Dave Brown, Owner
Dave is a craftsman, businessman, family man and philanthropist. Most of all, Dave is a quintessential American success story. Dave started working for his father when he was only 11 years old, learning the craft of scrimshaw and the basics of running a business. Tragically, when Dave was only 19 years old, his father died in a car accident. Although he was young, Dave took the reins of D.E.L.S. and, building on what he learned from his father, expanded the company from a small gift shop to one of the largest Nantucket basket supply purveyors in the Northeast.
Since 1968, D.E.L.S. has dealt in scrimshaw, however recent legislature has placed heavy restrictions on the sale of traditional scrimshaw essentials, like ivory and whalebone. Fortunately, Dave Brown anticipated these challenges, so he, along with his wife Linda, worked to redirect their company's focus from scrimshaw to Nantucket baskets. Over the past thirty years, Dave and Linda not only studied, practiced and refined their weaving and woodworking skills, they also raised a family.
Today, Dave and Linda run D.E.L.S. with the assistance of their daughters, Trisha and Brittany, their son, Tyler, and dozens of other employees including extended family, Dave's Masonic brothers and other skilled artisans. Always on the heels of the next big thing, Dave Brown and D.E.L.S. Nantuckets have developed many unique baskets and other woven objects, such as purses and cradles. In addition to manning the helm at D.E.L.S., Dave Brown is also a brother of the Freemasons, the Treasurer of the Freetown Republican Committee and a member of the Lakeville/Freetown School Committee. Dave also contributes to his local community by delivering Brown Bags to the senior citizens of Freetown and has coached three children's sports teams, including t-ball and high school baseball. He even helps the church by serving as Communicate of Saint John Neumann church as a volunteer chairperson of the Famous Fried Ice Cream booth at their annual festival. In what little free time he affords himself, Dave manages to fit in a few holes of golf or take in a Red Sox or Patriots game.
Linda Brown, Co-Owner
Co-owner of D.E.L.S. Nantuckets and wife to Dave Brown, Linda Brown is a weaver, teacher and mother. Linda has been integral to the evolution of DELS from a small gift shop to one of the preeminent Nantucket basket suppliers in the country. In addition to helping Dave manage the shop, Linda directs the weaving classes at D.E.L.S..
While pregnant with her daughter, Trisha, Linda took her first basket weaving class in 1986 with Gladys Ellis, and she was immediately hooked. Linda saw in basketry an opportunity to expand Dave's father's business, and direct the company away from traditional scrimshaw, an industry which was taking on water in the 80s due to heavy restrictions on ivory and whalebone. As her family grew with the birth of her son, Tyler, and her second daughter, Brittany, Linda also refined her craft as a weaver and an educator. In 1995, Linda Brown started teaching basket weaving out of the Handicraft Club in Providence, where she continued to work for eighteen years.
Today, Linda specializes in teaching basketry to novices and advanced weavers alike. In addition to teaching, Linda is also a master at putting the finishing touches on partially completed baskets. She splits her time between Massachusetts and Florida, and when she isn't teaching or weaving, she looks forward to spending time with her granddaughter, Payton, and the rest of her family.
Trisha Brown, Basket Weaver
Trisha Brown is an experienced Nantucket basket weaver from New England. Trisha grew up weaving baskets under her mother's tutelage, and has devoted her professional life to refining her craft. In addition to working for the family business, DELS Nantucket Baskets, Trisha travels the East Coast from Florida to New England teaching the time-honored craft of basket weaving. Trisha is a member of The Georgia Basket Association, The North Carolina Basket Association, The North East Basketmakers' Guild, The National Basketry Organization and The Basket Museum on Nantucket, and she has distinguished herself by winning Best of Show in 2011 and 2012, and First Place in the Teacher Category in 2013 according to the Northeast Basketmarkers' Guild. Recently, Trisha has used her weaving knowhow to push the boundaries of basketry by developing new designs, such as the Cottage Sewing and Jewelry Basket.
Trisha Brown is more than a weaver, she's also a wife and a mother. Her husband also works for the family business, and helps Trisha with her traveling classes and teaching. Trisha's daughter is seven years old, and already showing promise as a weaver herself. Even with such a busy personal and professional life, Trisha still finds time to involve herself with her community and is active as Co-Chair of Communications and Book Faire in the PTO of Freetown Elementary.
Sandy Beaulieu, In-House Artist
A true Yankee artisan, Sandy Beaulieu has kept the American tradition of scrimshaw alive in the 21st century. Despite growing legislation restricting the sale and trade of ivory and whalebone, Sandy has plotted her way through the storm, pulling her stock from recycled materials like piano keys, among other clever sources. Today, Sandy works as an in-house artist for DELS Nantuckets, scrimshawing embellishments like custom end-caps, ivory or bone basket inserts, bag-toppers and logo-buttons.
Sandy got her start as a scrimshander when she was a young girl of fourteen working in a gift shop. Here, Sandy learned the basics of scrimshaw by carving massive whale's teeth from the Azores. Although she never went to art school, she learned how to handle ivory and whalebone, and how to etch and color it with nautical designs from veterans of the craft like Manny Macedo. At this time, scrimshaw jewelry was very popular, and there was little to no legislation restricting ivory and whalebone trade, so scrimshanding was a relatively common profession in the New Bedford area.
However, by the 1980s, scrimshaw jewelry began to go out of style as new laws banned the sale of whalebone and restricted the sale of ivory, and Sandy was laid off from the gift shop. Tenacious as she was, Sandy continued to work as a freelance artisan until 1995, when she started working for DELS Nantuckets with Dave and Linda Brown.
In a newspaper interview in the late 80s, Sandy acknowledged that scrimshaw is a dying trade. However, the traditional American craft of scrimshaw has changed, and almost two decades later, Sandy's craft is alive and well due to the popularity of Nantucket baskets.
Today, Sandy is one of the most popular scrimshanders in New England. Enthusiasts continue to request intricate custom work from her, even though her waitlist is lengthy, because they know she is one of the best.
When she isn't etching and inking, Sandy enjoys spending time with her many grandchildren. Her hobbies include reading and gardening, but Sandy admits that she will "try anything once."