DANDELIONS is a handmade and artisan gallery shop based in Barre, Massachusetts featuring the work of local and global artisans. Open since August 2015, we offer handmade and artisan jewelry, pottery and ceramics, home décor items, all natural skincare and home care products, teas and spices, books, calendars, greeting and note cards and many other items of special interest. We also feature a few small furniture and vintage pieces in our petite space. We are proud to offer fresh pies, crisps and cobblers in the seasonal months from Fox Hollow Pie Company and handmade chocolates from Carlsen's Candies.
I am grateful to have met, and continue to meet, some truly gifted artisans who share their work with Dandelions. Some of them are old friends and some are new, some are family and others are like family. They are truly the heart and soul of the shop. Browse our stories to learn a little more about each of them and thank you for supporting artisan and handmade!
Our goal at BRIMFIELD BOTANICALS is to make the world a better place - one body at a time. We use only the finest all natural ingredients our earth has to offer, using vendors who are Fair Trade Compliant. Each product is hand crafted, adding essential oils drop by drop until the perfect blend is achieved. Our products are parabens, formaldehyde and phthalate free. You won't find these ingredients in our products. What you'll find is quality, natural ingredients that are luxurious and nourishing to your skin. -Colleen Croteau
I met Colleen at the annual Asparagus and Flower Heritage Festival in West Brookfield, Massachusetts. Like other vendors she had set up a booth to display her products. I stopped to have a look and she asked if I wanted to try one of her sugar scrubs. I rubbed some of the goat milk and honey sugar scrub into my skin and once it had exfoliated, she gave me a baby wipe to clean my hands. I continued browsing into some of the other booths aimlessly still using the wipe to clear my hands. After some five or six minutes I suddenly noticed my hands were softer than butter. I immediately turned around to go back and find the woman who made this amazing product that could make your skin so soft. I bought a set of sugar scrub and body butter and became an instant Brimfield Botanicals groupie. We carry Colleen's soaps, lotions and scrubs in the shop and once you try them you'll be a groupie too! All natural, silky and beautifully scented.
Cindy Bushey creates stunning woven glass bead bracelets, necklaces and earrings in deep, rich tones and hues. Cindy's wide bracelets feature rows of multicolored glass beads in woven patterns and her strands bracelets are crafted of a single strand of hand woven beads that are wrapped into two equal strands finished with decorative clasps. Her beaded earrings that I call "basket weave" are actually tiny seed beads woven in checkerboard rows that delicately dangle with color. Browse Cindy's Collection to see these pretty pieces.
Steve engraves each item using only hand engraving tools rendering each piece unique and one of a kind. Steve is an artist on several levels. He started engraving mother of pearl and metal parts on vintage banjos in the 1970's and continues that work today on banjo restorations. He is a Banjo Hall of Fame inductee who teaches and performs regularly on 4-string banjo with several groups. His first foray into jewelry was by making hand engraved earrings for his wife and daughter. He loves working with this medium and looks forward to creating new designs. Custom pieces are always welcome. -Steve Caddick
Steve is an old friend and I am so happy to feature his lovely earrings and pendants in the shop. Intricate and flawless the detail in each piece is reflective of the level of patience and perfection that characterizes his work. Steve's earrings and pendants are engraved using only hand engraving tools, rendering each piece a true original. Browse his collection to view these beautiful pieces that catch light with a reflective shimmer.
Oh my, these delicious candies are truly addictive and I speak from experience. I first came across Allison's chocolate covered mint Oreos at a local vintage shop, Yup, one cookie is all it took and I was hooked. Allison doesn't stock her candies in stores in the summer months as the ambient air can be too warm for the chocolate. To preserve quality, they disappear for a few months and folks eagerly await their return. Now Allison's delicious candies are available at Dandelions and feature caramel turtles, chocolate covered oreos in mint and dark chocolate, Geneva's, sea salt and caramel, chocolate covered cherries and more. We also feature Carlsen's Candies beautiful velvet boxed candies during Valentine's Day season!
DEER RUN STUDIOS - BONNIE WATERHOUSE
I live in a pretty woodland setting in Central Massachusetts surrounded by gardens, streams, deer and other wildlife. When I’m not making jewelry in my home studio, I love to take walks with my dog Keisha and my husband Matt. I also love yoga!
I started my shop in the summer of 2014 after my first successful craft fair experience. So exciting! I have studied metal crafting at the Worcester Center for Crafts and at Snow Farm in Williamsburg MA. In making jewelry, I start with raw materials including sterling silver, brass, copper, aluminum and glass. I use as much recycled metal as possible, sourced from the U.S. From these, I cut or saw out shapes. Many pieces incorporate hammering for texture. I love how light dances on polished, hammered metal.
Semi-precious stones and Swarovski crystals are incorporated in many of my pieces via wire wrapping or bezel set and soldered. My “Secret Message Bracelets” are stamped with symbols and words such as “kindness” or “courage”. Phrases such as “you are stronger than you think – braver than you know” are featured on others. They are “secret” because they are stamped into the inside of the bracelet. I feel very lucky to be able to make jewelry that empowers and supports comfort, kindness and bravery. It gives me the greatest feeling of pleasure to see people wearing and enjoying my jewelry. Custom orders are always welcome. -Bonnie Waterhouse
I first saw Bonnie's pretty handcrafted pieces on the Back Roads Studio Artisan tour. I was so taken with these beautiful pieces. Bonnie's secret message bracelets are among our best sellers. Phrases like "courage" "kindness" or "you're braver than you think, stronger than you know" are stamped on the inside of a custom cuff bracelet acting as a source of inspiration and encouragement to the wearer. Her pieces radiate gentleness, beauty and kindness and you'll be proud to wear them. View the Deer Run Collection to browse her stunning hand crafted jewelry.
On our mini farm we only have 5 milk goats, but we wanted to use the extra milk for some benefit for others. My sister-in-law used to make goat milk soap, and we loved the concept, and since we had the fresh milk, we decided to carry on a "family tradition". From the first bar of soap we've made, people have loved our product and rave how it has helped their skin conditions. We believe it is simply because of the natural and mostly organic ingredients that our soap is made from. We make our soap with our goat's milk not water, and natural and organic oils, butters, and herbs. We scent with essential oils, use local honey and also Manuka honey and hand render fat back from a local farm for lard. We use only food grade lye. We have stayed away from using synthetic fragrance and colorants as well as palm oil and soy. We make our soap the "old fashioned way", and it is very rustic looking. Thank you for reading and we know you will love our soap! - Terri and Chad Steiner
When they first walk into Dandelions one of the things folks always say is “oh my gosh it smells wonderful in here!”. Elzire’s Acre soaps are one of the many reasons why. These are some serious soaps. I came across them at a local Farmers' Coop and couldn't believe how fragrant and silky they were. And lets' face it the names of the soaps are pretty awesome too!
BEVERLY FOSS - GLASS ART
I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't have an interest in art. As a child I watched my mother sketch portraits of movie stars or animals or various still lifes and landscapes. As an adult I became familiar with several mediums, oils, acrylics and pencils to name a few. I found in my later years that I had a pretty good eye for doing pencil portraits and enjoyed doing them for my family and friends and others. One year my grandson gave me some hand painted wine glasses for my birthday and hence a new passion was born. I love this new medium and never let a day go by without painting. - Beverly Foss
I didn't get the artist gene but it runs strong in my mother's creative hands. Her sketches and paintings have long been loved but her latest foray into glass art is truly beautiful. Each piece is an original and although she takes the time to make sure every piece is fully safe for dishwasher use, we recommend hand washing to preserve the colors. Some pieces are reverse painted - that's right painted from the back to be viewed from the front. This allows for use on the front face of the serving platter or plate. Visit our store to view Beverly's Glass Art collection. We feature a fine selection of plates, glasses, candle holders and bud vases in vibrant colors and hues.
FOX HOLLOW PIE COMPANY
Lucy Parker wouldn’t rest until she succeeded in making tender, flaky pie crust. Some bakers are born with the “pie gene” inherited from mothers or grandmothers, the rest of us practice until we get it right. If she inherited the pie gene it was from her grandmother Lucille, but really she just read everything she could find about making tender, flaky crusts. She learned the chemistry of pie crust, she practiced and made so many pies, and most importantly she paid attention to what was happening to the ingredients at every step of the process. She just wasn’t satisfied until it was consistently perfect. All this practicing resulted in a new confidence. She became the boss of the dough, and won the blue ribbon for the Apple Pie Contest at the Sterling, Massachusetts Fair, 2012. She decided to start a pie baking business based on making a great product with quality ingredients. Once you try one you’ll see, it’s truly the best pie you’ll ever taste! -Lucy Parker
I met Lucy at the Barre Farmer's Market one summer and the whole family fell in love with her pies. In fact, my father loved her mini blueberry pies so much he actually hid them so he wouldn't have to share! Yup, they're that good! I was so excited to offer her delicious creations in Dandelions. We feature Lucy’s pies most weekends when fresh ingredients are in season. She also makes simply delicious cookies, crisps and decidedly the best cobblers north or south of the Mason Dixon. Call us at 978-257-8064 to see what we are featuring for baked goods or to place a special order.
I live on a southerly sloping hillside in Jefferson, a small town bordering Holden in Central Massachusetts. I have fallen in love with the possibilities for local, organic, and medicinal sustainability through the growing, wild-crafting and providing of herbs and plants for our community. For me, the journey toward crafting and formulating came from my long standing love and interest in Botany, coupled with my interests in women's health, family well-being and birth. I took conventional routes of education earning my Masters in Botany and Masters in Nursing with a specialty in Nurse-Midwifery to come full circle by incorporating these loves into a Clinical Herbalist's service of education, herbs, and herbal formulations. I became convinced that true healing and health, that we all seem to need some aspect of, comes from the healing plants that are already here for all aspects of our lives. It doesn't matter if you are a mature adult, a birthing mom, budding teenager, or a young child, we need to enter into the realm of our plant world--the one in which we live, here and now, in order to find balance, health and healing. -Rachel Ross
Rachel's organic and flavorful teas are one of a kind. Available in sample sizes and full packets, there are dozens of flavors to sample. In addition to sipping teas, Rachel also features teas with intent, spices and ready made mixes for mulling cider or wine, dips for vegetables or snacks or Italian bread dipping oils. And the best part is it's 100% organic!
Kara's inspiration for art making is largely gathered from a childhood spent with animals and in the garden. Natural color harmonies, texture, as well as giving the art material freedom to flow and define itself all find an important role in each piece. Kara received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and her MA in Visual Art from Anna Maria College, and currently teaches Art at the high school level. -Kara Kowalczyk.
Kara's designs are simply beautiful. Her bowls and ornaments often find their texture in leaf or lace imprint rendering one of a kind pieces that reflect the beauty of the natural world around us. Her ceramic gift tags may be hand written on the reverse side and used to accompany a gift then retained as a keepsake. View Kara's Collection to browse her beautiful pieces.
PAM PIEROPAN ADORNO
As a production potter, I'm absorbed in a repetition of gesture and activity, the rhythms of the process. The pottery that emerges is certainly an expression of my creative effort, style and intention, but it is also a reflection of the process. I feel what I do is a part of a stream which brings together natural materials, technology, most ancient and modern, and the warmth of human touch in each piece. I apply my accumulated skills, influences and vision, then consign the work to the fire. I love the thrill of opening the kiln to find how the pots have "come out"! I have been living in Deerfield, MA, creating functional and decorative stoneware pottery, and the occasional sculptural piece since 1979. -Pam Pieropan Adorno
The Limited Edition versatile butter colored glaze in Pam's Collection is absolutely beautiful. It boasts a soft yellow color with light gray interior glaze. It would look equally at home on a summer, spring or fall table coordinating well with existing pieces you may have. At Dandelions, you will find several pieces from this collection including vases, bowls, mugs, teapots and casseroles.
JAYE POPE - GOOD DIRT POTTERY
I have been creating handmade stoneware and porcelain utilitarian ware and sculpture in my Montague studio since 2001. Located in the beautiful Pioneer Valley, surrounded by the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers, the rolling hills of Western Massachusetts is a wonderful place, rich in heritage and tradition to find inspiration for my work. The clay I work from is individually crafted on the potter’s wheel, hand built, or cast in molds of my own design, bringing out the unique personality of each mug, plate, bowl or jar. From my hands to your home, the creative journey will continue with you. -Jaye Pope
Jaye's beautiful work carries its own presence in our store. Folks come in and are immediately drawn to the vibrant cobalt blue hues of the Dragonfly series or the unique etchings and scalloped edges found in the Bicycle series or the rich navy of Deco Moon. Always popular, Jaye's pieces are functional art that speaks to the heart!
DEBORAH REICKER - Original Artwork and Greeting Cards
When I was a senior in High School, my art teacher asked me why I wasn't going to art school and my response was "I need to make a living." Navigating through a BS in Food and Science and an MS in Education and 17 years as a corporate meeting planner wasn't in any original plan, but I made a living. I always had an eye for art, thinking "I could do this" as I purchased art and looked at art wherever I went. Then, having my only child at age 42 allowed me the luxury of staying home with him and by 45 I met Frank Bly. We met by accident doing a favor for the Petersham Montessori School. I showed up at his art class and from that day on I knew I could paint. Today, I paint whenever I can while keeping our home and family's needs in the forefront. Perhaps my High School art teacher saw something about me that I did not know.
The process of learning how to paint and all the aspects involved in producing a piece of art is tedious, but fun and ongoing. The first lesson Frank taught was to learn how to use an oil palette which included only seven colors. To this day, I do not deviate from this palette and by learning how to mix colors, I am able to achieve all desired color values.
In terms of subject matter, I take photos of places familiar to me and my family and use the photo to help create the painting. Our family's Canadian connection provides a great source of enjoyment every summer as well as an irresistible array of countryside to capture and paint. The Belleisle Bay in New Brunswick, Canada is picturesque rural farmland with extensive water systems traveled by every imaginable water vehicle. I enjoy turning out a painting during our time on the Belleisle each summer while my husband and son enjoy sailing and golf.
My original paintings have been on exhibit at the Woods Memorial Library, the Senior Center in Barre and the Hardwick Country Fair.
I have been designing and crafting as far back as I can remember. That love of art led me to get a bachelor's degree in design from the University of California at Davis. Since then, I’ve been painting and making handmade items as much as time allows. The necklaces in my collection are a bit of whimsy hand crocheted from ladder ribbon. Hope you enjoy them! - Lesley Stephenson
Lesley’s lightweight pieces are not only pretty but perfect for someone who is allergic to metals or may have arthritis and experience difficulty with clasps. They feature vibrant beautiful colors and shades. Check out her collection to view these lovely necklaces.
At the core of Susa Talan's work is a deep interest in the exploration of mind and heart. With her hand-drawn images and words, she brings together elements of inquiry, timeless wisdom and appreciation for the natural world. In 2012, a year from turning forty, Susa embarked on a daily drawing project called 365 Days of Gratitude. Her purpose was celebration. Throughout that year, she posted art + words illustrating what she was thankful for, engaging her fans in a conversation about how to slow down and enjoy life more. Out of this project, Susa developed a wholesale line of greeting cards and prints that are now sold in shops and bookstores around the US. Susa studied drawing and painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and has taught poetry and art to children of all ages. You can find Susa teaching at Squam Art Workshops and on her blog at www.susatalan.com. When not working in her tiny home studio in western Massachusetts, she heads outdoors toward open sky. - Susa Talan
SWEET WILLIAM DESIGNS
One afternoon on a trip to Maine I got the idea I wanted to make a bracelet. So, I walked up town to the shops and bought a bag of beads, crystals and jewelry parts, went back to my room and after sometime made a very homely bracelet. Undaunted, I made another one. In the morning, noting it really looked no better, I tumbled the beads and crystals and jewelry parts back into the bag and decided I’d try it again later.
Three years past and again the idea caught my eye so I thought I’d try again. The next morning, I drove to a local bead store where I met Leslie, who very patiently taught me how to wire wrap beads to make earrings. That winter we received nine feet of unwanted snow in just four weeks so there was plenty of time to sit by a fire and practice wire wrapping. Besides, there were so many possibilities, natural stone, pewter, silver. By spring, I had nearly 100 pairs! I was hooked.
I love the feel of natural stone beads (amethyst, garnet, lapis) and the earthy tones of stones like picture jasper that almost resemble wood. There are so many varieties and design possibilities truly are endless. Several bracelets and necklaces were born that winter and since then I don’t think a day has gone by without waking and immediately thinking about something new to make. It’s a passion and I’m grateful to make something special I hope someone will truly love.
Many of our home décor items are handmade. Several are crafted from locally harvested barn wood from a barn in Western Massachusetts, circa 1850. It features a beautiful aged patina with grooves and marks embedded from the original hardware. Much of this is used in wall hangings and other pieces featured at Dandelions.
Sweet William Designs is our Dandelions signature collection and is named after a truly sweet William.
VALLEY VOGUE COLLECTIONS
Susan and I met over seventeen years ago when we were hired by Palmer's Converse Middle School to design and implement an educational alternative for students experiencing difficulties in mainstream classrooms. Throughout the years, we have shared our love for art, learning and teaching. Our secret passion was to combine all three in a new endeavor that would tap our creative energies. Valley Vogue Collections was born.
Susan Cagan came from a family rich in fiber arts. Her grandmother dyed wool and braided rugs. She even knit and sewed wardrobes for Susan's Barbie and baby dolls. Susan has been weaving for over twenty years. She has been interested in fiber arts since childhood. She received her first set of knitting needles at the age of seven and her first sewing machine at the age of nine. Weaving came later in life. She studied at the Hill Institute in Florence, Massachusetts with Jeanetta Jones. For a short time in the 80's, she sold at local fairs and designed and wove on commission. Parenthood left little time to continue both weaving and part time employment. Her loom was retired. With the advent of her new business with Fran Nowak, Valley Vogue Collections, the loom came out of retirement and she is now weaving with new fibers, colors and styles. Designing product lines in hand wovens, hand dyed yarns and fabric has been exciting.
Fran Nowak has been interested in creating things with her hands all her life. From her first cardboard car to painting on bottles, weaving potholders, embroidering pillowcases and numerous paint-by-number kits. She was hooked on colors, textures, shapes and form. She learned to sew when she was in the seventh grade and has been sewing ever since. A few years ago, she took her first formal courses in art. Encouraged by family and friends, she has since been exploring as many areas of art as she can manage learning from each teacher and student she encounters. It seemed natural to join up with a friend to begin an adventure where they could rekindle all the creativity that was set aside for family and work. Together she and Susan create an environment for just this venture learning new skills, laughing at their mistakes and sharing their work with old friends and new. -Susan Cagan and Fran Nowak
I met Fran and Susan just after Dandelions opened at an artists' open house in Indian Orchard, a section of Springfield, Massachusetts. They occupy a beautiful open space with huge windows and plenty of sunlight in a revived historical mill along with many other artists and artisans. This space also houses their incredible loom from which lovely, one of a kind pieces are made with love. They also make pretty and fun jewelry that reflect their deep creative talent. Check out the Valley Vogue Collection to see their hand loomed scarves and handbags. Beautiful and functional these pieces are truly wearable art.
Since I was a little girl I have always done some sort of craftwork. Along the way I fell in love with jewelry making. I started out beading and did that for many years. Then in 2011, I won a small scholarship to take a six week class in metalsmithing. I finally found what I was looking for! All my jewelry is hand fabricated using a variety of metalsmithing processes. Metals such as copper, brass, silver and gold are frequently used and may even be found in the same piece. Whether walking on the beach and finding a stone that would be perfect for a pendant or pair of earrings, or looking for slabs of stone that can be cut into a beautiful cabochon, I always keep an eye out for the unusual to create a one of a kind piece. Sometimes it may take time to create a piece of jewelry as I often let the stone guide me on how I will use it. I may hold onto a stone for a long time and then find it eventually inspires me telling me how it wants to be created. My goal is to design beautiful, interesting and one of a kind jewelry that you will love. In addition to my created work custom work is always welcome! Check out my collection and I hope you find something that speaks to your heart.
As a Bee Keeper, I have come to really appreciate getting back to natural things. Adding the wonderful health benefits of the honey and bees wax, to all of my goods, I feel I have created an effective and pleasing line of handicrafts. Using only the finest natural ingredients, I make healthy products that will wake up your senses and soothe your skin. - Martha Williams
We carry a wide variety of Martha's amazing products including molded soaps in original and beautiful shapes (lighthouses, hearts, flowers, even cows!), soothing lotions and hand creams, bath salts and lip balm and best of all HONEY! As a bee keeper, Martha's key ingredient is bees wax which gives her products a rich and lustrous base that is also healthy and pleasing to the skin.
Much Love and thank you for supporting the artisan and handmade community!