As furniture makers we occupy a certain niche position in our state’s forest economy. We rely on Vermont loggers and lumberyards to supply gorgeous, high quality, responsibly harvested wood. We count on the good practice of Vermont’s forest product associations, the stewardship of local land owners and managers, and advocacy of organizations like the Council on Rural Development and the Working Landscape Partnership. The efforts of all these folks are what help to sustain our craft and tradition.
The Vermont Wood Manufacturers Association represents over 100 businesses statewide; companies who employ approximately 2,500 people producing wood products which run the gamut from flooring to fine furniture. Beyond the VWMA’s everyday outreach and PR efforts, the organization hosts a Fine Furniture, Woodworking and Forest Festival each year in Woodstock—this year’s the eleventh! They take Vermont wood products on the road to the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) while they work on creative in-state marketing concepts like the Forest Heritage Trail.
Each year the VWMA hosts an annual meeting that includes speaker panels, presentations and recognition of remarkable industry contributions. True to tradition, the organization presented two awards in January – Woodworker of the Year, and Friend of the Industry. Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers‘ Member David Hurwitz of David Hurwitz Originals was honored with the first, and Vermont Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Mike Snyder, with the second. Snyder is a dedicated advocate and supporter of the Working Lands initiative.
A professional woodworker since 1988 with a distinguished list of awards and degrees, Hurwitz was recognized for his dedication, leadership and service to the industry. An adjunct professor at the Vermont Woodworking School, VWMA called his teaching style easeful and inspiring, a great motivator for his students. Congratulations, David!
And true to his fun-loving, artistic personality, Hurwitz had a little surprise up his sleeve.
For two evenings before the meeting, Dave worked in his shop to create a third award, a special one. From carved and painted Vermont basswood and cherry came the ‘Herding Cats’ trophy. And the award goes too…
Erin Lorentz is a native Vermonter who’s been putting her talents to work at the VWMA for nearly a decade. Hurwitz told us that Erin deserved recognition for how “hard she works behind scenes in the day to day running of the organization.” As one might imagine, getting woodworkers out of their shops and off to events is a challenge. And getting them to respond with collateral, information or their consensus on important issues via email is even more challenging. A bit like herding cats. So Erin is a real hero and the “One and Only Herding Cats Award” goes to her with many thanks and much appreciation.
So, have you enjoyed this little bit of news? We hope by sharing a glimpse of life in Vermont, it helps to underscore what makes our furniture so special. It’s the people, the places and the life that goes into it—and why each work is a one-of-a-kind.
Handmade Furniture…for health, happiness and local prosperity!