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A Sign of the Times

"Fairy Tale" quarterboard

Seaport Shutter Company, based in Brewster and Chatham, recently launched The Sign Shop, specializing in custom signs, many in the quarterboard tradition and style, says Lauren Huard, director of sales. Huard’s father, Peter Malone, founded the company in 1992 and remains very involved on the creative side, Huard says. “Our business is all about design, style and color. My father has personal style, flair, spirit and a very creative eye—he helps make our products come to life.”

Seaport crafts signs primarily in mahogany and finishes them with five coats of paint or a marine-grade stain or varnish. “We find that mahogany does well in the elements,” Huard says, “and it has a natural, traditional, timeless look.” While signs are carved by machine, a team of artists hand letters each sign, and finishes can be applied by hand. Prices begin around $395 for a small (24-inch) quarterboard.

In addition to its large selection of carvings and appliques, the company offers all custom designs too. Huard describes a sign created for a Los Angeles family with a summer home in Orleans, with the slogan “Coast to Coast” flanked by appliques of California and Massachusetts.

Most quarterboard artists have tales to tell about the clever wordplay that finds its way into their custom creations. Lacy recounts the story of a man and woman who had each just gotten divorced, and were about to wed one another. For their slogan they chose “Eat, drink, and remarry.” And there’s no lack of double entendre on Nantucket, says McCarthy. He has made several quarterboards for the Frazier family, including one that says “Deuce Coop” for Libby Frazier, who keeps two chickens as pets. “And because the Beach Boys are my husband’s favorite,” Frazier notes. Another memorable sign is a quarterboard McCarthy made for a surgeon that says simply “Suture Self.”

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