carried his Shaker box around in a square Shaker inspired carrier that was inspiring to me. I've been thinking about using the stack of cherry sitting in the middle of the shop for just such a project - hopefully, by the New Year everyone will be able to see the progress on this endeavor.
Last week saw a few wholesale orders go out the door to retailers that for different reasons I'd like to highlight. First, we sent out our first order for the The Ball and Claw in Newport, Rhode Island. ( www.ballandclaw.com ) The Ball and Claw is on Americas's Cup Avenue in Newport and is home to the furniture built by Jeffrey Greene. As a "wood guy" I'm happy just to have All Things Shaker's products in the same zip code much less in the same store as these exceptional examples of American Craftsmanship. We also sent a shipment off to Mrs. June Hopkins at the North Haven Gift Shop in North Haven, Maine. Being an hour boat ride off the coast of Maine, I'm certain that this may be one of our harder to get to retailers. The store run by Mrs. Hopkins and her granddaugher has a strong focus on finding the perfect items for the guests and residents of the island. It might be a long trip but it's worth checking out www.northhavenmaine.org and thinking about a visit to the North Haven Gift Shop.
This past week has been full of market and competitive research. I've been out to Cape Cod, up to Canterbury Shaker Village and may still make it up to Maine and Sabbothday Lake in the next week or two to do a little research in their library at the Shaker Village. It appears that most everyone making boxes ( Shaker boxess, that is) these days is putting finish on the inside. To be honest, it looks nicer and folks are using these for food storage much less these days so the original reason for leaving the interior unfinished is mostly gone. For this reason, we've started putting a single coat of sealer on the inside of the boxes here. It looks nicer, and while I might be a traditionalist it's time to move in the direction that everyone seems to want. We can still do boxes for you that are unfinished on the inside, but standard boxes will have a finished interior from now on.
Well...the river continues to flow behind the mill building here. The last week of ultra-high heat (by New Hampshire standards) has seen the level drop; but it still moves on. It keeps me aware that I need to keep moving also. Lots of big boxes (8's through 12's) getting ready for the finish room and then off into the world.
Willis (sales and operations), Cara (operations and administration) and I (boxmaker) will be on the Amherst, New Hampshire town green July 4th along with Sumner Bennett of SB Shaker Box (he's also the resident consultant at All Things Shaker). Sumner and I are going to do some demonstrations on box making and generally talking to folks about the craft. Willis and Cara will be happy to sell some boxes and generally keep Sumner and me in line as much as possible. Late in July Willis and I head off to the Philadelphia Gift Show in Oaks, Pennsylvania. The gift show is open to wholesale trade only, but we're hoping to see lots of old friends there as well as meeting new ones.
Keep cool - a tough task for the last week. Now it's time for me to take the river's example and get on with things.
With best regards,
Boxmaker - - All Things Shaker
250 North Commercial Street
Manchester, New Hampshire 03101