Thomas Shackleton Furniture is top-of-the-line "Made in Vermont"
crafted woodworking. This is not for people seeking Ikea quality in
Chinese-made budget laminates. This is the finest American crafted
furniture you'll find and as such, it appeals to those who must have
the best. For the finest holiday gifts, expect to spend several
hundred dollars for a mirror or lamp and much more for a chair,
table, bed or desk.
The memory of a visit to
Vermont stays with me as I watch the news about inferior products
that make people sick. Lead paints, cheap materials and toxins have
seeped not only into our toys, clothes and food, but into our
furniture and baby furniture, too.
So when I visited Vermont last
year and saw this amazing wood furniture business in which employees
go through a long, arduous process and years of training in
apprenticeship to make fine furniture, I couldn't help but fall in
love with what co-owner Charles Shackleton called "soul" in the feel
of his wood pieces. It sounds pretty hokey, but I really understand
it. And, I was reminded of it recently.
On a tour at Big Trees State
Park in Calaveras County, California, I heard park rangers use names
for centuries old trees in the north and south groves. When a fellow
journalist convinced me to hug a nearly 2,000-year old redwood tree,
I was hesitant. "Let go," he said. "Be still and concentrate on the
tree's life." I didn't have time to focus on the effort, but got the
point. There are thankfully people on this planet who honor the
forests and other living things. And when a male ranger nearly cried
as he discussed the death of one of the oldest living trees,
destroyed by "man's greed", I remembered Charles Shackleton. He said
their furniture pieces are made around the natural shapes inherent
to wood pieces. Learning how to work with those natural features
becomes a first step in apprenticeship.
Many of us have become jaded,
collecting disposable furniture, video products and items meant to
be thrown away rather than fixed and saved. So when you decide that
it's time to own one nice thing instead of dozens of cheaper
products, you may want to look at Charles Shackleton's beautiful
wood items, or his wife's pottery. Co-partner, Miranda Thomas,
crafts fine pottery pieces, plates, lamps and decorator items.
Charles Shackleton Furniture and Miranda Thomas Pottery is located
in a huge, yellow mill 13 miles west of exit 1 Quechee/Woodstock. If
you can't afford the furniture for the holidays, buy your loved one
a plane ticket, hotel stay and workshop admission to experience the
process of making fine products. More information is available
Nearby accommodations include
the finest hotel in Woodstock, Woodstock Inn and Resort. Summers are
gorgeous. Winters, it may snow..