Beebalm by Maggie Lake

Mixed portrait by Maggie Lake

History of Toys by Tim Allen

Vermont Botanical: Maggie Lake Brings the Outside In

5-Flower Botanical Portrait by Maggie Lake

Each Vermont Botanical is the creation of Maggie Lake and is handcrafted in her workshop in Putney, Vermont. Maggie's love for, and knowledge of, plants and herbs leads her on gathering expeditions throughout Vermont, and to places as far away as the alpine tundra fields of Alaska, the Italian Alps, and Australia. With a view to habitat preservation, she is careful to harvest only non-threatened wildflowers and leave the mother plants in place.

"I bring the natural world to people to awaken them to the humor, beauty, form, and individuality of plants," says Maggie. "As a botany student I was often admonished by my professors to stop playing with the plant specimens and simply mount them for the herbarium."

Years later, the need for a personalized wedding gift spurred her to experiment with drying plants. The process she developed involves pressing the plucked specimens between sheets of paper and using a combination of sauna-style heat for a couple of days and deep-freezer cold for a week -- this kills off any pests that might be lurking in the plant material.

Since starting Vermont Botanical two dozen years ago, Maggie has traveled to many regional and national craft shows to sell her work. She has won awards at the Philadelphia Flower Show and the St. Louis Arts Fair, and has been written about in a number of magazines, including Yankee, Victoria, and Vermont Life. This season she was juried into a few prestigious shows that she has applied to for a number of years, but sadly she has had to withdraw her participation for health reasons. Now, however, she has some added incentive to fight her way back to good health!

Fiddlehead Ferns in a line by Maggie Lake

Stop at Amy's Bakery Arts Café this month to see a range of Maggie's original and print pieces, and visit her website at She is pleased to offer custom designs from her supply of plant materials, so please get in touch with your ideas. She can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at (802) 387-2474.

Copyright 2013, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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