It's a sure sign you're in Waterbury. No, not the traffic circle, the actual sign. You may have never thought about who made it.
Welcome to Wood and Wood Sign Systems in Waitsfield. Sparky Potter started this design and sign company 44 years ago.
"We like to do things that are memorable, so oftentimes the art piece becomes the memorable piece," Potter said.
His mixed media-- atypical signs-- as he likes to call them, can be spotted all over the country.
"We'll do hundreds if not thousands of signs a year," he said.
You can spot Wood and Wood's signs from the slopes of Vail to Ben and Jerry's.
"One of the first signs we did was this guy," Potter said, showing the sign at the Ice House Restaurant. "It showed me you could do outdoor art and it could be memorable."
If Potter's name rings a bell, it might be because his daughter is Vermont's own rock star, Grace Potter.
Sparky and Grace aren't the only creative geniuses in the family. Younger daughter Charlotte is a glass blower, artist and designer. Son, Lee, is a poet.
And mom, Peggy, makes bowls. It was quite a creative household.
"The kids can go from breakfast to having a hammer or pencil or tool in their hand, or they can go in the other direction and there's a piano, trombone, trumpet," Potter said.
The family comes together at least once a year for a major project -- Grand Point North.
"It's definitely a labor of love," said Charlotte Potter.
It's a two-day music festival on the shores of Lake Champlain and a giant Potter family reunion. Charlotte is busy working on the art installation for the festival, Grand Point Weird. Sparky worked with Grace on the signs that set the stage.
"I'm very proud to look at that stage to see how it presents itself; it's really different and homegrown," Potter said.
A homegrown family-- each member on their own Made in Vermont creative journey.
*Editor's note: In an earlier story, we incorrectly said Fire and Ice restaurant was closed. Fire and Ice is open and we apologize for the error.
PO Box 4508