Friday, June 28, 2013

Michael Bonne 2013


As you know, my copper cookie cutter collection, specifically those hand-crafted by Michael Bonne for Martha Stewart and sold through her now defunct Martha by Mail catalog business has been featured quite a bit here on my blog and over at my Facebook page.


The fact that I cherish my collection and enjoy using them to create little individual works of cookie-art to share with you, comes as no surprise, I'm sure. However, what may surprise you is that over the past several months I have had the pleasure of getting to know and work with Michael Bonne and his wife and partner in business, Teresa!


American artist Michael Bonne has earned the title, "world-renowned coppersmith" because his work is exceptionally unique and authentically American. During their early years as antique collectors and dealers in Indiana, the Bonne’s developed an appreciation for cookie cutters from a bygone era. Rustic and primitive cutters especially captured Teresa’s attention because of their simplicity and charm. Disenchanted by contemporary designs and the rising prices of 19th century examples, Teresa asked Michael to make a few copper cutters for her kitchen. That was the “Aha!” moment for Michael as he recognized the value in creating cutters fashioned from real copper, combining both the time-honored tradition of American craftsmanship and the Bonne’s own unique design concepts.



So Michael Bonne Coppersmith was launched in 1982, eventually and forever transforming the world of cookie cutters, and garnering a strong following of loyal fans. As his passion and customer base grew, so did Michael’s creativity and expertise. A landmark event for Michael and Teresa was the 1988 acquisition of Cape Cod Copper Works, which ironically was the source of the copper trays and serving pieces used by Martha Stewart during her early years as a caterer in Westport, Connecticut. This development gave Michael Bonne Coppersmith another more contemporary copper line to compliment what until then had been mainly a vintage nineteenth century look. Little could anyone guess at the time but it would also introduce this humble coppersmith from Indiana to one of America’s best-loved lifestyle personalities.

In the summer of 1996, Martha Stewart’s business empire expanded to include a mail-order business in her magazine that would later develop into Martha by Mail. After a strong response to some of the Cape Cod cutters from her home photographed for a spread in Martha Stewart Living magazine, Martha took note. Very much wanting to feature copper cookie cutters in her mail-order catalog, Martha charged her creative team with locating a coppersmith in the tradition of Cape Cod Copper Works. To Martha's delight, she found that Michael and Teresa had acquired Cape Cod Copper Works and were producing copper cookie cutters too! It was a match made in heaven and later that fall the very first edition of Martha by Mail copper cookie cutters was born!


First Generation Cutters

Several thousand sets of Star and Moon were delivered to customers just in time for Christmas. When demand exceeded supply, Michael Bonne and his team of elves literally worked around the clock with Martha footing the bill for overnight shipping to fulfill every order so no one would be disappointed on Christmas morning.

Following this initial success, collaboration between the Michael Bonne Coppersmith Shop and Martha by Mail continued, ultimately producing numerous innovative copper cookie cutter designs that enchanted the masses and remain highly collectible nearly two decades later.

Before the sad demise of Martha by Mail, the Michael Bonne Coppersmith Shop also made exclusive cookie cutters for other companies you may know… Such as Williams-Sonoma, Eddie Bauer, The Walt Disney Company and institutions like The Smithsonian and The Museum of American Folk Art. Michael’s even produced pieces for The White House!

In 2003, the Bonne’s sold their business and left Indiana to pursue other interests. They relocated their family to sunny Florida with no further plans to continue the Coppersmith Shop chapter of their lives.

Although I had already amassed a large collection of Michael’s copper cookie cutters from the Martha by Mail line, I wondered about those who hadn’t.  This is precisely what my friend David and many other readers kept asking me as my blog began to incorporate Michael's oeuvre. We both feel Michael’s exit created a void for those that missed out on collecting his work while it was still available and who still longed for new Michael Bonne cutters.

So David and I set out to find Michael Bonne and begin a dialogue with him. If you've been reading for a while you might remember this post after I located the Bonne's and Teresa parted with her personal set of Martha by Mail cat cutters in memory of our sweet Bing.

When we caught up with Michael and Teresa they had begun to take note of increasing interest in vintage Coppersmith work. Teresa had been dealing in original Michael and Martha items for a few months and Michael was making a new cutter here and there.

David and I were eager to encourage the husband and wife duo to begin creating new copper cookie cutters for a whole new generation of Michael Bonne fans. As evidence of the current demand for his craft, we pointed to auction sites such as e-Bay where Michael’s vintage cutters command astronomical prices and continue to captivate collectors all over the world. Sadly, the most coveted of Michael's Martha by Mail cutters remain financially out of reach for most of us longing to create cookies with them and that’s why we needed Michael Bonne back!

David and I have followed with extreme interest the Michael Bonne cookie cutter market and are constantly astounded by the prices his cutters end up selling for. However, what isn’t surprising is why collectors want to gather and cherish these copper cookie cutters from Michael and Teresa’s “Coppersmith” days. They are truly iconic American treasures meant to be used and passed down for the next generation to enjoy.

This brings me something I'm very excited to share with you today.

Introducing… Michael Bonne 2013!


Yes... The world of collectors and bakers are in for an exciting treat and, it begins now!

David and I are delighted that Michael has agreed to return to creating copper works of art that are both functional and beautiful for use in our homes! We couldn't be happier to share this piece of news to all of you, because as you are well aware, we have been fans and collectors of Michael's work for more than two decades.

It also delights us to announce that every one of you once again have the opportunity to create new traditions in your own homes using a brand new era of Michael Bonne cookie cutter collectibles!

Working from their Florida studio, the Bonne’s are introducing new and exciting designs as well as cutters that pay homage to the vintage designs. This new generation of copper cutters will become instant heirlooms and have everyone baking artful and delectable cookies to share with family and friends.

With a new Etsy store and Facebook fan page now in place, Michael is showcasing his new work that is available for purchase today. You'll want to keep checking back because Michael and Teresa launch new designs every few days! Further, Michael also accepts requests from his fans to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Perhaps you have your child’s artwork that you wish to preserve forever in the form of a cookie cutter or sculpture... Michael can do it for you!

You may contact Michael directly through Teresa, who not only does a lot of creative design work but also manages the business side and keeps up their new Facebook page and Etsy.com store. The Bonne’s love to hear from collectors and their fans. Feel free to send them a message to welcome Michael back and to of course, let him know which copper cookie cutters you want!



I also invite you to stay tuned to my blog and to David's blog for some exciting news about copper cookie cutters that Michael Bonne has created from our own personal designs which will soon be available exclusively through our blogs.

We hope you'll you'll join us in welcoming Michael Bonne back and making his unique works of copper a part of our homes.

Happy Baking and Collecting!

7 comments:

  1. Hello Janet

    I have been reading your blog since the end of 2012 when you were featured on Good Things by David. I have read all of your posts because I was so amazed and in awe of what I saw on your blog and of all the things that you get up to.

    I live in England, but lived in Arkansas 20 years ago and fell in love with all things Martha Stewart then. I still get her magazine when I can back here in UK, but it is not the same. I think however that your blog (and David's) are actually better!!

    I wanted to let you know that you are very inspiring and that I love reading your blog. You have inspired me to decorate cookies, decorate my home and garden and I am loving it. So thank you for this.

    Today when I just checked my e-mail and saw that you had a new blog post and that it is about the Michael Boone cookie cutters, I just could not believe it. I am amazed at what you and David have and will achieve. You should be very proud, as should Michael Boone of course. I wish all three of you all the best in this new venture and hope that it goes really well for you.

    Anyway, THANK YOU, for being so great and for sharing your life. I wish only good things for you and your family (especially your son.

    Looking forward to reading lots more from you in years to come.

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  2. What a great story Janet! I have almost every single Martha by Mail copper cookie cutter sets too. It's so nice to see Michael Bonne returning to his craft. Thank you for sharing!

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  3. This is a really nice back story. I'm a kiwi now living in Australia so I was never privy to any of these cookie cutters. Altho I have been baking and decorating since I was a child, it was near impossible to find anything other than traditional shaped cutters., until... I saw the noahs ark animal creations used by Dani Fiori ,made for Martha Stewarts Grandchild. So started my search for the Noah's ark collection. It was then and only recently, that I recovered the copper cookie cutters you so avidly cherish and my first introduction to Michael Bonne's work. I also discovered his newest designs on EBAY and inquired if this was THE Mr Michael Bonne. To my delight it is and all is history!
    I am most happy to be part of the ' Michael and Teresa Bonne - the next generation club ' as I call myself Teresa has been MOST accommodating in posting to my Australian address when I was Strictly USA only.. These cutters are beautiful works of art, and being smaller, are most practical for My usege . Altho I appreciate that you would beg to differ !!!!
    Well, I have managed to procure the 1st set of Noah's Ark and my dream is to find sets 2 and 3 ! Humph... Never know your luck in the big city I always say, so I shall keep looking.
    Thank you again for this nice piece of history. I can see you are truly a big fan and why not. The Bonnes seem worthy of such adoration. Xoxo Rachel @Twice upon a Time Cookies.

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  4. I'm not much for posting on blogs....but I wanted to thank you so much for "bringing the Bonnes" back to life.

    I collected first from the Country Living Magazine, then Martha by Mail, Teresa when she used to sell on ebay and now from the Bonnes on ebay again.

    Just love the new designs..Just added the peeper and egg to our collection, for the chicken keeper in me. Soon will need a bigger kitchen to display them all!

    Thanks again and I'll be watching for the cutters on your blog!!! So glad to be part of the next generation!

    Barb

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  5. Oh, Barb - you lucky, lucky girl! I am desperate to finish my Martha by Mail cutter collection... The Baby Shower set and the Wedding Cake and Ring are HIGH on my list. I can't do the high e-Bay prices (I have care packages to send to Afghanistan, after all!) so I include my wish to find them in an antique store or at yard sale in with my daily prayers. :) Wish me luck!

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  6. Thank you Janet and David for being the "SPARK" to ignite the Bonne's comeback! What a gift to cookie cutter collectors and cookie bakers around the globe! Thank you Janet for sharing such a beautifully written history of their amazing journey. It was a joy to read!

    I'm thrilled the Bonne's are returning to their ART full time! Michael's work truly represents American Craftsmanship at its very best! As a collector of the Martha by Mail/Bonne copper cookie cutters I know how frustrating it is to try to compete on ebay for those rare pieces. THANKS TO YOU JANET, I'm delighted to be part of the "new generation" enjoying the Bonne's new and reasonably priced copper cookie cutters! I love that they are creating new designs with you and David, as well as continuing their traditional Martha by Mail designs in new nicely sized cutters that make the perfect cookie!

    Can't wait to see all the incredible cookie cutter designs that will be created from this amazing collaboration! Welcome Back Teresa and Michael!

    Janet, many thanks again for always being so generous with your time, expertise, recipes and encouragement! Between you and the Bonne's I'm in cookie baking heaven.

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  7. Hi Janet,
    Mike and I were friends in high school. The pic of the cabin brings back memories. I used to visit there and at the bigger store/shop on the Carthage Pike, and later in Knightstown, (my hometown).

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xo