Artisan Displays Along the Backroads & Byways

Traveling across the backroads and byways of the east, we navigated between a few fierce rainstorms to explore new open air markets and main streets. It was part of our quest to see what the summer season had on display. We found the local shops and maker booths brimming with fresh floral vases, colorful books, tools for outdoor adventures, blankets, and artisan sauces and scents reflecting unique cultures. In the midst of this digital world, it’s heartening to see people appreciate beautiful textures and the feel of hand-crafted pieces, whether it’s smooth glassware, a ceramic glaze or supple leather.

Words don’t seem to do full justice to the sights, smells and sounds of our open air strolls, so we’ve selected a few photos to help bring the sensations home for you. (Photos taken in Burlington, VT, Phoenicia Flea, and Kingston, NY)

How to Match Artisan Storytelling with Your Corporate Mission

Sitting at an end table in a busy local restaurant, we began a conversation about how to tell the story of living a healthy lifestyle through elements of artisan work. Our contact was looking for a way to give custom hand-crafted gifts, and at the same time, represent a corporate brand of health and wellness. Between spoonfuls of soup, we picked through sample ceramic pieces and bantered about ideas.

Big meetings with special clients require a lot of planning, agenda outlines, and logistical coordination. At the end of all that planning, a client gift had better cap off a productive day with surprise and delight! Deciding on the contents of a meaningful gift can be tricky because these professionals represent many international cultures, and you likely have never met them before. Still, you want to leave a lasting, positive impression of your company. The question becomes how does one give a thoughtful gift, in line with the company brand, without crossing any cultural boundaries that may inadvertently offend someone.

The beauty of artisan work is that it offers variety, and the ability to select unique pieces that are both meaningful and reflect a company’s mission. In working with this global corporation, we considered different options and challenges. Food items were off the list when we evaluated transit times and the guests’ travel plans. Avoiding any direct implication of alcohol was another variable we removed. Their brand encourages healthy living and outdoor activity, so how best to blend those ideas with artisan appeal?

The solution was twofold, first to select elements created by artists located in different areas of the country, places where their employees live and work. This was a creative way to showcase the company’s geographic diversity while highlighting the craftsmanship of a unique set of artists. And, in picking certain pieces, we accomplished the second objective, which included a subtle reference to healthy lifestyles (cutting board and veggie/cheese slicer) and enjoying the great outdoors (National Parks postcard book, woolen to-go-cup holders, and brass hiking bells).

To complete this story, we chose styles from upstate New York, the Hudson Valley, Vermont, and Maryland to create the gift boxes. We also shared the individual artists’ information, and how each element represented a different local region.

In these times when our differences are often the focus, it was rewarding to see how artisan gifts so beautifully aligned diverse cultural connections with a positive corporate mission.

Now Boarding...How Cutting Boards Serve Up a First-Class Gift

If you’re tired, dare I say “bored,” of traditional gifts, welcome an old friend with a new look to the neighborhood and make it a block party! A chopping block kind of occasion.

The standard cutting board has a fresh, new gifting style, thanks to the finishes, wood, and tools now available. Even color combinations can vary depending on the wood, adding a deep, rich appearance that highlights the artisan appeal. Red oak, mahogany, and maple are a few of the woods we use but take your pick. 

If you want to add a personal touch, pair your cutting board with a unique accessory that matches a specific style or passion. 

If cooking is a favorite pastime, a veggie chopper (or cheese cutter), matched with a cutting board is a thoughtful option for crunch time decisions

For folks who rock the look of ceramic shot glasses and limes, we pair our hand-crafted boards with an iron-forged slicing knife to keep it dicey! Given our #ruggedstyle we also like to use a strip of leather to tie pieces together.

Small is mighty, despite what some may say. Having a compact (5x7) board handy for quick jobs like slicing lemons, onions or cherry tomatoes is perfect. It’s still big enough to be useful, yet small enough to tuck away. Classic edging can make a big difference too, creating a sleeker look.

In terms of maintenance, a splash of Howard Cutting Board Oil will do the trick every three to four months to keep it looking spectacular. Beautiful and easy! (Any of the cutting boards shown above can be added to our gift boxes using the Custom page form.) 

The good news is that custom tools and wood options have elevated the old idea of a cutting board. There’s no need to be a chip off the old block anymore.