Tradespeople and craftsmen have been central characters in my life for as long as I can remember. My father was an architect in Buffalo, New York, and there were always engineers, masons, carpenters and cabinetmakers in our home. On weekends, we would often be on a job site to survey a new project, or evaluate the progress of an existing build, so learning how to properly build and remodel seemed to happen naturally. Not realizing it at the time, this exposure helped me develop a strong foundation in design.
Although I always expected to become a craftsman, my father encouraged me to learn a profession, mostly because the economy was so poor in the late 1970’s. After researching a few career paths, I pursued a Pharmacy degree, after my neighbor advised me there would always be a need for good pharmacists in many areas of clinical care. The prospect of job security appealed to me, and after graduating from pharmacy school I was a licensed pharmacist from 1980 until 1997.
Pharmacy was a wonderful experience for seventeen years, but woodworking remained my true passion. When not reading about woodworking in my leisure time, I would build small furniture pieces or repair antique furniture for friends and family.
In 1997, the opportunity to align my passion with my livelihood presented itself, and I made the leap of faith to make woodworking my full-time profession. Learning resources were scarce, and “reading it then doing it,” over and over until it came out right was a slow way to learn. But it was very effective practice: Trying (and failing) until you master a skill is time-consuming, but it’s the only way to become a true craftsman.
Besides the joy of making and repairing beautiful things, the relationships I develop with my clients are very special. It’s always fascinating to learn about family treasures, and taking great care in the restoration of a special piece, for future generations to enjoy, is a true privilege.
Historically, the local cabinetmakers were an important part of a community, as they were responsible for building and caring for cradles, chairs, tables, beds – and even funeral caskets. It is my one of my personal goals to help return us to this sense of community, and away from our current big box/high volume model, where neither the salesperson, operations personnel, nor delivery team typically have any emotional investment or ownership in a quality piece of furniture.
In contrast, as a local business owner, I am personally engaged with my clients from the first phone call to the final delivery, and the subsequent repair and maintenance of any other pieces in their home.
Besides my family, this ability to create and restore beauty, and to interact with those who appreciate it, makes life a true blessing.