Pete Baxter is a self-taught oval box craftsman who follows the same Shaker design and construction processes that originated in the 1790s. Once he discovered the Shaker tradition of handmade wooden boxes, he focused on making them as his signature pieces.
An important part of his process involves carefully selecting the right kind of hardwood, with the perfect grain, for each box design. He soaks the bands in hot water and secures them with copper tacks that will not stain the wood. By hand, he then fits tops and bottoms to the bands, using copper shoe pegs to secure them. As a final step, Baxter applies a hand-rubbed varnish.
He interprets particular woods and grains to express a visual warmth and excellence within the Shaker tradition. Each box has a particular wood, grain pattern, workmanship, and purpose.
While the design belongs to the Shakers, Baxter believes his interpretation and craftsmanship create a one-of-a-kind piece that cannot be replicated, making each box authentically Shaker and uniquely original.
Artisans wishing to participate in the 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts™ may download applications by clicking here. Because of the uncertainty of mail delivery caused by the Pandemic, we have extended the deadline for entries. We will accept entries postmarked by February 15, 2021. Those selected will be notified after judging in April, 2021. The 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts™ will appear in the August 2021 issue of Early American Life.
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