Meet a Maker: Spencer Peterman

Sometimes it can seem like we’re surrounded by mountains of mass-produced stuff – gadgets and gizmos that don’t bring us joy, that don’t last long, and that, just maybe, we don’t even really need.

Here at Fairhaven Furniture, we do things differently than other gift stores in New Haven. We seek out gifts that are artful, thoughtful and meaningful. Made by hand, by real people, with artistry and craftsmanship – those are the types of objects you’ll find in our store.

Spencer Peterman is a perfect example of the type of maker we represent – a New England-based craftsperson with a passion for trees and unusual woods. Read on to learn his story in the newest installment of our Meet a Maker series!

About Spencer

Based in Western Massachusetts, Spencer started out as a basket weaver, making Nantucket baskets. While selling his pieces at craft shows, he became curious about turned wooden bowls. He started visiting wood bowl companies in Vermont and practicing on the lathe, and before long, he was creating his own wooden bowls – even designing a customized lathe to craft pieces with a signature, natural style.

A stack of round cherry bowls and a live edge black walnut bowl, made by Spencer Peterman

Now that he was working in wood, Spencer started to notice that many unwanted trees in his area were simply chipped, cut up for firewood, or left to rot. Thinking that these discarded logs could be turned into something much more useful and beautiful, he started seeking out fallen trees in the woods near his home. Soon he was upcycling his found wood into rustic bowls, serving boards, trays, and more.

Today, Spencer gets most of his wood from local tree services – mainly maple, cherry and black walnut. The logs he uses aren’t of value to the logging industry because of their age or partial decomposition – natural processes that create the one-of-a-kind figuring for which Spencer’s bowls are known. Once the bowls are turned, they are dried, sanded to silky-smooth finish, and sealed with natural oil, wax, shellac or paint, depending on the type of wood and the desired finish.

A live edge spalted maple bowl, made by Spencer Peterman

We started carrying Spencer’s wooden bowls and serving pieces as soon as we heard about them, and they’ve been customer favorites for years now. If you need an out-of-the-ordinary gift for a wedding shower or a housewarming or a unique addition to your own holiday tabletop, they’re the perfect choice.

You can browse tabletop pieces from Spencer Peterman – and many more heirloom-quality gifts! – on our website. And of course, we’d love for you to stop by the store to check out our complete selection. See you soon?