November 14, 2017 3 min read
Santa's workshop has nothing on us. This is the time of year when our sales are quiet, but we are a team of makers and artisans. It's a little scary how much work we get done in a week, and I'm equally nervous that we can tell the stories that help people connect to our work, our town, and our family history.
Our shop is very special to me, my town is even more special to me, and of course, it's a 60+ year family tradition I am humbled to lead. Our shop was built in 1832, originally designed to be a sail patching and rigging repair space. Like most of Mystic, our trades back through time involved making stuff and fixing stuff that goes on the water. We don't have a cool river driving goods down from the north, so whatever we worked on had to float up our river with a 2.5 knot tidal current. It makes for a VERY unique culture and something the permeates the generations-old local community. It's what makes us both cool and a little weird at the same time. Only once I started to travel for this shop did I realize how unique our town is, and how our shop 'only works' because the culture that fosters a place like ours is also here. We really are blessed.
I've covered our family history, and I'm excited that our friend Colleen Franks might even research it further. I hope she digs in, there is so much I'd also like to learn, especially after being in this month's Yankee Magazine, only 55 years or so after my grandfather was featured there
I imagine the summer tourist is nesting at home by the fire, though just as likely enjoying other regional activities. Our work has shifted briefly from the hundreds of custom knot workpieces we make for visitors in our shop to a full-on workshop. The music gets turned up, the conversations get more involved, and our team of friends gets ready to make Nautical Christmas happen.
So, we are making as many little nautical ornaments, wreaths, and bowls...omg, we made bowls this week. Just introduced in our last email blast, the response online has been almost as good as they are in store. It seems like every 3rd person that stops in our shop is picking up a woven bowl... We are building our inventory of wreaths, centerpieces, and all that jazz...
If you are into nautical and celebrate any holiday up to the middle of February, we probably make something that fits. We just like tying knots and sharing our love with anyone that we meet (in a reserved New England way, of course) so, when the time is right, let us make something for your celebrations and keep us in mind when we get into that season that we all wait the rest of the year to celebrate.
I am grateful to you, mostly for reading all this, but I'm also grateful for all the support our community here in Connecticut and online that share our love for the water and environment.
Since Jill and I left the house to live on our boat, we realize the value of small pieces with special meaning. This holiday, please focus on the heart in what you give. Artisan work like ours would help our family and community of course, but consider other handmade artisan pieces or at least American Made. Let's all give things that add depth and meaning to our lives.