Members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers are all fiercely independent having achieved an extremely high level of skill in the art of furniture making and figured out a way to make a living at this. Both of these accomplishments takes years (perhaps decades) of hard work and every Guild member has spent most, if not all, of this time working on their own – making all of their own design, construction and business decisions without having to answer to anyone. Bringing a group of individuals like this together to work for a common cause is no easy task but the results of this effort are substantial.
The Guild currently has a membership of 29 master furniture makers from throughout the state of Vermont who have been invited to join the Guild only after passing a rigourous jury process. Each member works independently in their own shop on their own designs and sets their own business practices. The Guild as a whole promotes the work of members through our website, vermontfurnituremakers.com, where visitors can easily browse a sampling each member’s work. The Guild also puts on member shows from time to time, prints a brochure and works with various suppliers of Guild members to negotiate discounts and benefits that would not otherwise be available to members individually.
All decisions about Guild activities are made jointly by all members at quarterly meetings and through email and phone calls. As you can well imagine there are 29 opinions on each subject so coming to decision often requires a lot of back and forth. The creation of this blog was no different. The idea is that through this blog members of the public will be able to get an excellent insight into who the 29 individual furniture makers are and how they each approach their work and go about creating the incredible pieces of furniture that come from their workshop.
The current plan for this blog is that each furniture maker will be assigned a day of the month when they are to post to the blog. Posting more often is permitted but the assigned schedule will ensure that there is at least one new post every day. Of course, given the independent nature of Guild members, this may be subject to discussion and change.
Richard Bissell – Current Guild President and chief cat herder.
Learn more about my Shaker furniture at BissellWoodworking.com.