Peter Dellert

Posted by: Hannah Vieira & Charlotte LaPlante

Peter Dellert

Peter Dellert is a self-taught artist who is well known for his fine craftsmanship and love for nature. His work includes furniture building, from functional tables and wall cabinets, to sculptures and mixed media pieces. Peter has lived and worked in Holyoke, Ma for almost 30 years and is a valuable member of the artistic community.

Furniture Maker    Mixed Media Artist    Sculptor


About the Artist—

Peter Delert was born in 1951 in Connecticut, raised in Gardiner, Maine and moved to the Pioneer Valley in the 70’s as a builder and construction worker. He graduated from Clark University with a degree in Biology but soon recognized the field wasn’t for him after realizing a life spent working in a lab was not something he wanted to pursue. Peter was exposed to nature as a child growing up in Maine and began a love affair with it at an early age. He was driven to the field of biology due to his love for nature with the hope of becoming an oceanographer, and later a lichenologist. Looking for a way to still express his love of nature outside of biology, he began to pursue art. Soon after graduating, he discovered clay and began exploring form, material and texture by working as a potter. He wandered away from clay after a few years, working on boats, cooking, building stone walls, and, ultimately, cabinet and furniture making. He was steered away from carpentry by the expense it was taking on his body as it often involved working outside through the long, cold winters. Peter then decided to move away from building houses and instead build cabinetry. Peter thoroughly enjoyed finish work and loved when a piece finally came together. Peter is a completely self taught artist who credits his construction work as his introduction to wood crafting. He enjoys working on small architectural constructions for their finer work and intricacy, taking jobs no one even attempted because they were too difficult with unpredicted and unsightly curves and angles. With his love for both sculpture and nature, he was able to experiment with new forms and ideas in furniture, becoming the artist he dreamed of becoming in his twenties. His work continues to change and evolve from functional tables and wall cabinets, to sculptures and mixed media pieces that are often narrative. His career has been an evolution of finding the perfect location, creating a business from the ground up, and expressing his love for nature, all the while discovering his artistic capabilities.

Why Holyoke? A Brief History—

At first, Peter was drawn to Holyoke almost 30 years ago for its cheap real estate, much like many other artists. He found the perfect rehab building for his woodworking studio in a garage near the center of Holyoke. Peter feels very passionate about the Holyoke community and fears that a “tofu curtain” is diving Holyoke from areas such as Amherst and North Hampton. He uses this term to express the idea that many people in Amherst and Northampton are often afraid of leaving their comfort zones to venture into Holyoke, as it has a bad reputation. He feels as though many people around the area have associated Holyoke with a fear of getting robbed and a language barrier, but they have never given it a chance. It is stereotypes like these that hinder the growth of this reawakened city. Peter talked about a time where Holyoke was a rich city, filled with mansions, fine architecture, theaters, hotels, and mills owners. By the mid 1970s, the city had hit rock bottom, making the cover of Times Magazine as the most burning city in the nation—a time where tenants set their apartments on fire. In an attempt to rejuvenate the city, the Mall at Ingleside came to Holyoke in the early 1980s. Peter worked as a carpenter at the mall, which drew all attention away from local shops. Peter saw this as a detrimental effect on the area. Small businesses have now begun to reemerge again in the canal district, bringing the lost vibrancy back. Peter mentioned that the area is lacking in coffee shops and restaurants, which would make the area more desirable to outsiders. Consequently, he often has to travel to North/East Hampton for those conveniences. While living in the Valley, he has also learned to appreciate music, making it a part of his everyday life. Peter concluded that he is still happy to be living and working in Holyoke, after 27 years on Sargeant Street, and looks forward to the continuing evolution of a robust arts and business community in this city. He believes Holyoke has a chance to be fully revitalized because of its location on the canal and its inexpensive real estate, which make it a great area for entrepreneurs. He has full confidence that Holyoke is the new place to live/work because of its vital urban environment filled with people who care.

Industrial buildings along power canal feed by Connecticut River, Holyoke, MA

Industrial buildings along power canal fed by Connecticut River, Holyoke, MA.

Impact on Community—

Peter has worked with may local businesses in Amherst, North Hampton, and Holyoke. He has helped design the interior of Copy Cat, Cooly Dickinson Hospital, and many salons, restaurants, and bars in the area. He creates a wide range of custom requests including restaurant bars, hostess stations, cabinetry, doors, tables, and workspaces. In 2012, he designed computer tables for the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, a high-perfomance, energy-effecetint computing center, in Holyoke.


Peter’s art is about transformations and more importantly the intersection of nature and human use.


Sushi/Serving Trays

These trays use live edge boards left over from other projects, otherwise destined to be used as firewood. Initially, Peter intended to make a marketable and inexpensive item for customer use. It has evolved into a signature piece of his, each board one of a kind. They are signed, dated and list the town where the wood came from.

Gate 1

Peter is drawn to humble, pedestrian, inexpensive materials, often those materials that are part of his everyday life. Peter made this piece because he likes to watch leaves fall and change color, so he incorporated leaves into this piece. He is also drawn to wood and tree parts that others would ignore because they are imperfect, but that he finds very unique, challenging and special. Similarly, he incorporated rust into this piece, as rust is often associated with a failure in the creation of something, or a flaw in the design of something. By combining these materials that Peter felt a connection to into one piece, the whole work becomes appropriate, because of his connections to it, but also compelling. Peter hopes that others can find their way into work that they too connect with, which will help all people become better connected to the world around them.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 11.46.56 AM


The wall cabinets evolved from a series of jewelry boxes using book matched live edge slabs as doors. Peter claims that the wood literally came alive, spoke to him, and told him what it was or what to make out of it. These spalted maple slabs, found in Holyoke, looked like wings to Peter, so he decided to make a butterfly. The piece is named Mariposa, or butterfly in Spanish. Again, this piece is another example of Peter taking something from the natural world and transforming it into something for human use.


A look into Peter’s Workspace and Studio—




Contact Information—

Peter Dellert
174 Sargeant Street, Holyoke MA 01040
Phone: 413-534-5253

Interested in a studio visit?

Please contact Peter by visiting his website and filling out the provided contact form.