Meet the Team #2: Andrée Clearwater
What do fine art painting, Peterman wood products, and fire walking all have in common? While the argument could be made that wood might be the common element, we’ve got a spoiler for you. In this story, the unifying thread is actually the one-and-only Wonder Woman known around the Gill Gallery as Andrée Clearwater.
Andrée is the Retail Manager for Peterman’s Boards and Bowls. She has called the Gill Gallery her office and home for the past six years, since before it opened. She worked with Spencer and Michele out of Turners Falls for two years prior to the opening of the space in Gill. “I met Spencer over 25 years ago when he came to my house for meditations,” Andrée says. “Nine years ago I moved to Turners Falls, one block away from his original building where we still make the boards. Back then, it was his only studio workshop and shipping space, with no retail gallery, and a ton of “seconds” bowls piling up in a back room. Spencer needed help moving them out, so I started to take them to farmers’ markets. Then Spencer bought the Red House. He spent the winter of 2011 renovating it. I took a van load of bowls out to Palm Desert, CA to market at a street fair. When I came back in April, he needed a galley manager. He made me an offer I couldn’t refuse! We opened on June 17, 2012.”
Andrée’s head for dates and details is a key ingredient in her recipe for success at Peterman’s. But her multitude of talents each play their own role in the endeavor. Andrée is herself a fine art painter and creative. In addition to previously owning and running her own art gallery, she has exhibited her paintings in galleries around MA, CT, and Manhattan. Andrée is passionate about many things, including responsible environmental stewardship, social and economic justice, and spirituality. At Peterman’s, her responsibilities include managing the gallery, maintaining the gardens, payroll, and a variety of miscellaneous tasks ranging from stoking the wood-burning boiler to minding Gracie (Spencer and Michele’s beloved golden retriever) when they’re away from home base.
When asked what her favorite part of working for Peterman’s Boards and Bowls is, Andrée is hard pressed to pick just one thing, instead producing a list: “Spencer and Michele, the family atmosphere, great employees, 18th century ambiance, living and working across the street from Barton Cove on the CT River, and our beautiful, natural bowls and boards. I love working and living with functional art. And I love helping our customers find the perfect gift for themselves or loved ones.” Similarly, she’s welcoming 2018 with an open heart and open arms: “I am praying for sanity for this country and peace for the planet, but I am excited about the ever-expanding growth of consciousness, the growth of the business, and more opportunities to meet more incredible, fun people!”
But wait, you might be saying, I was told there was fire walking in this story! As a spiritual being, Andrée has embraced many forms of connection with a higher plane. When asked what other information she thought we should know about her for this story, she gave us the following answer. We think it tells you a lot about Andrée and, like all the Peterman team, how uniquely awesome she is. “I was born at 11:04 am on 11/04 (a presidential election day), which makes me a Scorpio. A Native American shaman once told me I was from a fire clan, which explains why I have a knack for keeping the wood boiler going at night. I celebrated one of my birthdays by fire-walking. My clothes got a few small burns from sparks, but my feet that walked the hot coals were fine.”
With this kind of open approach to life, it’s easy to see how Andrée has found her niche on the Peterman team—and why she excels there.