Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Shaker setting

We first became interested in Shakers and Shaker design in the '60s when my wife read The Believers by Janice Holt Giles. Drawn in by the story, we began a life-long study of the sect. Each home over the years has had a little more Shaker influence than the one before it. When we built this house in 2004, we decided to "go all the way." That's in design and decor, mind you; we did not adopt the Shaker religion, and we have two sons to prove it. Since we are into the winter season, with frequently overcast skies and fewer days made for roaming the mountains, it seemed like a good time to begin sharing some of it with you. The print with the most famous Shaker song, Simple Gifts, seemed to be a good place to start. Hope you enjoy this and the ones that will follow.

The candlestick, by the way, is threaded so that it may be raised as the candles burn down, thereby keeping the light at a constant height to work by. The oval box has become a symbol of Shaker craftsmanship. They are most often displayed as progressively smaller boxes in a stack. Non-Shakers display them with the graceful finger-joints in front. When in use, Shakers would have turned the finger-joints to the rear. When not in use, the boxes would have been nested much like the Russian dolls.


  1. The simplicity of Shaker crafts is always appealing.

  2. How interesting to see your Shaker style Jim, please keep the posts coming! Jane x

  3. I just love the way this looks and wish I could keep things looking like this in my own home. There truly is beauty in simplicity.

    Also, I've always wondered why the candle holder was threaded like this. Good to know.

  4. I've always loved that kind of craftsmanship and feel some affinity with their beliefs. Keeping to that lifestyle is another matter entirely!