Innovation That Matters

At Vermont workshop, make your own hyperlocal dinner table

Fashion & Beauty

If consumers like to make their own pancakes, bicycles and wedding rings, it stands to reason that they might enjoy crafting their own dinner tables, too. The appeal gets even stronger, however, when those tables are sourced entirely from the local environment, with an opportunity to meet everyone involved. Such, in fact, is exactly what’s delivered at a new series of workshops by Vermont furniture purveyor ShackletonThomas. Six months prior to each Naked Table event, 100-year-old Sugar Maple trees are locally harvested from a sustainably managed forest in Vermont. They are logged, sawn, dried and machined by various local artisans until they’re ready to be made into tables. Then, on the designated weekend, 15 guests arrive for an experience focused on “connecting people to each other and the environment, making things by hand,” as the company puts it. Assisted by several ShackletonThomas furniture makers and finishers from Vermont Natural Coatings, participants spend the first day assembling, smoothing and finishing their tables. The weekend culminates the following day when people gather around the completed tables (joined to make one 75-foot-long table) for a celebratory, locally grown feast. Participants also get to visit the woods with a professional forester to see the source of their lumber and identify a replacement seedling tree. The GPS coordinates of that tree are then recorded and attached to the base of the signed, numbered and finished Naked Table. Each table also comes with a certificate stating the origins of the wood and a list of the people who helped create the table — from the logger who cut the tree to the furniture maker who applied the final finish. Following a Woodstock community weekend event in late August, there is a one-day workshop coming up on Sept. 25; pricing starts at USD 1,600 per couple, including lunch and a t-shirt. Another weekend workshop is planned for October, with pricing starting at USD 3,200 per couple including also a two-night inn stay, meals, demonstrations and delivery of the resulting table within 300 miles. It’s hard to imagine any better embodiment of (still) made here appeal than a table one makes oneself in this way, and the status stories participants gain along the way are surely valued just as highly. Experience economy, meet the hyperlocal trend — go forth and multiply! 😉 Spotted by: Mark Hexamer



Download PDF