Editor’s note: On Sunday evening, August 4, 2019, the day before this story appeared in Bloom Magazine, Vicki and Lance Munn’s studio was destroyed by fire, and along with it their entire inventory. The studio was not covered by insurance. A GoFundMe has been created to help offset some of the cost of rebuilding, with an initial goal of $5,000. Here is the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/vicki-and-lance-munn-tragedy-relief-fund.
by OLIVIA DORFMAN
Vicki and Lance Munn make art furniture—functional objects of beauty designed to be timeless—under the name VicLan. “We decided we wanted a legacy statement, like an heirloom, as opposed to being trendy,” Vicki explains. “We sign and date everything we make.”
The Munns met in 1971 at an Army PX (Post Exchange) in Manhattan, Kansas. Vicki, from a military family, was working at the photo counter; Lance was a soldier. That same year, they married, Lance got out of the service, and they moved to Indianapolis. Lance, now 71, graduated from Purdue University with a degree in biology. Vicki, now 69, graduated from Kansas State University majoring in political science.
Neither wanted an ordinary job. Their first business was tilling gardens. “We bought an old truck and cleaned up yards,” Vicki says. Then they turned to woodworking. “Lance was always good with his hands,” Vicki notes.
In 1979, they bought a 50-acre farm south of Bloomfield, Indiana, in Greene County, and began making hand-crafted furniture.
Their work features Indiana homegrown woods—curly maple, cherry, and walnut—sourced from a mill in central Indiana.
The designs are collaborative, and both Lance and Vicki do the milling and machining. Vicki specializes in finishes. Water-based dyes bring out the wood grain in a palette of red, yellow-orange, olive, and “smoke” (gray). Pieces are finished with water-resistant, kitchen-grade varnish. The Munns even craft their own drawer pulls.
VicLan currently offers 20 products, including small containers for Japanese ikebana (flower arranging). One large cabinet is particularly versatile. “We’ve sold that cabinet for every room in the house—kitchen, office, bedroom, bathroom,” Vicki says. “We affectionately call it Big Red, though Takayo Cabinet is its formal name.”
While their work in shown at 10 craft fairs around the country, the Fourth Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts (see story page 50) is VicLan’s only show in Indiana. You can also buy the Munns’ work at their website, viclan.com.