By Virginia Dean
According to local resident Mark Scully, Vermont has “great things going for it” — great food, great beer, great skiing, great swimming holes, great mountains and lakes and great people. But what it lacks, he notes, is a great t-shirt company – one that offers premium t-shirts adorned with original designs created by Vermont artists.
That changes now, he related in a recent interview. His newly opened Vermont Eclectic Company is offering just these shirts in a Woodstock village retail location soon to be determined. And, Scully has commissioned four artists to collaborate with VEC to offer their own expressions of what makes Vermont unique including the people, the land, the lifestyle, the sense of humor and the food.
“Like many of Vermont’s greatest innovations, Vermont
Eclectic Company is a true collaboration,” Scully said. “We’re committed to promoting these incredibly talented artists, supporting local nonprofit organizations and offering people great t-shirts that help them express their love of Vermont.”
With 22 unique designs available at the company’s launch, each shirt comes with a brief profile of the artists including their background and approach. Artists include North Hero’s Sarah Rosedahl, Hinesburg’s Mark Gonyea, Barre’s Rob Donnelly, and Burlington design studio Methodikal.
Rosedahl, for example, is an illustrator and cartoonist who is inspired by the wildlife and agriculture of the Lake Champlain Islands. She works in watercolor, acrylic and mixed media and especially enjoys painting birds, both wild and domestic. Gonyea is an author and freelance artist who specializes in cartooning, graphic art, scratchboard, brand identity, and narrative art. He is a fan of silent storytelling and loves to try to combine the flow of a story with the aesthetics of color, balance, shape and form. Donnelly is an illustrator who combines clay, paper, and digital technology to create his work.
“I looked for Vermont artists who had a passion for the state and a fresh perspective on what makes this place special,” said Scully. “In keeping with the ‘Eclectic’ in the company name, I wanted a range of styles in the collection. Looking at the result, I would say that each of the artists delivered something unexpected – in some cases, whimsical; in others, humorous or sophisticated.”
Methodikal is a graphic design agency based in Burlington and helps businesses tell their stories through content development, brand identity work, logo design, packaging design, brand strategy, copywriting, and other creative services.
Scully, who considers himself to be the “Chief Eclectic Officer” of VEC, launched the artful, curated selection of t-shirt designs in 2019 after moving to Woodstock full time. A corporate refugee, he spent his career in Human Resources, most recently as head of HR at a Boston-area software company.
“It was a good run, and I enjoyed it but I felt increasingly restless,” said Scully. “I was happy to leave the traffic behind and dive into this creative endeavor, one that is a true collaboration with Vermont artists and local nonprofit organizations.”
Scully wanted to try something different but wasn’t sure what that was, so he decided to take a year off to figure it out. He and his wife, Maura, had visited a vacation home in Plymouth a couple of years ago and fell in love with the area.
“On weekends, when it came time to head back to Massachusetts, we used to talk about how much we hated leaving. So, this summer, we decided not to leave. Whatever my next chapter would be, it would be written here. Maura is self-employed and had the flexibility to move, and our kids are out of the house doing their own thing.”
Plymouth was perfect for the couple but the house was too remote.
“We decided that if we were going to be here permanently, we wanted to become part of a community,” said Scully. “We feel we’ve found a great community in Woodstock. We’re committed to being part of the town and finding ways to contribute.”
Although he is not an artist himself, Scully and Maura have enjoyed picking up small, artful items in their travels.
“It’s fun because when someone visits and admires something in our house, we have a story to tell that goes with it,” said Scully. “I wanted to be able to give that experience to people who visit Woodstock in a way that’s very accessible.”
Scully is committed to collaborating with the community by supporting its “many, worthy organizations,” he related.
To begin, $1 from every shirt sold now through March 31 will benefit Artistree in South Pomfret.
“To me, it was a natural connection,” said Scully. “I’m about celebrating art and artists, and Artistree is about giving people in the community the opportunity to create and share art.”
Scully holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and a master’s in human resources from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
The VEC website was formally launched on Jan. 14. To buy a shirt, visit VTEclecticCo.com and follow the business on Instagram.