Our Artisans

Caperton Tissot, author

Caperton Tissot has, perhaps, enjoyed more careers than many: She ran her own pottery business, served as a fundraiser for environmental preservation, and worked in nursing, to name a few. After retiring in 2005, Caperton, who now lives in the Adirondacks, turned to writing and volunteering; her work is infused by an interest in cultural and natural history.

Laurie Berube, soaps and herbal goods

Laurie Berube, an artist from the North Country hamlet of Vermontville, started making all-natural health and beauty products from necessity: Sensitive to chemical scents and artificial ingredients, she decided to make her own. She shared them with friends and family, who encouraged her to make more. “I began Berube Botanicals when I decided to simplify my life,” she writes. “I made a conscious decision to focus all of my energy on pursuing what matters to me the most—living a life connected to nature, taking care of my health, growing organic food, and making time daily to create art.”

Rachel King, jewelry

Tupper Lake native Rachel King earned degrees in psychology and art education in college, but making art—especially art inspired by the Adirondacks—is what she wanted to do most. That’s how she founded Earth Girl Designs, where she says her designs “combine the spirit and flow of Mother Nature.”

Mountain Meadows Farm, woolmakers

The owners of this small, sustainably raised herd take pride in knowing each of their animals individually, and producing warm, natural yarn. The deep snow and frequent below-zero stretches in Ray Brook make for especially dense and warm coats.

Peter Katz, lampmaker

Vermonter Peter Katz, who says that he has been creating as long as he can walk, builds ingenious tower lamps that transfer his hand-drawn designs onto thin birch ply—a combination of the traditional and high-tech. When assembled, the lamps need neither glue nor fasteners.

Ezra Schwartzberg, mapmaker

Ezra Schwartzberg moved back to Saranac Lake in 2012 to launch an environmental research firm specializing in invasive species and climate change issues. Along the way, he discovered how much people appreciated the easy-to-read, well-designed maps he created as part of his projects—so he launched Green Goat Maps, in order to give the region’s outdoor enthusiasts maps with the same level of detail and design.

Sue Amell, candle maker

Sue Amell, a licensed massage therapist in Saranac Lake, started making scented soy candles to create a mellow atmosphere at her practice. After bringing her wares to a few craft fairs, though, she soon outgrew her kitchen table. Her company, Adirondack Soy Candles, has been bringing Adirondack scents indoors since 2004.

Matt Burnett, painter

Adirondack native Matt Burnett says that his artistic viewpoint is inextricably linked to his rural upbringing and access to the region’s natural resources. “Throughout my life I have been drawn towards the exploration of primordial environments,” he writes. “Through continual inquiry and engagement with wilderness –as site, as concept, and above all as experience—I have adopted painting as a means through which to engage in the non-sentient, as a device for seeking the objective access of structure and growth beyond human influence.”

Gretchen Vincent, handmade bags

“Not commercially produced”: That’s how Gretchen Vincent describes Adirondack Mountain Bags, her company in Jay that produces hand-crafted bags with North Country motifs.

Matt Griffin, soapmaker

Matt Griffin was a trained chef and baker before he started Saranac Mountain Hearth, using the soapmaking techniques passed on from his own great-aunt, Pearlie-May Murphy. Instead of long lists of chemicals, Saranac Mountain Hearth prides itself on using simple ingredients in small batches: Fats, oils and sodium or potassium hydroxide, and no petroleum derivatives—or, as they call them, real soaps.

Garrett Kopp, mushroom purveyor

When Garrett Kopp was a teenager in Tupper Lake, he learned primitive skills, taught wilderness survival courses and foraged for wild edibles. He learned about chaga, a mushroom tea, by accident: In looking for a thirst-quencher after mowing his grandmother’s lawn on a hot day, he grabbed a pitcher of the dark liquid from her refrigerator. She taught him about chaga’s benefits, they began hunting for the mushroom together, and before long, he was selling out of everything he collected at local craft fairs. His company, Birch Boys, is the result.

Charlotte Besaw, clothing designer

Charlotte Besaw got her first sewing machine at 9, on which she’d make clothes for Barbie dolls. In high school, she got a job at a bridal shop, altering gowns. HandCandy Mittens started when she became a hockey mom: After spending time in a bone-chilling home rink, she started making wool mittens for her and her kids. Twenty thousand pairs of mittens later, Besaw has added hats, scarves, skirts, dresses, coats and more to her lineup—all made from recycled fabrics. “It's important to take care of our environment,” she says. “There is a glut of clothing out there. I seem to have little problem finding great pieces to dissect and re-create at my local thrift stores. Be choosy when you buy. Think twice, and don't settle for cookie-cutter clothing. Express your individuality!”

Maple Mountain New York, specialty maple products

Maple Mountain New York, LLC produces high-quality artisan specialty maple products in the heart of maple county on the Adirondack Coast. At the core of their operation is their passion for all things maple and a love for the land where their maple trees grow and produce sap every spring. They offer unique maple-inspired, crave-worthy specialty items such as their flagship product, Maple Vinaigrette as well as traditional maple offerings.  

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