gold medal worthy craft

so as the Olympics wrap up I can't help but be completely overwhelmed, yet again, by the crazy talent and heart of these athletes ... I really seriously cry at almost every sport (ok, except curling, sorry)

(hellooooo fancy pants!)

But I think we all forget how easy these folks make it all look:

In a super sad turn, one of the US's top snowboarders, Kevin Pearce, was seriously hurt on New Year's day, just weeks before he was to head off to Vancouver to go head-to-head with his pal and competitor, the famous Shaun White.

Kevin Pearce just seems like the sweetest most talented wholesome Vermont boy, he lives in the next town over from my parents. I can't figure out how to embed his incredible story so

Interestingly, his father is the founder of the Simon Pearce glass and ceramics studios. If you've spent any time in New England you'll know that this is a crafting institution. It represents everything that craft is supposed to be - an old school apprenticeship style education, an incredible community presence, a dedication to teaching the world about the worth of a handcrafted item, and some serious branding.

Everything is made in house here. It can take from 3 - 8 years to become a master potter at Simon Pearce. Each piece has it's own distinct handmade character - this ain't no assembly line. they have a whole room of "seconds" that you could stare at for hours and still not find anything wrong. talk about standards!

I remember being 13 years old and watching the potters and thinking: this is it. this is what makes sense to me.

The apprentice glass blowers work 2-5 years under the guidance of a master. Glassblowers work in teams of two to create one piece at a time.

I think what makes Simon Pearce such a household name in the north country is it's dedication to educating the public. In any of their complexes you can watch the potters and glassblowers in action - it's seriously mesmerizing. It's a nice laid back kind of voyeurism though - no dumbed down lessons, you just watch these people do their work. and it's damn impressive.

And let me tell you it totally works from a business aspect. After watching the craftsmen in the studios customers have absolutely no qualms about spending $400 on a vase or pitcher ...

and lucky for us PA kids they just opened some locations in West Chester, PA and Lake Park, Maryland. At least we can peruse, right?!

But back to the Pearce family for a sec, it's always a crazy experience when a big brand becomes human. It's easy to think these super successful people have it all made, but they have huge issues to deal with just like everybody else. It's their perseverance, integrity, and plain old sweat that get them far. I have no doubt that coming from such incredible roots will aid Kevin in his recovery.

Check out his facebook page to keep updated on his status. Take care out there everybody ...

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