Appealing to those that crave locally grown, locally made, and hand crafted products, the Naked Table Project invites us to get intimate with creating sustainable furniture. Charles Shackleton, a Vermont furniture maker, launched the project in 2009 as a way to make the process of furniture craft “naked,” meaning transparent. Participants dedicate a weekend to dive deep into learning about the resources that go into the table they are creating. Shackleton says that the goal is “to slow people down to make people appreciate what’s around them.”
The group meets the loggers and artisans who cut down and process Sugar Maple trees from the sustainably managed Vermont forest. Since the tables are stained with cow’s milk, the group also visits with the dairy farmer. The team then goes to work on building their contemporary style tables, and when they are finished a day later, each one is marked on the underside. The markings include the creator, the date, and also the geographic coordinates of the location where a new tree has been planted to replace the one used to make the table. To celebrate the project completion, the team joins all of their tables together and dines on a feast of locally grown food.