Keith Dickson prefers simple things, so the Shaker style is natural for him. A cabinet-maker by trade, he is best known for his reproduction shaker boxes with their simple, almost eternal, practical design. He creates all sizes of Shaker boxes, all of which exhibit the exact proportions, materials, and craftsmanship of the originals—The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities has licensed Dickson to reproduce its collection of original Shaker nesting boxes.
Using the same techniques as Shaker box-makers, Dicksonuses maple for the sides of his boxes and their lids, pine for the top and bottom pieces. He doesn't use glue. Instead he pags his boxes and uses small copper tacks to hold the overlapping fingers down. As with the originals, his boxes are painted—he duplicates the original Sbaker colors with safe, modern equivalent pigments. He also varies from tradition when customers want showier boxes, using more exotic woods like tiger and bird's-eye maple and finishing them with varnish so the natural figuring shows in the fnished boxes.
In his shop, Dickson also makes reproductions Shaker furniture—such as chairs, tables, desks and armoires—all reflecting the utilitarian simplicity and elegance of the originals.
His work can be found in the National Museum of American Folk Art in New York, Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts, Wilton Museum in Connecticut and Mercer Museum in Pennsylvania. He exhibits at many shows including those at Mount Vernon, Waterford, Virginia, and Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Delaware. He had made Shaker boxes that the White House distributed as Easter gifts at a world conference. He was also commissioned by Mount Vernon to create a 200th Anniversary commemorative box.
His hometown newspaper, the Frederick News-Post profiled Dickson upon learning of his selection for the Directory. You can read their profile by clicking here.
The deadline for submitting entries for the 2021 Directory of Traditional American Crafts has past. All entries we have recevied are being processed and will be submitted to the jurors for anonymous judging. The 2021 Directory will appear in the August 2021 edition of Early American Life. Please do not call us. We cannot report on the status of any particular entry until the Directory is published..
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