Matt and Tiffany Gregson love to stir the pot. No, not like that. This couple’s kind, creative, and welcoming aura is about as far from controversial as possible. The stirring is all about ingredients, materials, and ideas.
Stirring Creations, a rustic furniture and homemade soap gift shop run by Matt and Tiffany, focuses on the function and beauty of the natural materials used, helping create a product that is artistically beautiful, functional, locally-made, and entirely inspired by nature. Matt, who has been making rustic furniture for years, started by making wooden spoons. Hence the stirring. The shop in Schroon Lake has since evolved to offer unique, environmentally-friendly, handmade gifts. I had the opportunity to visit Matt and Tiffany this past spring to learn more about Stirring Creations and the people behind the products.
From the forest ...
Immediately when I pulled in the driveway at Stirring Creations I noticed a picnic table. I soon learned that this was no ordinary picnic table. Matt had made this one himself and it was one-of-a-kind. The breeze picked up a bit, carrying a fresh scent of lilac, and I couldn’t help but imagine having a meal at this table with my family on a warm, sunny summer day. It’s not hard to see the effort, passion, and care Matt put into this table. And the cedar picnic table was just the tip of the iceberg. Each piece is a work of art and a labor of love.
Inside, I was invited into a room with end tables, stone bowls, art, and stone holders for soap, sponges, and business cards. When I say that I was floored by how incredible the products are I don’t intend for it to be taken lightly. My eyes were quick to find a sink, polished and shiny, awaiting a newly decorated washroom. This display room wasn't all about Matt, though: featured brightly on the wall was artwork by the Gregson's daughter. She also made one of the tables for sale. And she's still in high school!
What is most notable about the furniture Matt makes is the amount of time that goes into each piece. A lot of the stuff isn’t made in one day or even in a few hours. Off the top of his head Matt was able to tell me how long each piece took to complete, and the geologic/ecological history of each piece. When you spend as much time as Matt does with rocks and limbs, you become a homemade geologist and ecologist.
He also told me that each rock and limb used in his furniture and decor was taken off private property; Leave No Trace ethics are important to follow. One rock used frequently is anorthosite, seen below. If it looks familiar, it's because anorthosite is the same kind of rock found on the moon!
My favorite piece that was currently for sale at Stirring Creations was an end table that had a fossil in the stone! And the legs were crafted with fallen lilac branches. Simply stunning.
… to the home
Stirring Creations is much more than rustic furniture, though. Matt’s designs are just half of the operation. Tiffany also creates functional products for eco-conscious and curious shoppers. Tiffany and Matt say her natural soaps were born from a funny story. As a craftsman and sculptor, Matt’s hands were obviously subject to his intense work. Commercial soaps just made things worse. So, with determination and careful study, Tiffany began to make homemade, detergent-free soaps. As she experimented with different ingredients and combinations, more and more people began to request soap! Thus, a new product line was born.
Tiffany is constantly stirring up some new, interesting combinations by blending together gifts from mother nature. I think I sniffed each of the varieties when I was visiting, and can confirm they all smell wonderful. In addition to natural ingredients, some of Stirring Creations’s soaps are made with beer. Yes, that’s right. Beer! And beer from Paradox Brewery nonetheless. The alcohol must be cooked out of the beer before its used, but once it’s in the soap, the sugar in the beer gives the soap a really nice, fluffy lather. This is a great gift for the beer lover in the family!
Stirring Creations’s soaps are specifically made for people with sensitive skin. Whether you have sensitive skin or not, I highly recommend using some. I have been using a bar and my skin has never felt softer. Beyond soap, Tiffany also has a line of natural bug deterrent, soy candles, bags, and more!
Visit Stirring Creations
The Stirring Creations shop is open 7 days a week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located on Old Schroon Road, just south of downtown Schroon Lake. You can also pick up products at the Keene Valley Farm Market, which is on Sundays at Marcy Field. Or order online. But the Gregsons say for the best selection, visiting the store is the way to go. Only so much can be transferred to markets and fairs. The shop is always fully stocked! Check their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
While you’re visiting the Adirondack Hub, make sure you pencil in some time for dining and outdoor exploration. With Schroon Lake as your basecamp, a little shopping at Stirring Creations paired with a mellow hike and a trip to Paradox makes for a perfect day.
The last two images (one of unpackaged soap and one of a bowl, end table, and sink) were taken by the Gregsons and used with permission.