Shop the Best in Handmade StyleJul 30, 2013
It’s safe to say that Hudson Valley makers are experts in their fields of craft. From Alicia Adams Alpaca’s hand-shorn, hand-woven, hand-dyed alpaca throws and ties, to Tom Stoenner’s hand-blown glassware, to Wishbone Letterpress’ hand-letterpressed coasters and party hats, these regional makers are expanding our definition of what it means, exactly, to be “homemade.” Bring these products into your home just in time to enjoy a cozy late-summer, early-autumn evening: your favorite drink in one of Stoenner’s glasses (with the reassurance of a Wishbone coaster), sipped slowly while wrapped up in an Alicia Adams throw—what better way to spend a chilly evening? Read on for more on these products and their oh so talented makers. each product is made from only the softest hair and natural dyes. Once sheared, the fiber from her New York-based alpacas--whose names range from Maria Callas to Captain America--is sent to Peru. Alicia, who was raised in Mexico, communicates in her native Spanish to a loyal community of weavers. After all, alpaca are indigenous to Peru and, as Alicia notes, alpaca fiber weaving "is their [the Peruvians'] heritage." How lucky we are that she has brought this South American tradition to New York and given it her own sophisticated flair. Tom Stoenner continues the art of an ancient craft, and creates functional art: glassware pieces that are viable in the context of our modern lifestyles. In fact, despite their delicate nature, many of his pieces are dishwasher-safe. Born on Long Island, Tom moved to Central New York to attend Hamilton College, where he majored in History. Supplementing his core curriculum with studio art courses, Tom studied ceramics with a professor who felt that Tom's special talents would lend themselves well to glass-working. After the professor introduced Tom to glass-blowers in the Hudson Valley, Tom relocated once again, and embarked on a now over three-decade-long study and practice of glass-blowing. The Tom Stoenner Glass line epitomizes his goal of designing and creating functional hand-blown glassware, and bringing beauty into the quotidien experience. The beauty of his pieces leads to a double-sensory experience: pouring champagne into one of his flutes delights both the tastebuds and the eyes. The five designs carried on the NYSOM Marketplace are perfect for every possible occasion and celebration, and make a gorgeous addition to a personal dining collection, whether for yourself or as a wedding gift. Tom says, "I have always believed that things made by hand offer a shared experience between the maker and the user. A simple object can forge connections." We'll drink to that. Wishbone Letterpress. Smock, one of the first brands we ever carried on our Marketplace, is one-third of the Boxcar Press/Bella Figura/Smock trifecta. It just so happens that Boxcar Press (located in the Central New York) makes the printing plates used by Wishbone Letterpress (located in the Catskills/Hudson Valley); birds of a feather really do flock together. Danielle and Joe were born and raised in the Catskills and have set up shop in Ulster County, where they both attended the Community College. They believe in investing in their community and in supporting other small New York businesses. In addition to their work with Boxcar Press, they also source some of their paper supplies from Mohawk Paper, located in the Capital-Saratoga region. Their process is very intimate. Using presses made between 1912-1960, Danielle (implementing additional skills learned at the School of Visual Art in NYC) and Joe design each of the products they manufacture, and feed every single piece of paper through the letterpress with their own hands. They have distinguished themselves from the competition by offering high-quality, beautifully-decorated products of whimsy--and every occasion in which Wishbone Letterpress pieces are used is all the more memorable for it, especially if celebrated with those various and dear friends.