A tribute to Don Carpentier (1951-2014)

I met Don Carpentier in 2012 when he asked me to give a lecture and show examples from my collection of antiques with inventive repairs. From the moment I entered the Brigadoon-esque Eastfield Village, his paradise on earth, we immediately hit it off and discovered we had many friends and interests in common. Don was one of my biggest supporters and was always there for me to help identify unusual pieces, show me how to detect fraudulent repairs (some made by his own students!) and cheer me on during my very first lecture.

A glimpse of Eastfield Village, consisting of over 20 buildings from the late 18th to early 19th century, including a pottery studio, print shop, blacksmith shop, tinker shop, doctor’s office, tavern, general store, and church. Each building was found within a 50 mile radius of Don’s home and was disassembled piece by piece, brick by brick, and reassembled on his property.





Don helping me set up for my first lecture at Dish Camp, 2012.


This pressed glass master salt with a make-do wood replacement base was given to me by Don as a token of thanks for my participation as a lecturer.

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Don making a tin handle during the first Making Make-Do’s workshop in 2013.


The finished product, which I proudly display in my farmhouse.


Two examples of Don’s reinvention of mochaware, using the original molds and techniques of the 19th century. The bowl on the right was a wedding gift given to me by my mother last October.


This past June I participated in the second Making Make-Do’s workshop and made a tin lid for my Worcester teapot. I was helped by (left to right) Olof Jansson, William McMillen, and Don.

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Thank you Don for sharing your enthusiasm, knowledge, and friendship. Words can not express how much you will be missed by those close to you and by the antiques world in general.


10 Responses to “A tribute to Don Carpentier (1951-2014)”

  1. Steve Johnson says:

    What beautiful memories, Andrew! I was sorely disappointed that I could only make one workshop last year, and I chose Olof’s blacksmithing program. Don was such a beautiful person that when he heard that I had wanted to attend “Make-Do’s” but couldn’t, he suddenly started “finding” things that needed repaired/mended, always when we were on a break, and gesturing for me to come in the tin shop with him and watch him work. I was touched by his humble generosity and his eagerness to share what he knew with anyone who would listen/watch/ read his rapidly scribbled notes.

    I was bitterly disappointed that I couldn’t make it to the village at all this season, and now Don’s departure makes it all the worse. I hope you and others will continue to carry Don’s work forward, and keep spreading the nearly-lost knowledge of the past that Don so faithfully tended to.

  2. Andrew- Lovely to read this today. I didn’t meet Don face to face until January, but knew him intellectually and as a peer via my porcelain and pottery lines. The best thing about Don was how open he was to new people and ideas. How welcoming he was to you, and to me – and to many others – is a talisman of his nature. Thanks for your post

  3. Marie-Hélène says:

    interesting and moving, merci pour ce témoignage,
    Best regards,

  4. BB says:

    Andy, I feel so fortunate to have met Don during your lecture this summer at Eastfield Village. He has left a lasting impression upon me. Thank you for introducing me to him and his beautifully inspiring village where time has stopped in order to teach.

  5. Jonathan Rickard says:

    Andy—in fact it was I who invited you to speak at Eastfield but then fractured my femur and missed dish camp and your lecture. We’re all devastated at Don’s passing but just think of the world full of people who have met because of him and the village.

  6. John Verrill says:

    A very nice tribute to a man of many talents. Thank you.

  7. Andrew,
    We met at your first talk at East Fiekd. I restore ceramics. Don was so loving and giving of all his knowledge to his friends. He was my cheerleader also!
    I live six miles from the village and I’m the Nassau Town Histirian,so Don and ?I spent a lot of time working on sharing the history of our area with the residences and beyond.
    I’d love to see you back at East Field teaching again! We must keep his dream alive and share his love of history with the world!

  8. Mckinley says:

    My condolence to Don’s family, friends and all the people who where lucky enough to have met him. Just reading the tribute and the other postings, as an esteemed admirer of Make-Do’s, I’ve added Eastfield Village, to my list of places to visit within the next five years.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Elizabeth Mastopietro says:

    I am so grateful I got to meet him at the Make- Do workshop in June. (And you too Andrew!) He couldn’t speak but communicated better and with more love and enthusiasm than many people who can. I bought one of his plates and a little rooster he made and I’ll treasure them. I found out about the workshop though your blog so thank you so much for communicating about the things you love!


  10. Marilyn Baseman says:

    Marilyn Baseman

    When deciding that a piece made by Don Carpentier would be the perfect wedding gift for you & Mark, I contacted Don & told him the wedding news. His first reaction: “Aw, that’s nice!” was instant & sincere- I could tell there was excitement in it, too.

    He & I exchanged a few emails after that & I knew that whatever he’d make for you would contain a bit of himself in the process.

    Don enriched the lives of people from diverse fields, for he truly was a Renaissance man. Aside from his dedication to preservation, he had spent many years as an active member of his town’s board.

    A well deserved tribute, as reported in the Times Union: “Town Hall was draped in black crape after news of Carpentier’s passing and all municipal buildings’ flags were at half-staff.”

    Thanks to you & your lecture at Dish Camp, I was able to meet this amazing man.


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