About Vaillancourt Folk Art of Sutton, Massachusetts

Known for reviving the lost Victorian art form of chalkware, Vaillancourt Folk Art has adapted the process of creating Chalkware Santas—among other chalkware and ornament works of art—with their own contemporary method. Operating in their Sutton, Massachusetts studios since 1984, Judi Vaillancourt was the first to pour solid chalkware into antique chocolate moulds and paint the resulting three-dimensional canvas with oil paints—rivaling the detail and quality of any fine art medium. Available in department stores, museum gift shops, catalogs and small mom-and-pop shops around the country, Vaillancourt Folk Art operates with one goal in mind: to start your family’s tradition by creating that one special gift that will be handed down for generations. Their Sutton Studio, Museum, and gallery is open seven days a week and is always decorated with the splendor of the holidays—tours are offered daily; we look forward to having you join us.

Gary and Judi Vaillancourt in the Retail Gallery at the Manchaug Mills in Sutton, Massachusetts

When Gary Vaillancourt gave his wife, Judi, a gift of three antique chocolate molds in 1984, neither of them knew it would signal the start of a new family business of “made in America.” In the years since, Judi’s collection has grown to over 3,000 vintage molds — one of the largest collections in the world. She uses her molds to make hand-painted collectible chalkware figures for all major holidays — especially Christmas.

Today, celebrating 30 years of traditions, Vaillancourt Folk Art (VFA) is one of America’s last remaining Christmas ornament and collectibles makers. Unlike most Christmas collectibles, which are manufactured overseas, Vaillancourt chalkware figures are still made by hand at the artist’s studios in Sutton, Massachusetts. Visitors can tour behind-the-scenes as artists hand-paint different variations of chalkware Santas, Father Christmas, Belsnickles, and non-Christmas figurines.

While the mold-makers’ palette had been limited—quite literally—to chocolate brown, but by painting the figurines, Judi had unlocked the mold-makers’ intricate artistry, bringing it to life as never before. Particularly compelling are the eyes on the faces of each figure, which display a richness of emotion completely hidden when the pieces were molded in chocolate.

Captivated by the nostalgic charm of these Victorian-era chalkware figurines, collectors began snapping them up as fast as they could be painted and a unique new business was launched. VFA products are available in gift stores nationally, by calling toll-free 877-665-2244 or by ordering through our catalog.

Read about the birth of Contemporary Chalkware.
Read a comprehensive history of Vaillancourt Folk Art or Traditions’ “In The Studio” 2013 interview with the Vaillancourt family.