Round Tables, Cultivating Community

Nothing better than a chance to hear an artist articulate *why* they do what they do.

When we have an opportunity to get the *goods* first hand from one of our makers, we’re floored. Every time. There’s so much integrity and purpose in the fabric of Vermont furniture making! The following short essay from Brattleboro craftsman Jason Breen is one of those opportunities so we thought it worth re-posting for all to enjoy…

Jan 22. 2015 ~ Jason E. Breen

“I have long wondered what I could do to make this world a better place. I have always felt that my creations enrich the lives of those who come into contact with them, through beauty of design and materials. Only recently, though, did I realize that my furniture can bring people together – which encourages a healthy community.

In my life, I’ve been a part of many vibrant communities. In all of them, food brought us together. Even in college, we worked independently on our theses, but when we sat down to eat, we talked together about what we were learning. Farmers, of course, grow food, but weary farmers sit around a table and eat and talk and create friendships and beyond, bonds that are hard to explain with mere words.

I have started building round tables with chairs as a way to encourage this kind of community.  The photo above was taken at a Brattleboro-West Arts holiday gathering.  (Thank you, Marta.)  After dinner, folks sat around talking. Even at this small cherry table there were two different conversations happening. Too bad I only brought two of my chairs. Those plastic folding ones are horrible for one’s posture… 

This gathering was hosted by one of Brattleboro’s newest galleries, Mitchell Giddings Fine Arts.  Paintings in the background are by Steve Lloyd, sitting second from left.”

Brattleboro West Arts Organization

About Jason. The Breens have built a small homestead on a hillside in rural Vermont. Together, Jason and his wife Erica run the family custom furniture business, a small horse-powered maple sugaring operation, tend extensive gardens, raise chickens and milk goats, and homeschool their two children.

“Working together with our family and our animals brings us into harmony with the Earth and the seasons.” This harmony is implicitly echoed in the furniture designs and the sense of balance and integrity in the finished pieces. They offer accountable craftsmanship that is rooted in the land where the trees grow.

Honestly, it doesn’t get much better than this. On a snowy Sunday in southern Vermont, thank you Jason — for the beautiful perspective, for the candor and the fine, fine work. We are the better for it.

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