One of my favorite things about living part-time in Litchfield County is the huge number of artists and artisans who thrive in the area. In the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and getting acquainted with the work of so many incredible talents in New England!
Peter Busby‘s larger-than-life sculptures are absolutely breathtaking. There is nothing quite like driving past a farm field and seeing one of his iconic whale tails flipping out of the “water.” The way he captures the musculature on these oversize welded animals is hard to believe. One day I would love to see a piece by Peter in our side yard.
Back in December, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the studio belonging toÂ Peter Fasano. To see his wallpapers and block print fabrics in production was such a magical treat! The work is all done by hand. It’s labor intensive and the final product is without a doubt a work of art. Besides the wonderful inspirations (the day I was there he was inspired by a pattern he saw on a vintage tooled leather chair), I love that all aspects of production take place under one roof in an ecologically and environmentally friendly studio.
Peter’s partner,Â Elizabeth Hamilton, has a new collection which I can’t wait to use in the next cozy country farm house I decorate. Each colorway has several different large-, medium- and small-scale patterns that are perfect for mixing, matching and coordinating within the design scheme of a room. They’re printed in the same handmade fashion as Peter’s line and are just incredibly beautiful.
Greg Randall not only sells antiques at his handsome home furnishings store calledÂ R.T. Facts, but he also repurposes vintage finds and makes them into new treasures for the home. Greg is able to conceive and construct all sorts of home furnishings from salvaged architectural elements. Late last spring he refurbished some rusty old shop drawers and made us a set of incredible industrial side tables for our master bedroom.
Robin Crofut Brittingham is a master at capturing the human face. Her black-and-white watercolor work caught our eye in a Great Barrington coffee shop last summer. Collecting artwork and home furnishings by local creatives is very important to me. I want our home to reflect the spirit of our area. I finally had the chance to meet Robin last fall, and at Christmastime we brought home two of her watercolors for our foyer.
Susan fromÂ Shandell’s is a true artisan. Her speciality is pairs of lamps that she refurbishes, and objects that she converts into lamps. Susan finishes each one off with a handmade lampshade. In the two years that I have known her I have managed to redo every lampshade in our house! I love showing up at her studio with a project in mind. I purchased a pair of 1960s ceramic lamps and designed lampshades with Susan to coordinate with ourÂ master bedroom color scheme.
This lampshade is in ourÂ pantry-laundry room area. I’ve had the lamp since I was a teenager, and I don’t think it has ever looked better. The shade makes it so special!
This is a pair of vintage bottle cappers that have been converted into lamps for ourÂ fireplace room. I had Susan make handsome wood-veneer shades for them.
We sort through her endless selection of papers, then select grosgrain accent ribbon and a finial to give an old lamp a new life. Below you see our most recent project in progress. This lamp was in my childhood home. I brought the lamp to Susan, and we picked out the proper shape shade and all the fixings to make it a real show-stopper. I cannot wait to see the final product!
Susan also makes the most fantastic artfullyÂ decorated kitchen matchboxes. Last fall I commissioned a special set of custom matchboxes using my own letterpress design. I brought them along as a hostess gift this winter as we visited friends throughout the holiday season. Susan has over 10,000 images in her catalog–you needn’t look far to find matchbox that is perfectly suited for you.
–Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo
Amy Beth Cupp Dragoo is an artist, designer and stylist who splits her time between New York City and the hills of Litchfield County. TheÂ ABCD Design Sketchbook is her blog, where she offers inspiration for celebrating a life well lived. Amy (who often refers to herself as ABCD) has a simple motto: Life is short; eat off the good china.