We were honored to be featured in a Burlington Free Press Article titled “Sunday Jobs: What moose, elk and deer shed becomes resource for Waitsfield business”.
If you’ve ever wanted to bring a little bit of the outdoors inside your home, owner of Mad River Antler knows plenty of artistic ways to do it. Ken Kenia is in his fifth year of business in the Mad River Valley, crafting and selling unique pieces of art made from the antlers of different animals.
“I create one-of-a-kind chandeliers, table and floor lamps, furniture and a number of other home accessories,” Kenia said. “I display and sell them at Bridge Street Emporium in Waitsfield. I also exhibit and sell at a half dozen shows throughout New England each year.”
It takes four to six weeks for larger custom creations to be completed and delivered, Kenia said.
“My favorite piece that I created was a blend of all different types of antlers into a chandelier,” he said. “I had a hard time parting with it. It was sold and shipped to Brazil of all places.”
However, he doesn’t just make large-scale pieces. Kenia has a range of products like wine racks, candleholders and dog chews that he also sells on his website, madriverantler.com
No animals are harmed in the making of his unique creations. he says.
“I only use ‘real,’ naturally shed antlers from moose, deer and elk,” Kenia said. “These animals naturally shed their antlers each year and by the power of Mother Nature, they grow back.”
The animal sheds are collected in early spring and can be found in dense animal-populated areas. They can also be purchased from professional shed hikers in areas of Vermont, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska and Canada.
Although some of the antlers used at Mad River Antler are found by Kenia, most are purchased from recreational hikers and shed hunters who have trained their dogs to find them.
And Kenia is selective when choosing antlers for his projects.
“Each piece is artistically designed for perfect symmetry and balance,” according to Mad River Antler’s Website. “Each antler is cleaned, sealed and blended with other antlers to bring out the natural beauty of each piece when finished.”
Kenia makes his one-of-a-kind creations by using real antlers in every piece of art, instead of a reproduction.
“I hand select each antler for each creation,” he said. “It amazes me how Mother Nature created these and how each one I select is totally unique to itself.”
A resin reproduction, on the other hand, would be lighter in color and identical in shape to other antlers. These qualities would take away from the uniqueness of Kenia’s artwork.
His love for the open air and his desire to fashion unique designskeeps the creations coming throughout the year.
“I love the outdoors,” he said. “Over the past five years, I developed my talent by just working with the different types of antlers in creating something unique and different.”