Play
Woodworker Silas Kopf Crafts World-Class Marquetry

September 29, 2022

If you think marquetry is a dead art, or a relic of the Renaissance, you haven’t been to Easthampton, Massachusetts. That’s where you’ll find master woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf.  For over 30 years, Kopf has turned out hand-cut marquetry marvels, some of which can be found in museums and private collections around the world.  Producer Dave Fraser visited Kopf’s studio and shares the story. This story originally aired on January

If you think marquetry is a dead art, or a relic of the Renaissance, you haven’t been to Easthampton, Massachusetts. That’s where you’ll find master woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf.  For over 30 years, Kopf has turn

If you think marquetry is a dead art, or a relic of the Renaissance, you haven’t been to Easthampton, Massachusetts. That’s where you’ll find master woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf.  For over 30 years, Kopf has turned out hand-cut marquetry marvels, some of which can be found in museums and private collections around the world.  Producer Dave Fraser visited Kopf’s studio and shares the story. This story originally aired on January

If you think marquetry is a dead art, or a relic of the Renaissance, you haven’t been to Easthampton, Massachusetts. That’s where you’ll find master woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf.  

For over 30 years, Kopf has turned out hand-cut marquetry marvels, some of which can be found in museums and private collections around the world.  

Producer Dave Fraser visited Kopf’s studio and shares the story. 

This story originally aired on January 19, 2019. 

Read the Full Transcript: 
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: If you think that intricately inlaid woodworking, better known as marquetry, is a dead art or a relic of the Renaissance, you haven't been to Easthampton, Massachusetts.

It's where you'll find master woodworker and fine furniture maker, Silas Kopf.

For over 30 years, he's been turning out hand-cut woodworking marvels, some of which can be found in museums and private collections around the world. Producer Dave Fraser visited Kopf Studio to find out more.

Silas Kopf, Wood Worker: Now, I'm going to start to saw out pieces here. Marquetry is essentially the look of an inlay, but a slightly different technique.

What's done is you take pieces of veneer, usually wood veneer and piece them together like a jigsaw puzzle - and I want to add a piece of darker wood along there - and then that jigsaw puzzle gets glued on to a thicker backing, so, it looks like the individual pieces of the jigsaw puzzle are inlaid into the surface, but in fact they're all part of the same matrix.

In its own way it goes back to Egyptian times, but the real birth of Marquetry is in the Italian renaissance.

So, I was interested in design, but at the same time I was interested in doing something with my hands. So I ended up getting an apprenticeship in an art furniture cabinet shop, work there for a number of years. And while I was doing that, I was trying to decide, okay, what am I going to do to make something special and unique?

I made furniture, but everything that I make has this marquetry decoration to it, so it's got pictures on it, so it could be a chair with the back of the chair with the picture on it, a table top is an obvious choice for Marquetry, cabinet doors. I've done several pianos where the the rim of the piano is decorated with pictures.

So let's pretend that this is the picture that I'm going to be working on, that I wanted to do this rabbit, and I want the rabbit to be kind of white. So I have picked out a bunch of lighter colored woods here.

The woods come from all over the world because there are New England woods are kind of beige for the most part. So, you know, you can go from maple, which is a nice creamy color to a walnut, which is brown and things in between. But if you want to get some really colorful woods, you've got to go to the tropics. And I'm going to focus on that ear right there.

I go back and forth with the design of the object and the design of the marquetry, so, I generally start with the Marquetry concept and how's the picture going to fit on to that? Then sometimes the the cabinet design has to get modified to fit the picture or modify the picture to fit the cabinet.

So, it goes back and forth for a little bit until finally the design is set. Well, I've been getting more and more complex as the years have gone by.

The first flowers that I made might have had five or six pieces of wood in them, and then I upped the ante after ten years of work and said, no, I'm going to make that same flower, but put 50 pieces of wood in it. And so that's sort of where I'm still at is that level of complexity.

This is the old firehouse in Easthampton. It was the building, the original part of the building was constructed in 1885. The town built a new public safety complex in 2000 and put this up for auction in 2001. And I was the the lucky bidder, although, I had immediate buyer's remorse, oh, now what do I do?

But, it turned out to be a great space for me, I like the big high ceilings, the nice light that's in here, and I like the idea of taking care of this important building.

I think it's a really beautiful building and important to Easthampton to have, have this in in good condition.

The center door has the rest of the goose on it. I would like to think that my furniture, if it were stripped of the marquetry, would still be an interesting object or vice versa.

If the Marquetry was just done to hang on a wall, that that too would be interesting, but, combining the two elements is - It's not totally unique to me, there's other people who are doing it, but it's a pretty small number of people who are doing that.

Starting with raw lumber and cutting it up and refining, refining, refining until finally you get this, this unique object that hopefully at the end you can stand back and say, I'm proud of that.

If you think marquetry is a dead art, or a relic of the Renaissance, you haven’t been to Easthampton, Massachusetts. That’s where you’ll find master woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf.  For over 30 years, Kopf has turned out hand-cut marquetry marvels, some of which can be found in museums and private collections around the world.  Producer Dave Fraser visited Kopf’s studio and shares the story. This story originally aired on January

Play
The Ancient Sport of Archery

September 29, 2022

Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows.  It sounds simple, but according to Sattva Center for Archery Training owners SerahRose and Kyle Bissell, the sport is so much more than that.  Producer Dave Fraser visited the couple’s Training Center in Florence to get an up-close look at the ancient sport of archery. This story originally aired on August 14, 2019. Read the Full Transcript:Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Po

Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows.  It sounds simple, but according to Sattva Center for Archery Training owners SerahRose and Kyle Bissell, the sport is so much more than that.  Producer

Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows.  It sounds simple, but according to Sattva Center for Archery Training owners SerahRose and Kyle Bissell, the sport is so much more than that.  Producer Dave Fraser visited the couple’s Training Center in Florence to get an up-close look at the ancient sport of archery. This story originally aired on August 14, 2019. Read the Full Transcript:Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Po

Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows.  

It sounds simple, but according to Sattva Center for Archery Training owners SerahRose and Kyle Bissell, the sport is so much more than that.  

Producer Dave Fraser visited the couple’s Training Center in Florence to get an up-close look at the ancient sport of archery. 

This story originally aired on August 14, 2019. 

Read the Full Transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Archery is the art or sport of using a bow to shoot arrows.

It sounds simple, but according to Sarah Rose and Kyle Bissell, owners of the Sattva Center for Archery Training, there's a lot more to it than that.

Producer Dave Fraser visited the couple's training center in Florence and shares this story.

Kyle Bissell, Founder: All right, so we're going to, we want to keep the thumb and pinky back and that'll help keep the wrist out.

Archery is a form based sport, not an aiming sport. Kind of like dancing, we need to move our bodies through space in the same way each time.

Serahrose Bissell, CFO: Something also magical about archery that people sort of think of archery and they think of the stories that we tell, and it's historical, but it's also modern because it's in movies, but it's also like from the medieval times.

And so so you say archery and people sort of go, Ooh.

Kyle Bissell: Set up.

I started Sattva center for archery training eight years ago.

Keep this a little bit lower.

Sattva means balance, truth, and strength on the inside. So, what we take that to mean when we use the term Sattva center for archery training, it's about building archers, building athletes that are strong on the inside.

Good, load, anchor.

The most satisfying part of coaching Archery for me is when people show abilities that are beyond just pure archery skills.

So I love it when people are taking the lessons that they're learning from archery, and we try that - we try to instill through our coaching and we see them applying that beyond just the form, the beautiful form that archery is.

Because, my hope then is that it's going to transfer off the archery range.

Lynn Oberbillig: It's very much a mental sport. So once you learn the physical aspect, conquering the mental, performing under anxiety, staying relaxed, and going through the form is the biggest challenge for me right now.

I like the challenge that it's personal, like you can start where, wherever, and take it where you want it.

I also like to compete, so I go to tournaments, I like that part of competition, I've been an athlete all my life, so this allows me, even at my advanced age, to be a continual athlete.

Serahrose Bissell: We get a lot of people who are adults who tried it in camp or wanted to try it in camp, and then they get to try it as an adult, and so it sparks this, this memory of childhood, and then they get to do it as an adult.

There's not a lot of things in life that you you really wanted to do when you were a kid and you actually get the chance to go back to do it. And archery, archery is that for a lot of people.

Lyle Denit: Ever since I was a kid in Boy Scouts, I've been interested in archery, fascinated with it, but never had too many opportunities to really do it.

It's just a lot of fun. It really charges me up and gives me it gives me a lot to think about during the week. I can think about it, and then when I'm here, I'm just totally focused on this. I forget about everything else.

Jack Masi: I used to be a competitive fencer, but I have brittle bones and fencing, plus that, led to a lot of injuries.

So, I was looking for a new sport get into, and I thought archery seemed just as different and safe as fencing did.

So I decided to do that.

Serahrose Bissell: We do six arrows at a time, that's called an end, and sometimes during those six arrows, depending on the number of archers, I can work with every single archer during the course of that end, because I am checking in with every single archer to see.

Where are you in this process? Did you take what I said and incorporate it yet, or are you still working on that?

Which means I can't give you more coaching yet because you're still trying to process what I just talked to you about.

So it's definitely a lot of give and take with every Archer to sort of see where are you and what do you need next.

Jack & Eliza Tuthill: It's a I think an 11 or 12 step process that starts with knocking the arrow on the bow, raising it up, coming back, sort of transferring in the muscles of the back into a holding position where you can sort of have skeletal alignment and feel that just you have straight through your body, through the arrow towards the target.

Actually, I started about eight years ago in middle school because I wanted something to do and archery seemed cool.

And I just kind of haven't stopped. And then I started because he started and my dad started. So, so yeah, yeah, it's a family thing.

Serahrose Bissell: At every age I've seen people come in thinking they're not athletes and eventually they walk away and they call themselves an athlete, or they say, I am an archer.

And that's really exciting for me to have given them the opportunity to feel proud of what their bodies can accomplish.

 

Archery is the art, sport, practice, or skill of using a bow to shoot arrows.  It sounds simple, but according to Sattva Center for Archery Training owners SerahRose and Kyle Bissell, the sport is so much more than that.  Producer Dave Fraser visited the couple’s Training Center in Florence to get an up-close look at the ancient sport of archery. This story originally aired on August 14, 2019. Read the Full Transcript:Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Po

Play
Repurposing Old Mill Buildings: The Mass MoCA Success Story (Digital Extra)

September 29, 2022

With ready power available from its flowing streams and rivers, Berkshire County was an ideal place to start woolen, paper, iron, and glass mills.  But once that industry left the region, towns were left with mammoth empty structures lining the streets and riverbanks. Some have found new life, while others were not as fortunate.  Producer Dave Fraser looks at repurposed mill buildings in the region and begins with one of the greatest success stor

With ready power available from its flowing streams and rivers, Berkshire County was an ideal place to start woolen, paper, iron, and glass mills.  But once that industry left the region, towns were left with mammoth empty structu

With ready power available from its flowing streams and rivers, Berkshire County was an ideal place to start woolen, paper, iron, and glass mills.  But once that industry left the region, towns were left with mammoth empty structures lining the streets and riverbanks. Some have found new life, while others were not as fortunate.  Producer Dave Fraser looks at repurposed mill buildings in the region and begins with one of the greatest success stor

With ready power available from its flowing streams and rivers, Berkshire County was an ideal place to start woolen, paper, iron, and glass mills.  

But once that industry left the region, towns were left with mammoth empty structures lining the streets and riverbanks. Some have found new life, while others were not as fortunate.  

Producer Dave Fraser looks at repurposed mill buildings in the region and begins with one of the greatest success stories: The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. 

This story originally aired on May 2, 2019 

Read the Full Transcript:
Dave Fraser, Connecting Point: After more than ten years of planning, Mass MOCA opened in May of 2009 as the largest center of contemporary, visual, and performing art in the United States.

Rep. John Barrett, Former North Adams Mayor: It changed the image of the community. No longer were we that dirty old mill town that we were described as for so many years.

Joseph Thompson, Director: This was a game changer for us. Feeling like this, this museum has found its footing in North Adams, too, is feeling like a much more healthy, robust community than when we first arrived.

Dave Fraser: The transformation of Sprague Electric into Mass MOCA is arguably one of the greatest mill building success stories in our region.

Mills in the Berkshires date back to the mid 1700s. The first paper mill came in in 1799 and by 1865 Pittsfield had ten woolen mills that hosted 52 sets of machinery and employed almost 1000 men and women.

John Dickson, Local Historian & Author: Berkshire County was the largest producer of wool in the nation, it produced over half of the wool for the entire nation here.

Dave Fraser: John Dickson is the author of "Berkshire County's Industrial Heritage", a book which chronicles that region's expanse of manufacturing supported by a cast of entrepreneurs and inventors who took advantage of the region's natural resources to make a living for themselves and their families.

John Dickson: I was awed by the magnitude of how much industry there was in this area, and to say that by the end of the 1800s, there were 500 manufacturing establishments in Berkshire County alone, is - is huge.

Dave Fraser: Rivers flowed swiftly through the towns, creating an ideal environment for water power, which allowed the Berkshire paper industry to thrive.

Five paper mills were established in the Berkshires before 1820. By 1840, the town of Lee produced more paper than any other town in the United States.

When paper mill owner Zenas Crane died in 1845, Berkshire County led the country in paper production, a distinction it maintained through the Civil War.

John Dickson: The owners were embedded in the community, were from the community, they ended up being very philanthropic in the community.

The Cranes built a library in Dalton because they didn't want their workers just going to saloons at the end of the day, they wanted to have them have something else, they built churches, they built museums.

The Cranes built a museum here. So, they really saw the education of their own workers as part of their responsibility.

Dave Fraser: Back in North Adams, the once bustling factory town now fosters production and innovation in a new field: the creative economy.

Since the launch of Mass MOCA in 1999, North Adams has become a creative melting pot, drawing on an eclectic community of artists in search of dynamic and affordable places to live and work.

Irving Slavid is president of the Condo Association at the Eclipse Mill, a former woolen mill that has been converted into 40 artist lofts.

Irving Slavid, President of Condo Association: By the town is given a special zoning. We're part commercial, part residential, and part artist. So, we can make art here, we can have tools and machinery, and we're allowed to to work and live in these spots.

There's a film, its the earliest film, I believe, 1917, of the mill operation, and it's incredible, you know, thousands of people working here, living here and dying here, probably, accidents and things, and it was pretty important in the 19th century.

Dave Fraser: While mill buildings are difficult to revitalize, the benefits can be significant. Through mill revitalization projects, municipalities have an opportunity to rejuvenate the heart of a community. Despite this progress, there are still many mill buildings that sit vacant awaiting their next chapter.

John Dickson: We drive by them all the time, we wonder what was in them. We have to think about the people who walk there every day who worked six days out of the week, 12 hours a day. They're beautiful buildings.

With ready power available from its flowing streams and rivers, Berkshire County was an ideal place to start woolen, paper, iron, and glass mills.  But once that industry left the region, towns were left with mammoth empty structures lining the streets and riverbanks. Some have found new life, while others were not as fortunate.  Producer Dave Fraser looks at repurposed mill buildings in the region and begins with one of the greatest success stor

Play
Museum Facsimiles in Pittsfield, MA

September 29, 2022

Ken Green and his wife opened Museum Facsimiles in 1992 in a small six room house along with a newborn baby. Today the business occupies a 45,000 square-foot facility, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, fine picture frames, and mirrors. In addition to producing projects, Museum Facsimiles frames fine art for stores and galleries all over the world.  Producer Dave Fraser took a trip to downtown Pittsfield to step inside Museum Facsimil

Ken Green and his wife opened Museum Facsimiles in 1992 in a small six room house along with a newborn baby. Today the business occupies a 45,000 square-foot facility, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, fine picture fr

Ken Green and his wife opened Museum Facsimiles in 1992 in a small six room house along with a newborn baby. Today the business occupies a 45,000 square-foot facility, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, fine picture frames, and mirrors. In addition to producing projects, Museum Facsimiles frames fine art for stores and galleries all over the world.  Producer Dave Fraser took a trip to downtown Pittsfield to step inside Museum Facsimil

Ken Green and his wife opened Museum Facsimiles in 1992 in a small six room house along with a newborn baby.

Today the business occupies a 45,000 square-foot facility, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, fine picture frames, and mirrors. In addition to producing projects, Museum Facsimiles frames fine art for stores and galleries all over the world.  

Producer Dave Fraser took a trip to downtown Pittsfield to step inside Museum Facsimiles. 

This segment originally aired on October 24, 2018.

Read the Full Transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: Ken Green and his wife opens museum facsimiles in 1992 in a small six room house along with a newborn baby.

Today, in addition to its storefront gift store, the business has a 45,000 square foot production facility that frames fine art for stores and galleries all over the world and produces letterpress greeting cards.

It's the kind of place where you can find something for just about anyone and producer Dave Fraser took a trip to downtown Pittsfield to step inside museum facsimiles.

Ken Green, Co-Owner:  It's really about making a quality product, taking care of people when they have a specific need, and responsive and respectful. Those are kind of the keys.

You know, when you walk in the store, you're not like, hey, what can I do for you today? Or, hey, smell this. It's not that at all. It's How are you? Are you having a good day?

You know, help people out, make them smile a little bit if we can, and there's a lot to being human, and we try to bring that humanism to the retail aspect of it.

These are what started our business. We got a warehouse fine of all these small, fine art prints and like the print on this card is about 100 years old.

We're considered the finest printers of fine art and so we got these, my wife figured out how to mount them onto a card and with a with a a border, and then on the back, we talk about the process and the the name of the work of art who painted it, and then a number so that we can find it again.

And so, you'll see kind of a wide variety here, we've won several international awards they're called the Lilly Awards, which is kind of like the Academy Awards for greeting card design. And then my daughter, one of my daughters, also got into it, and she's won several awards as well.

And we use two old printing presses, one from about 1900, the other from about 1950, and they crank up every day when we use them and they just print smoothly and beautifully.

I come from a photographic background, so the art of the print is very important to me. I had one customer come in and they asked me to frame up a poster. I said, I really don't do that, I don't want to get into that, that opens up this whole can of worms I don't want to get into. I didn't have a mat cutter at the time, it just - no - it wasn't going to work. And they, they really were very adamant about it and they're very, they're lovely people.

So I said, All right, I'll frame a poster for you. And so we framed the poster, they loved it, well, the next week they bring a friend who also brings another poster and they open, they opened it up.

So, it's been like this crazy thing because now people wanted us to frame stuff for hotels, and for restaurants, and people bring in the pictures of their grandmother that are one of a kind.

I mean, it kind of runs the gamut. If you own it, I can frame it. One of the things that we make that really nobody else is doing, they're enlarged book spines. The best seller in the line is probably Moby Dick and being in the Berkshires, that makes total sense.

But, I keep them all kind of ragtag and simply because they have a life. They've had a life. And, I want to show that life.

One day I'll get Mary Poppins, and then I get a car manual like the Corvette Shop Manual, and then I'll get Edgar Allan Poe, and then I'll, you know, so, it's a really wide gamut.

When GE left, it really hit the town hard, they took all their jobs, and of course, when you took, I don't know, 15,000, 20,000 jobs, whatever it was, it decimated the area, both for housing and support businesses, restaurants, I mean, across the board.

And so it's, it took a mayor and a city council with some vision to bring the - start to bring the town back.

We're at 31 South Street, which is right next to the Berkshire Museum, right smack dab in the middle of town. You can't get more centrally located.

You walk in, you'll see art and you'll see a lot of home decor, a lot of recycled and handmade, one of a kind sort of things, and so it's kind of a mixed bag of stuff.

We have easily over 300,000 maps in our database, and people inquire from around the country as to their town or the block and their city, and so these have become really great looking things in somebody's dining room or their living room. It's a great jumping off point for conversation.

We live in a phenomenally beautiful area, culturally rich, esthetically rich, so there's been a large investment in the downtown from outside sources.

 

Ken Green and his wife opened Museum Facsimiles in 1992 in a small six room house along with a newborn baby. Today the business occupies a 45,000 square-foot facility, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, fine picture frames, and mirrors. In addition to producing projects, Museum Facsimiles frames fine art for stores and galleries all over the world.  Producer Dave Fraser took a trip to downtown Pittsfield to step inside Museum Facsimil

Play
FULL EPISODE: September 29, 2022

September 29, 2022

Meet woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf, who crafts world-class, Renaissance-style marquetry in his Easthampton, MA studio.And, visit Museum Facsimiles in Pittsfield, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, picture frames, & mirrors, in addition to framing fine art for museums and galleries around the world.Brian Sullivan goes behind-the-scenes at the Big E to talk to the vendors, ride operators, and others who work the tra

Meet woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf, who crafts world-class, Renaissance-style marquetry in his Easthampton, MA studio.And, visit Museum Facsimiles in Pittsfield, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, pict

Meet woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf, who crafts world-class, Renaissance-style marquetry in his Easthampton, MA studio.And, visit Museum Facsimiles in Pittsfield, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, picture frames, & mirrors, in addition to framing fine art for museums and galleries around the world.Brian Sullivan goes behind-the-scenes at the Big E to talk to the vendors, ride operators, and others who work the tra

Meet woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf, who crafts world-class, Renaissance-style marquetry in his Easthampton, MA studio.

And, visit Museum Facsimiles in Pittsfield, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, picture frames, & mirrors, in addition to framing fine art for museums and galleries around the world.

Brian Sullivan goes behind-the-scenes at the Big E to talk to the vendors, ride operators, and others who work the traveling festival circuit.

Then, visit the Sattva Center for Archery Training in Florence, MA where they train people in the ancient sport, skill, and art of archery.

Finally, we take you to Chesterwood, the country retreat of Daniel Chester French located in Stockbridge, MA, where the Lincoln Memorial sculptor crafted many of his works.

Meet woodworker and fine furniture maker Silas Kopf, who crafts world-class, Renaissance-style marquetry in his Easthampton, MA studio.And, visit Museum Facsimiles in Pittsfield, where they produce letterpress greeting cards, picture frames, & mirrors, in addition to framing fine art for museums and galleries around the world.Brian Sullivan goes behind-the-scenes at the Big E to talk to the vendors, ride operators, and others who work the tra

previous arrowprevious arrow
next arrownext arrow
Slider

Hispanic Heritage Month

CELEBRATE HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH WITH A LOOK AT THE PEOPLE AND ISSUES THAT SHAPE THE DIVERSE LATINO COMMUNITIES OF WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS.
CONTINUE READING

 
 

Digital Exclusives

 
 

Music & Performance

 

Like Connecting Point on Facebook!

Follow Us on Instagram!

Connecting Point is a
NEPM logo white local production

WHEN TO WATCH

Thursdays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 7:30pm (repeat)