Eric and Teri’s Pork Slam Adventure w/ Ted Nugent – Still 2009 Fall Booking’s Left!

Ted Nugent Sunrize Safaris Upcoming 2009 Hunts - Book your Porkslam Now!

This Year’s Ted Nugent Pork Slam is October 23 – 24th, 2009! (Look closely at the photos!)

So you’re on an artist’s blog site, and you’re wondering how you ended up reading about a pig hunt? Teri and I stopped in for a Sunrize Safari’s Pork Slam in November of 2007, on the route back from dropping off a New Wave Gothic Table in St. Paul, MN. We both came home with wild boar over 300lbs, if you’re up for some close quarters boar hunting stop in just outside of Jackson, MI. The event includes a private acoustic concert by Ted Nugent, catered wild game feasts, fire pit brotherhood, and of course you get to hunt. Fall of 2009 is likely booking up quick, we’d suggest locking in your hunt now to avoid waiting another year.

Since we’re already on the topic – I’ll through in a bit of political propaganda. In order for an artist to practice their craft, artists all in their own way utilize a form of expression. Expression requires the freedom of speech, and last I checked that fell into one of the guarantees defined within our Bill of Rights. We also believe in the rights of the individual to own and bear arms. Freedom is something we often take for granted in this country; those who challenge the very core of our freedoms and express their discontent with our bill of rights and our constitution are ironically enjoying the essence of the individual freedoms our forefathers wove into the foundation of our nation’s structure.

Obviously we hunt & fish, which of course some of you will object to, and outside of the shop I’m often found in a kitchen or at the grill cooking our bounty.  We eat what we harvest, kill if it makes you feel better to say it.  If you are truly a vegetarian we don’t follow your choice of lifestyles, but we will respect it. If you eat meat and you somehow find yourself against hunting we won’t force you to run out and shoot a deer, but we will confront you with the truth. You are in fact  a hunter by proxy. Every time you remove a chicken from the store freezer, stop at a restaurant and grab a burger, or purchase a new pair of leather shoes someone updates their inventory. You have initiated a demand, which triggers someone else to do dirty work for you, all you know is that the shelves are restocked next time you visit your favorite store. You either eat meat, or you do not eat meat … there is no in between.

Theresa Tonte with 300lb silver back Austrian boar at Sunrize Acres - Ted Nugent Pork Slam 2007 hosted by Sunrize SafarisTheresa Tonte with 300lb silver back Austrian boar at Sunrize Acres - Ted Nugent Pork Slam 2007 hosted by Sunrize Safaris

Click Here For More on Teri

Shown Above Theresa Tonte with 300+lb Austrian Silver Back Wild Boar Sunrize Acres, Jackson, Michigan November 2007

Free speech is just that, it is the freedom to speak your mind when you want, where you and, and to whomever you want to speak too. It is also the right of others to turn their backs and ignore you; this is no different than two people looking at a painting and each expressing opposing critiques. Not happy with such an environment? That’s just too damn bad – either learn to deal with it or find yourself a more repressive country to live in. We’re artists and we’re hunters; and we’re happy living in America.

Free speech is something I use regularly, and I can tell you without apologies that I offend people just as often as I speak freely. To those who have the free time in their lives to waste being offended over me, well, go spend some time with your family or at least get a hobby;  most importantly stop wasting your life worrying about what I am doing. I live my life from a first hand perspective every day, I guess perhaps if you enjoy reality TV you can follow our blogs and tweets, but I can assure you it really isn’t worth getting upset about. To be sure we’re in perspective, those who manage to speak and tick me off – well that’s just something I have to learn to accept and move on with my life; everyone has a right to speak their mind.

What you really need to keep in mind when you challenge any of our freedoms is that taking away any piece of any one is the first step to losing them all. With freedom comes risk, a free population is in fact free to carry out acts that others find distasteful. You may hate our style of furniture, somehow I don’t think you’ll call and tell us to stop making it. Yet for some reason people will tell me I shouldn’t hunt. Furniture is somehow not offensive, even if you hate it, yet feeding ourselves the way mankind has done since before recorded history is suddenly taboo?

ad_rt2007_boar6_lSunrize Acres - Ted Nugent Pork Slam 2007 hosted by Sunrize Safaris

Click Here for More on Eric

Shown Above Eric Saperstein with 300+lb Wild Boar (Sow) Sunrize Acres, Jackson, Michigan November 2007

Keep tabs on our adventure blogs and hunting/fishing trips – we’ll be posting more information about some of the guide services, outposts, and camps Teri and I have enjoyed over the years. We’ll also be posting recopies as time allows, including wild game dishes. Coming soon is some tips and information about having a pig roast!

We’re also hoping to plan a range day with a few of our clients who expressed interest in learning to shoot – this summer if all goes well. If you too have an interest let us know, I have an NRA instructor’s certification, as do several other members of my hunting club. We can arrange an Artisans shooting day!

For more information about Sunrize Safaris, Ted Nugent, the Pork Slam, or other hunts with Ted and his crew:


Or call Paul @ Sunrize Safari’s 800-343-HUNT x16

Ted & Shemane Nugent support our nation’s troops – visit for more details!


Alice Leon’s – The Alice Project intelligent, hooky rock ‘n’ roll that unequivocally soothes the soul.

Alice Leon - The Alice Project Photo by Dan Komoda

Click For Blog Ambiance


Occasionally everyone takes a moment in their life to look back at where they have been, what they have done, and who went along for the ride. When I think back to my days in high school, er a … I mean college (yeah college that’s it … I would never have entered a bar at age 17) I start reflecting on my time as a roadie. These were the days I managed to go into New York City to spend the night playing road crew for our friends bands – then somehow get up and make an 8am class. I can remember a few times I was disturbed as a flock of insane morning people arrived at the office, how rude when they shewed me off the couch I slept on in the lobby; I just wanted to be sure I arrived on time.

Aside from the realization that I’ve grown old, comes some great memories of New York, the Jersey Shore, a whole host of dive basement joints, biker bars, and a few other strange venues. (We’ll lave it at “strange”  this is a PG blog.) I may be able to see a pile of wood as a finished piece of furniture, but I can’t sing, I can’t dance, and you may want to go deaf if you hear me try to play (abuse) an instrument. Joining the ranks of the road crew allowed me, Tom Clark, and Jim Gross to gain access to a whole world of interesting places simply by carrying in the equipment and plugging in a few wires.

After Alice All Access All Occassion PassAlice Leon - The Alice Project - Photo by Dan KomodaWe found our place in the musicians world providing the support, the muscle, sometimes the sound, sometimes the lighting, and a few times we even got to be bouncers.  We even laminated (Shown Left: lamination is important, it made it really official like!) our own All Access / All Occasion Back Stage Pass. Which, even to our surprise actually did serve as a means of entrances into back stage locations, VIP rooms, the only clean bathroom in the bar, and an assortment of free drinks and food. Meeting some of the crews, up and coming musicians, DJ’s, record labels, agents, and even a few events involving Melissa Etheridge, the East Street Band, Penthouse, and most of the local radio stations.  Does anyone remember the WPST “Worlds Greatest Memorial Day Party” … Gig?

We were “The After Alice Mobile Technical Support Team,” click on the pass and read the fine print for more details on that! All the while we got a front row seat to the show – which is where Alice Leon often took center stage. Alice, at the time was the lead singer for “After Alice.” Alice always managed to light up a room with her voice, and often had a unique and very honest perspective or observation to share both on stage and off. (Inside Joke Interlude: Alice – if you want us to eat something, your pitch should not include the word “groady.”)

Today Alice’s musical operations surround  “The Alice Project,” continuing her traditional namesake role, she describes her role in the band as follows:

“Lead Singer/writer/acoustic guitarist/piano… sometimes. Alice makes lyric and melodic driven acoustic/alternative/indie rock that will connect with lovers of Carole King, Aimee Mann, Suzanne Vega, Jill Sobule and John Lennon. Songs about faith, armchair warriors, love, botox, and regifting are neatly wrapped in masterful instrumentation. Alice is outspoken, funny…a master story teller…and extremely honest.” – Alice Leon – lead diva, rhythm guitar, keyboards.

Alice’s project consists of: Alan Greene – bass/ vocals, Scott Strunk – drums, James Leahey – guitar/ vocals and at this point I’ll let the band’s PR specialist take over for the song descriptions as any attempt to rewrite this will just end in an abnormal confusion of the intended content!


Alice Leon - The Alice Project Photo by Dan KomodaProvocative, smart pop may seem like a lost art these days, but it’s hardly been lost on THE ALICE PROJECT. With the October 2000 release of their second Clown Milk Records CD, , this plucky foursome from Princeton and NY exposes stories of hope through experience with a knowing wink and undeniably heightened musicianship. The songs are fun, hip, melodic, and lyrically challenging. And they rock.

Alice’s smooth, pleadingly clear voice leads her revamped band on with the same anti-demure approach she easily brings to the live stage as an embracing storyteller. Her voice is so engaging, that people don’t always realize the impact of her double-edged lyrics until they’ve penetrated their target to chill-inducing effect. Once that happens, the songs of THE ALICE PROJECT tend to touch people in ways they haven’t been moved before, evoking genuine emotions and meanings they can’t seem to find elsewhere.

Alice Leon - The Alice Project "Traveling with Lady Berlin" Album Cover Photography by Dan KomodaAs with THE ALICE PROJECT’s acclaimed debut, 1999’s The Big Number, Alice wrote all the music and lyrics and handled most of the arrangements on TRAVELING WITH LADY BERLIN with Keyboardist Scott Monetti. And once again, her stories are real. “We Will Love You” surveys the abuse one is willing to take from a lover until it’s time to finally let go. The highly personal “Uncle” finds Alice questioning her ongoing quest to reach higher ground in the music industry despite the frustrating hurdles. “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone” offers a twisted lyrical approach, while the cutting “Marilyn Things” fearlessly points a harsh finger at bidders of Marilyn Monroe’s personal belongings at auction for having “a sorry life so empty” that they need these items for fulfillment. “I’m Not Afraid to Live” is a pointed declaration of near-desperate love, circumstances be damned. TRAVELING WITH LADY BERLIN closes with “She Always Notices the Sky,” a mellifluous acoustic piece she co-wrote with former band-mate Scott Monetti, and inspired by John Irving’s book, “A Prayer for Owen Meaney.”

Alice Leon - The Alice Project Photo by Dan KomodaThe players in THE ALICE PROJECT have drastically changed since The Big Number. With drummer Scott Strunk the only holdover, Traveling with Lady Berlin marked the debuts of newcomers Alan Greene on bass and James Leahey on lead guitar. All three are highly accomplished musicians. Greene, a versatile stylist, has extensive Broadway experience most recently appearing in Tony award winning “JERSEY BOYS” and “Menopause the musical”. Has recently played with Rupert Holmes, Kathie Lee Gifford, Martin Short and Bernadette Peters to name a few. James (Jimmy) Leahey, the son of jazz great Harry Leahey, co-writes many of the band’s songs with Alice and along with playing with the AP is currently touring with Denis DeYoung and John Waite.

Scott Strunk, a Berklee College of Music graduate, has performed with jazz greats such as Etta Jones and Bob Devos. He’s also the leader of The Soul Jazz Trio, which recently released it’s first CD which is self-titled. Strunk has also toured the U. S. with “The Mighty Jail breakers”, an R&B band, and has toured regionally with “The Cramer Brothers band”, opening for many national country artists.

As of April 2008 THE ALICE PROJECT songs have been played hundreds of times on soaps and TV shows. “One Life to Live,” CBS reality show “Who Wants to Marry my Dad,”, “Dark Angel,” CMT’s “Dallas Cowboys,” and Disney’s “Knock First”. Alice has written a new song for the CRAYOLA company, the KEAN UNIVERSITY alma mater, over 60 songs for children with cancer via the “songs of love” foundation and has recently been writing for a number of independent films. Their CD “Traveling with Lady Berlin” was listed on WBJB (90.5 the night) in their TOP 905 albums of all time. #509… in front of Billy Joel’s “Stranger,” REM’s Monster, and Sheryl Crows’ “Tuesday Night Music Club.” The band has also joined the world of PODCASTS and has been played on over 250 shows around the globe.

Photography Credits on this Page go to Dan Komoda

For more information about THE ALICE PROJECT including events, more song clips, to purchase albums, etc:


Watch a short Alice Project Video via YouTube

Photo by Dan Komoda "After Alice" - Scott Nagrod, Matt Calabrese, Alice Leon, Brian Stouchko, Scott Monetti - Photo Circa 1993-1994 ... the crew with which we played many games of "sober" Jenga.

Photo by Dan Komoda "After Alice" - Scott Nagrod, Matt Calabrese, Alice Leon, Brian Stouchko, Scott Monetti - Photo Circa 1993-1994 ... the crew with which we played many games of "sober" Jenga.


Marge’s Braided Rugs – Original, Handcrafted, Custom Made, and Heirloom Quality

Marge Yonda - hand crated braided wool rug in room setting When observing our surroundings and appreciating the artwork around us I would place a bet that most just simply forget to look down. Hand crafted pieces are certainly not limited to walls and furniture, nor to free standing sculpture. In fact, for thousands of years rugs have been handmade around the world.

We’ll skip the history of every imaginable rugs here, as that’s not really our topic of the day, and jump right into a brief evolution of the braided rug. Life for the braided rugs first showed in England, several were common to most homes, often made by the women of the house, from the traditional material source, which was simply rags. The tradition of braiding rugs migrated to the new world along with the first pilgrims.

The basic structure of braiding, using strips of rag, produced an inexpensive yet extremely durable and functional rug.  Braiders with a more creative sense would time the incorporation of colors to produce patterns and even produce images. The colors used in braided rugs making are often very traditional – blue, gray, red, and white, and that’s about it, and they are almost always round.

When properly woven, braided rugs lay quite flat on the floor, never tending to curl and create a trip hazard. The braids can in concept be made of any rag material, the best rugs are most often wool. A warm colorful rug creates a feeling of comfort, which makes them perfect for vacation homes, cabins, or even yachts. Since colors and themes can be creatively selected, a shore house can have a nautical theme, a cabin wildlife, or maybe a horse farm well horses!

“To me, braiding a rug is a lot like painting a picture. The painter starts with a blank canvas and a palette of colors, and lets his heart and mind tell his hand what to do. The quality of the end product depends on the technical skills of the painter, but more importantly on the feeling that the painter is able to impart to the canvas…a feeling that comes from the inner self. The former can be taught, the latter is a gift. The same is true of braiding. There are certain technical skills that can be taught, but the quality of the end product depends on the creativity of the braider.” – Marge Yonda

Marge has been crafting her hand crafted rugs for 40 years, and will deliver a one-of-a-kind artistic creation that is measured in pounds of wool depending on the diameter, with common thicknesses of 3/4″ to 1″ these are no lightweights. Just as a general rule of thumb, almost everything we are going to feature in our blog or newsletter will be of heirloom quality. If you commission one of Marge’s rugs, plan on putting it in your will now to avoid the family disputes over it later!

The usual reaction when I say I make braided rugs is something like,”Oh, I saw the most beautiful braided rug in Wal-Mart the other day”. Marge Yonda

(Interlude Part I: Here’s a little etiquette tip, never compare any artist or craftsman’s work to anything that has ever been sold at Wal-Mart. I don’t care where you got your degree, or what you do for a living, this comment clearly defines YOU as an ignorant fool, and instantly flags you as a waste of time. I am certainly no stranger to offending people, but come on don’t be stupid!)

“So when anyone asks, rather than attempting a long explanation of the differences, I simply say that I don’t compete in that market. I make the best rug that I can make for individuals who I hope will become my friends. So far, I’ve been successful.”

(Interlude Part II: Marge is a bit more let’s say polite than I am. My father or I will more likely describe YOU with colorful adjectives, disparage what you do for a living, then throw your ass out of  our shop, so don’t try that with us! Oh, and don’t think of picking at Teri either … When matched a 110lb Teri vs. a 300lb wild Austrian silver back boar equaled meat in the freezer and a head on the wall!)

Enough with the interludes, more about Marge. Along with her own custom rugs and restoration work, Marge’s website includes training videos and advice on making braided rugs. As with many artists that are masters of their craft, Marge openly shares her skills and knowledge and demonstrates an open belief in not only making heirloom rugs herself, but passing on the craft itself as an heirloom so generations to come can produce their own creations.

Braided rugs are content in a variety of styles and decor, Country, Mission, Colonial, Tudor, Early American, Pilgrim, Arts & Crafts, even Modern. The following is a small gallery of some of Marge’s amazing creations, keep in mind she also does restoration work so if you already have an heirloom rug contact her to discuss how to preserve, restore, display, and enjoy it for generations to come. We’ll be discussing more on art as an investment in upcoming blog articles – for now keep something in mind. Marge has orders pending in Australia, Japan, Germany, Norway, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico, along with of course her fair share of American orders, that will take her well into 2011. Even in the current economic climate, artists that are at the top of their craft prevail as investments in tangible products.

Marge’s Original Creations

Hand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge YondaHand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge Yonda

Hand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge YondaHand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge Yonda

Restoration Before / After Images

Hand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge Yonda (Before Restoration)Hand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge Yonda (Before Restoration)

Hand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge Yonda (Before Restoration)Hand Crafted Braided Rug by Marge Yonda (Before Restoration)

For more information about Marge’s Rugs visit


Pergamena – The Last American Parchment

There are a growing number of artists that are the last of a dying breed. Sounds like an oxymoron but it actually logically explains the fact that many of today’s “Masters” of a given trade are the last in a line of professionals carrying out the traditional art-forms. Jesse Meyer’s Pergamena (Latin for parchment) is on this list. Pergamena is the last active tannery producing true skin parchment in the United States as a commercial venture. There are a few individuals I’m sure, but none that we know of that are beyond home made batches used for their own purposes. Pergamena meticulously handcrafts each parchment using carefully researched ancient methods and their own modern ingenuity.
Eric M. Saperstein - Artisans of the Valley Masters Papers. Calligraphy & Illumination by Rosemary Buczek, Goatskin parchment by Pergamena

Eric M. Saperstein - Artisans of the Valley Masters Papers. Calligraphy & Illumination by Rosemary Buczek, Goatskin parchment by Pergamena

There are other platforms, cotton bond, rice paper (which is not actually made from rice BTW), and standard paper made from wood pulp that we’re all familiar with. All said and done – there’s just nothing that matches the look and feel for a true handmade parchment. Without parchment there would be no new manuscripts; parchment is the foundation medium for master penman to scribe their proclamations, awards, and religious writings. Artisans of the Valley takes pride in producing heirlooms, the next generation of antiques. We’ve reiterated out stance that the artwork we leave behind is our legacy. Selection of materials is a key part of ensuring our work survives the test of time. The contrast between ink and background is unparalleled, the absorption of color is even and stable, and the life of a properly prepared and maintained parchment is virtually unlimited.

As a raw material, parchment has endless potential; incorporated into furniture, wall coverings, boxes, and dozens of other functional pieces parchment displays its natural beauty. All said and done our personal favorite is the use of parchment as we show in the image above; there’s just something appealing and official (not to mention medieval) about a document scribed in old English text on a live edge piece of parchment. This of is why Eric selected parchment to provide a traditional and artistic backdrop for his Master’s Papers.

Pergamena offers calfskin, goatskin, deerskin, and sheepskin parchment in pre-cut sizes and full skins. Parchment is produced in three thicknesses: thin (below .25 millimeters/below .010 inches), medium (.25–.45 millimeters/.010–.017 inches), and thick (above .45 millimeters/above .017 inches). A wide variety of dyed goatskin parchment is available, including custom colors.

Visit Pergamena’s “How we make parchment” page for more details on the hands on process used to turn raw skins into calligraphy ready parchment. Don’t forget you may also catch the Meyer family on not one but TWO episodes of “Dirty Jobs.” Pergamena was featured twice, once for their tannery and once to show their skills at crafting hand made parchment.

Pergament - Handmade Calfskin Parchment
Pergament – Handmade Calfskin Parchment
Pergament - Handmade Sheepskin Parchment
Pergament – Handmade Sheepskin Parchment
Pergament - Handmade Uterine-Calfskin Parchment
Pergament – Handmade Uterine-Calfskin Parchment
Pergament - Handmade Deerskin Parchment
Pergament – Handmade Deerskin Parchment
Want to keep up to date on Pergamena subscribe to their newsletter:
Contact Information:
Jesse Meyer
11 Factory Street
Montgomery, NY 12549
p. 845.649.5806
f. 845.457.9115

What’s Your Passion? – Artistry That Goes with the Grain (Reprint)

What’s Your Passion? – Artistry That Goes with the Grain

by Gregory Potter, Internal Communications Director at MetLife

Originally Published June 12, 2008 – Metropolitan Life’s “What’s Your Passion” is a focused segment of Met News Daily that features the lives of Met’s employees – well outside of Met.


Master Craftsman Eric M. Saperstein of Artisans of the Valley - Photo by Greg Pallente

Photo by Greg Pallante

We all want balance in our lives. Eric Saperstein (right) finds it by living in two worlds. While at MetLife, as a member of ESS Enterprise Technology Solutions, Eric is immersed in the hi-tech, highly team-oriented world of a senior software deployment engineer. But on his own time, he practices a more ageless and solitary pursuit: the fine art of hand-carved, custom-made furniture, including reproduction period furniture, original designs and antique restoration and conservation.

Eric is no dabbler in his craft. Today, he runs Artisans of the Valley in Pennington, NJ, a woodworking establishment begun by his father in the early 1970s. About two-thirds of the shop’s business consists of restoration and conservation of antiques and collectibles. The rest is commissioned work, which is Eric’s favorite. Projects in the shop range from an intricately carved safari chest to a Gothic dining room table set and even a Gandalf doorknocker for a Hobbit house.

“I like the fact that you get to physically create something from start to finish,” says Eric. “You have control. In my corporate life, that’s not possible – because you’re part of a team and projects are compartmentalized. So woodworking gives me my own little world where I can be the eccentric artist.”

But while Eric appreciates the creative freedom woodworking gives him, he also appreciates the fact that his MetLife career actually augments that freedom. “If I had to do woodworking full-time, I’d have to take on more projects I don’t want to do. Then it becomes work. But because of MetLife, I can pick and choose my woodworking projects. Then, it’s fun.”

You might say that, for Eric,  developing a passion for woodworking was simply a case of “going with the grain” – the natural outcome of his upbringing. His father learned the craft from Clarence Grinnell, the last master craftsman of the well-known Grinnell family that dates back to 1614. “So, as I grew up, it was around the house,” says Eric. “I was just normal for me to build stuff.”

Eric’s father “retired” from Artisans of the Valley several years ago (“Though he still pokes in and out,” says Eric) and, currently, Eric is the main proprietor. His fiancée, Teri, works with him. “Teri was introduced to furniture restoration when she met me,” says Eric. “She says that, if you asked her before we met whether she’d ever be involved in this stuff, she’d say you were nuts! But she’s a great partner because she finds different things relaxing than I do. You can set a highly carved piece in front of her to clean up and she’ll sit there with dental picks and wire brushes for three days, picking at it, and be very content and satisfied. I eventually get bored doing that, but I can see her sense of satisfaction. In the end, you have something that was covered with who-knows-how-many layers of paint and broken chips – just a mess – and then, it’s back to what it was originally.”

Custom hand made New Wave Gothic Desk (Library Table) by Artisans of the ValleyEric’s greatest satisfaction comes from those times when he’s commissioned to do highly creative projects. But, again, his sense of balance comes through in how he approaches his woodworking activities. “There are two ends of the business,” he explains. “There are the projects that are highly profitable and easily feasible to do, and then there are the ones that – given the time it takes to do them – you know we’ll end up billing at $5 per hour but they’re super-creative. It’s the difference between plying a trade and doing art. The idea is to break into the art world. But until you really do that and make a name for yourself – at which point you’re getting paid for a reputation – the trade is
what sustains you.”

One of Eric’s more creative projects in recent months was a commissioned Gothic piece. “We’ve gotten into a lot of Gothic furniture lately because nobody else in the area is doing that. So, an interior designer might come in and say, ‘We have a client with a Tudorstyle house and we want their dining room to feel like you’re sitting at King Henry’s feast.’

That’s the kind of project I’m doing now: a solid walnut dining table  with two matching server corner units. By the time we’re done with it, that’s the feeling you’re going to get when you walk in the room.” Another recent and memorable project that benefited from Eric’s artistry was a gorgeous safari chest. “It’s a very simple, classic solid cherry chest,” says Eric. “But when you add in a full-length panoramic wildlife scene that’s carved, burned and painted, it becomes more of an art piece than a period reproduction.”

That said, Eric’s artistry is clearly based on classic woodworking styles that meld perfectly with the task of period reproductions and antique restoration. “We don’t get into what’s called ‘art furniture’ – all that weird, bent stuff,” Eric says. “A lot of what we do is because baby boomers are downsizing and passing on their furniture to their kids. So our job is to take something that was originally beautiful, but now may be falling apart, and bring it back to where it blends with the client’s décor.”

Custom Solid Cherry Hand Carved Safari Chest by Artisans of the Valley featuring whitetail deer, bear, and elk scenes.Will Eric’s artistic reputation ever grow to the point where a signed Saperstein original is worth more than the piece’s trade value? Only time will tell. But, for now, his craftsmanship is bringing him that balance he seeks – as well as the admiration of not only his clients, but of one particularly noteworthy old master. “His furniture will last 400 or 500 years,” says Eric’s father. “I’m not exaggerating. That’s how well he builds it.”

For more about Eric, and a further look at his creations, visit


Kagen Schaefer – Mathematics Woodworker

A few years ago one of Artisans of the Valley’s clients, having just seen our custom  solid walnut “sequence chest” (shown below) which was a full size coffee table designed to open a series of obvious and hidden compartments based on a specific sequence of events, asked us about a commission for a puzzle box. We pondered for a while about doing a small scale puzzle box, then contemplated a bit more, and then thought about it for a while, did a bit of research, and then finally drew the obvious conclusion: Eric & Stan are not the right artists for this type of commission.

Solid Walnut Sequence Chest - Coffee & Gaming Table by Artisans of the Valley - shown assembled.Solid Walnut Sequence Chest - Coffee & Gaming Table by Artisans of the Valley - shown in segments.

Every artist has their niche, something that fits their personality, their skills, and drives their passion to create. When don’t fit a particular project, we always try to provide the best direction we can in order to help our clients fulfill their unique requirements. Eric’s search for an appropriate artist to create a puzzle box lead him to find a young artist named Kagen Schaefer. Eric contacted Kagen to discuss the commission, and provide some insight on the project and the client’s requirements. These first contacts also service as a sort of call screening, Kagen certainly passed this test in no time at all.

We all, as artisans, come to crossroads in our lives where we must make decisions about our path, this most often results in dividing ourselves between what we enjoy and what pays the bills. Kagen is an exception to this normality, displaying a unique talent for as he describes it combining his love for both mathematics and the visual arts.

He found his calling in the world of woodworking where he implements his use of geometric calculations and intricate designs to create an amazing array of puzzle boxes ranging from simplistic to extensively complex. The angles, the interlocking, and the overall form and function of his pieces are a testament to both his skills as a mathematician and as a craftsman.

Kagen’s skills have won him awards at the International Puzzle Party Design Competition, held annually. He’s been featured in Fine Woodworking Magazine, on the Karakuri Creation Group web page, a renowned Japanese site for secret opening boxes.

Based in Denver, Colorado his pieces are prized in collections around the world. He’s always creating, always learning, and it’s well worth your time to visit his website and check out his work at

To give you a preview we’ve extracted some of the latest updates from his website:

Artist & Woodworker Kagen Schaefer“I will be releasing two new exciting designs this year. The first is my next secret opening box. This is the perfect blend of the Block Box, Pattern Box, and Braided Box. As a puzzle and a work of art is very well balanced. The solution is not too tricky and not too difficult. I am very fond of patterns that transform into new patterns. Naturally this new box begins with one tessellation and transforms into a completely new one. It has a magic like quality, since each tessellation differs so greatly. Click here to see more. – Kagen Schaefer (Shown Below Bottom)

“The next project will take place this fall. This is to be one of my finest designs. The Lotus Table is a circular version of the Cafe Wall Table and the Pattern Box. The linear movements of these two previous pieces are translated into circular movements. Now the patterns take on a very amazing kaleidoscopic effect. It has six drawers, and a seventh secret space. It takes on the appearance of a lotus flower when all six drawers are open. I have only drawings of the table to show for now. Click here to see more. – Kagen Schaefer (Shown Below top)



Klise Mfg. Receives FSC Certification!


The Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) is chartered in short to protect the world’s forests. These are not people chaining themselves to trees or laying in front of bulldozers, the FSC is a qualified group that is scientifically driven to achieve the goal of sustainable forestry. What is sustainable forestry? Simply put, they (we) want the forests to exist as a natural and economic resource indefinitely. Those of us in the woodworking industries obviously require, can anyone guess? … Wood! … Without wood, we are out of business and our art-forms and trades cease to exist. Therefore industry and environmentalists are partnering to ensure our future. A careful balance of harvest and preservation, reforestation, management, and general usage is required to achieve this end.

Artisans is pleased to announce that Klise Manufacturing is now FSC certified. You may have heard the term “Chain of Custody” before, most likely the last time you watched an episode of CSI. FSC Certification begins with the establishment of supply chain, manufacturing, inventory control, and shipping procedures that facilitate the movement of raw lumber and finished products through their lifecycle and delivery stages. This establishes a clear chain of custody, each step from the forest through the delivery to the end user is registered, and traceable.

Klise is our source for over 5,000 unique, high quality, solid wood machine and hand carved products including moldings, corbels, appliqués, rosettes, panels, columns, feet, and other unique items. Tracy Sianta, Director of Marketing and Sales for Klise, plays an active role in our industries environmental relations, she  serves on the board of  the West Michigan Forest Products Society (Great Lakes Region) and is responsible for ensuring that Klise does their part for sustainable forestry.

At the first stages of manufacturing wood products, an FSC Organization ensures that their raw materials are obtained from FSC certified lumber yards; sourcing is allowed from other venues but materials bearing the FSC logo cannot intermingle with materials from other sources. The manufacturing and inventory procedures are all geared towards ensuring that FSC sourced material is tracked and segregated through every process. Any break in the chain of custody, and the product can no longer bear the FSC logo.

Let’s review case in point: Artisans of the Valley is not (yet) FSC Certified. We therefore cannot handle a wood product, made by Klise or anyone else, in our shop and still proclaim that it is FSC Certified. Artisans would therefore stay outside the handling process by requesting that Klise drop ship all products requiring an FSC Certification directly to the end user.

That said, a drop ship won’t make sense for small times that will be intertwined into our commissions, as the FSC Certification must be proven against ALL materials in a given commission before it can be stated FSC Certified. We can assure our clients that we are purchasing our lumber from various sustainable and local sources, and are actively aware the need for good forestry practices in our industry.

Where does a drop ship make sense? Well it should be obvious that repeatedly transporting the same goods, especially if the route involves back tracking, is wasteful in both cost and resource usage. Therefore larger orders say 1,000 feet of molding to California; this we’d request that Klise (based in Michigan) ship directly to our client in California. New Jersey may be the garden state, but we’re thinking the molding really won’t be too upset when it skips the site seeing expedition!

FSC Certification comes with an ongoing responsibility, annual audits are required, and periodic inspections or verifications may be conducted. Organizations are required to maintain clear and concise record keeping, and to present all chain of custody documentation to a client upon request.

Klise is pioneering their industry into the next level of environmental consciousness, this is an important milestone in their commitment to sustainable forestry. We will keep you posted on our activities surrounding certification programs, how are affiliates and suppliers are achieving their environmental goals, and in general with news and updates from the woodworking and artistic industries.

There’s still a lot of green left on our planet – let’s do our best to try to keep it that way!

For More information on Artisans Architectural Products

Artians of the Valley




Artisans of the Valley – TODL Showcase and +2,000 Leads!

Today Artisans of the Valley formally exceeded 2,000 designer leads received through our membership in The Trade Only Design Library. As part of our ongoing marketing program we arranged for a series of Features and Showcases where TODL broadcasts information about our products and services to their entire membership of over 47,000 designers, architects, corporate purchasing agents, and concierges.

Attached below is an example image from a TODL Showcase email – click on the image below and you’ll see a larger version. This image is included in the framework of an email with active links that take designers directly to our company profile and detailed information (specifications) about our products and services. By consolidating their broadcasts and maintaining a consistent schedule, TODL optimizes the visibility of each manufacturer (artist) member with throttled delivery to their designer membership.

On a different subject, this week we increased our marketing affiliate recruitment program. We have been speaking with designers, suppliers, and clients about aligning our marketing resources to enhance our online presence. Soon we will be featuring more of our affiliates within Artisans Quarterly Review, our blog site, and even on our CD Portfolio. If you are interested in submitting an article, profile (artists, designers, companies, etc), something on a green topic, press release, or just fun tips and facts please contact us and we’ll be happy to help promote your cause.

We’re all adapting to a new economy, and a much different market than we’ve all become accustomed to (spoiled by) … therefore a, designers, and all our suppliers and supporting businesses must work in synergy to gain the advantage. We’ll be putting out a lot more propaganda about this project soon, for now this is a heads up!

For more information about the Trade Only Design Library ( contact Bernadette Bumpers at or (727) 441-2060.

Trade Only Design Library - Example Showcase Email 06-9-2009 Including Artisans of the Valley

This image is owned by The Trade Only Design Library ( all rights are reserved; representation on this website is to provide an example of the marketing services provided by TODL and of the ongoing marketing efforts of Artisans of the Valley. Please contact TODL for information about opportunities for manufacturers and designers and also for more information about manufacturers featured in this image. (Except Artisans – you can contact us directly!)


Horton Brasses Launches Their New Seventh Finish!

horton_keyholes1Recently Horton Brasses announced a seventh finish available in their line of high quality reproduction furniture hardware. Six finishes has been the norm, so they decided to introduce something new, and this introduction is huge. It’s not as simple as a new product or size; instead they are offering an entirely new finish for every piece of brass hardware they make.

Light antique is now a standard, stock finish! Light Antique is lighter than our regular Antique but not so bright as to look new. This option provides the opportunity for reproduction and restoration projects to upgrade a bit in their appearance from traditional tarnished antique brass to a beautiful gold color shining through the soft antique brown.

Horton’s new finish is based on years of customer feedback, realizing that they were receiving requests for Light Antique and providing it upon special request. Adding it to their extensive product listing as a standard finish is a large undertaking, but a project whose time has come.

horton_interiorknobsWhat are the other six you ask? Satin brass and satin nickel are soft, warm finishes, while polished brass and polished nickel reflect and sparkle; daring the admirer to come closer. Antique brass and oil rubbed bronze are dark finishes and will appeal to customers looking for that timeless piece of hardware. Light antique fills the gap in their line-up of brass.

horton_chippendaleAll seven standard finishes are in stock at all times; no minimum order; no upcharge; quantity discounts available. Let’s also remember that Horton has a line of iron hardware in addition to their brass and nickle finish options. Hardware options include drawer pulls, escutcheons, knobs, hinges, hooks, catches, latches, locks, chest hardware, casters, brass trim, table hardware, and even house numbers and clock hardware.. We should also mention they maintain an inventory of nails, tacks, brads, screws; including even cut & rosehead nails.

horton_ironHoron’s brass hardware lines include Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Arts & Crafts, Queen Anne, Art Deco, William & Mary, Empire, & Victorian. Their iron products cover country, mission, & colonial projects. Artisans of the Valley offers Horton Brasses hardware on all their custom commissions and as options for replacement hardware for restoration projects.

Ask Artisans for Horton’s Hardware on your next commission and please check out Horton’s website: for more information!


Architectural Accents – Leverage Visual Appeal & Continuity in Furniture and Architecture.

lg_sy-ca-100Designers, home owners, builders, architects: If you’re involved in any project requiring a unique hand detailed architectural feature, Artisans is offering a complete line of architectural products in a vast array of styles, shapes, and sizes including corbels, moldings, columns, capitals, pilasters, appliqués, rosettes. The line has been dubbed “Artisans Architecturals,” and is central to our plans to extend into new lines of business as well as new markets.

We’re in a new economy, and the game is now delivering a quality product while keeping costs within reasons. Artisans Architectural line is primarily a machine carved product, using tooling ranging from lathes and presses to spindle carvers through to fully automated CNC equipment, all of the pieces marked as “hand carved” receive attention by specialized carvers to assure that all the details are properly in place. Artisans also offers a final touch service to provide our own master’s level carving skills to complete the last and final details upon request. By leveraging production equipment and our hand touches, we are managing to provide a cost effective delivery of a very high quality product.

pf_2007tableproject_d4_lArtisans has teamed up with Klise Mfg of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1910, John Klise combined several small carving shops in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to create the largest manufacturer of carved wood mouldings in the U.S. The business, Klise Manufacturing Company, began by providing wood components for furniture and quickly expanded into other product lines including pianos, architectural goods, ocean liners, and caskets. Over 95 years later, Klise continues to offer unique, exotic, and luxurious wood detail for many applications.

Select from 5,000 patterns available in oak, maple, or cherry as “stock” items or in almost any material by special order. Columns, pilasters, capitals, legs, barristers, banisters, ropes, crowns, skirts, panels, aprons … There are acanthus leaves, eagles, elephants, leaves, roses, vines, scrolls … Should we keep going? (Take the hint order our CD!) Artisans is always available to incorporate our design and our shop services to enhance and finish these products. All our custom services and hand carving remains the same, now we just have a few things we can take off the shelf and sell!

A leader in the wood industry, Klise frequently pioneers trends for hand-carved products.  The company also developed ColumnTrack™, a unique, patented modular column system.  The Klise factory features machines that join time-honored wood carving techniques and advanced technology – a combination that supports custom designs for limited edition pieces, as well as efficient large production runs. Artisans will provide design, assembly, and finishing services to incorporate these elements into furniture and mantles. We will also provide consulting services and design assistance for projects requiring built-in cabinetry, moldings, stair cases, or other architectural details.

appliquesUse your imagination as a designer and you’ll envision countless uses for these products! Artisans can provide custom furniture incorporating our architectural line allowing continuity in design between freestanding furniture, moldings, and fixed architectural features. In both traditional and modern themes, we can provide simple scrolls or ropes and detailed grapes, vines, and acanthus leaves. The higher end of our architectural line even incorporates eagles, horses, elephants and lions.

Need something entirely custom made? We can carve originals and have them replicated, even scaled, to produce true one-of-a-kind designs. While we implement pieces from our manufactured line, always keep in mind that our array of custom options can extend to continue your design themes far beyond production elements. While our architectural features consist primarily of appliques, we can incorporate incised (releif) carving into furniture, panels, signs, or other platforms.

lg_sy-ea-001Concerned about the environment? Klise’s processes are earth-friendly, designed to help minimize energy consumption and waste. Approximately 80% of the lumber for Klise projects is from sustainably managed forests.  Klise is also a participating member of the Michigan Retired Engineer Technical Assistance Program (RETAP). Artisans produces their custom commissions using lumber from a combination of sustainable and local sources.

There are simply too options to put our full portfolio online. Contact us to request our CD portfolio to review Artisans Architecturals! The disk will also include our hand crafted custom furniture portfolio, as well as our restoration portfolio, furniture maintenance products, newsletters, feature articles, and a variety of other unique content.

Contact Email:

Phone: 609-637-0450

Artisans of the Valley 103 Corrine Drive Pennington, NJ 08534


Original Design New Wave Gothic Desk incorporating various elements from Artisans Architectural Line