David

David Brooks

dbrooks@appalachianspring.com

Job: My job at Appalachian Spring is to oversee the overall operations of our company, to look for new ways to be more helpful to our customers, constantly networking to find more craftspeople with wonderful products to fill our shelves, trying to make this the best possible workplace for our amazing staff, and looking for innovative ways to manage our cost structure. Since founding our small company with Polly in 1968, I have worked to make this the best showplace in the country for the work of America’s craftspeople.

Spends his work days: I spend my workday in a variety of interesting and fun endeavors. As every head of a small business knows, each day is a little different from the last. I’m on the phone with craftspeople discussing their latest designs or the increasing costs of their raw materials, in the receiving room helping with an incoming shipment of pottery, in one of our stores discussing a display or greeting a new customer, in front of my computer planning the next season’s budget. Every day is a new adventure.

Guilty pleasure: a big bowl of raspberry chocolate gelato.

Takes his coffee: in a stoneware mug that i choose specially each morning. my newest mug is Nichibei, but i am also regularly choosing Royce Yoder and Frank Massarella

I never leave home without: my brand new iPhone6

Favorite place to be: of all, is walking under the cherry blossoms downtown by the Tidal basin when they are in full bloom...on the way to the FDR Memorial.

My best surprise: is my two grandchildren showing up at my door to spend the afternoon.

My favorite TV show: Is the PBS Newshour...recorded for viewing late at night because I never get home in time to see the first run.

One of my favorite Appalachian Spring items: (I have many) is my set of murrini glasses, hand-blown by Clancy Studio. they make a glass of good wine even more special.



Posts by David:

Introducing Springscene

 

Springscene is a celebration of creativity at Appalachian Spring, from the people who make it work: our buyers, craftspeople, store staff and office. The creative lifestyles of our cherished customers and the dedicated people who work here go beyond using and appreciating the unique creations of our artists.  Our “scene” is about celebrating all of this–the pottery used to serve a special meal, the scarves or jewelry that you reach for when going out on the town or dressing for a day in the office, the wine glass in which you enjoy your favorite Cabernet and the vase that makes the perfect accent to your décor. Join us as we explore how these objects come alive, the people behind the craft and the special events and activities that enchant us in the neighborhoods surrounding our stores and the city that first inspired a young couple in the mid 60’s to take a chance.

Polly and David moved to the DC area from West Virginia and North Carolina respectively, both regions rich in American handcraft.  Getting to know their new home town, they found no venue in or around the Nation’s Capital offering the American craft that they had taken for granted in their youth. While walking around Georgetown one day, Polly noticed an empty storefront and decided to solve that problem.  In 1968, she and David opened the first Appalachian Spring store in that very storefront.

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Their plan to bring high quality American handcrafted items to the Nation’s Capital became a reality.  Knowing that people from around the globe travel to Washington, DC, they wanted to showcase the work of talented craftspeople living and working in this country. When the store first opened it offered handmade objects from the Appalachian states, hence the name Appalachian Spring.

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Over time, and working as a team, Polly and David found beautiful handmade objects in other parts of our country, and added them to their merchandise mix.  Today Appalachian Spring features work from American craftspeople from all over the country as well as a few select artists from other parts of the world.  The collection is as unique and as diverse as the people of America.

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Every artist represented in Appalachian Spring has a distinctive perspective. We work with wood turners who source their wood from local landfills and turn it into breathtakingly beautiful turned wood serving bowls for your dinner table, a community recycling used glass into a symphony of colorful place settings and serving pieces, an artist who draws on her years of studying textile techniques to produce extraordinary contemporary fashion scarves , potters interning at the EnergyXchange in North Carolina who use green energy to fire their kilns, an amazing array of handmade kaleidoscope artists continuing a history of creating a whimsical and sophisticated art form that showcases the marriage of refracted light and color and artists who pass down their craft from generation to generation. Today we are proud to carry work from several second-generation artists.

Things have changed a lot since 1968.  We are in the age of technology and we recognize that our customers are not just walking into our stores; folks from all over the world visit our website. In the tradition of our stores we offer our hospitality, stories, insight and additional information on the world of Appalachian Spring via our blog. You will hear a number of different voices on Springscene, as we have an assortment of friends and colleagues writing on a variety of topics.  Each person brings their own idiosyncratic perspective and writing style. We hope you will delight in learning more about our artists, our lovely wares and our stores.  Enjoy our celebration of creativity and join us in crafting our blog by emailing your comments, compliments and queries to the authors.

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Pens for Spring

When I think of spring, I inevitably think of Merrie Bachman. In addition to being an outstanding polymer clay artist, she is totally immersed in the beauty of spring flowers. Around her home in Connecticut she maintains a bountiful garden filled with an amazing array of flowers that are the inspiration for her Spring Collection of pens.

 

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She collects the flowers and twigs from her garden, carefully dries them, and then combines them with a transparent polymer resin. The resin is rolled into thin sheets and made, one at a time, into pens. The flowers are so real that you can feel the crushed petals in the barrel of the pen.

The first flowers of spring are the daffodils, which grow in abundance in her garden. That’s where her collection begins. The flowers are gathered and dried, then the petals are ground and combined with the polymer to preserve their beauty long after their brief blooming season has ended.

 

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Hydrangeas bloom later in the season and Merrie gathers both flowers and stems for her hydrangea pen. She dries and grinds both, but the distinctive color and texture of the pen comes directly from the blossoms.

 

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As a delicious addition to the floral collection, Merrie makes a pen from watermelons. For this she uses a dehydrator to dry the beautiful red fruit. Once dried it is mashed and mixed with the polymer. The finished pen not only shows the color and texture of the watermelon, but sometimes there is evidence of a watermelon seed as well. The finished pen is decidedly evocative of the fruit from which it is made.

 

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Merrie’s pens are a delightful way to capture some of the fleeting beauty of spring and carry it in our pocket even after the season itself has passed.

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