Young, late 60’s, a war which I did not understand or believe in, frustrated in finding direction at the University, married and expecting our first child, I made a choice to offer service in a field not much considered at the time. I recall the phrase “One Man’s trash is another’s treasure” and began my pursuit of a livelihood in the repair and restoration of furniture. I read what I could find, learned through trial and error and listened to the bits and pieces of information offered by those who encouraged me.
I recall stopping in to our antique store called ‘Forest Farm Antiques’ and speaking to the owner, Gwen Wilcox. She smiled at my youth and optimism and suggested that I always remember to keep my fees modest, that I would always have work, if not an abundance of money, and sent me off with a chair to repair. Her council stuck, and over time I have learned that while there is much to have, what I have is enough.
Now, nearly 40 years later, looking back I see how these early experiences have influenced my choices and ethics.
I believe in the story of our history. Many things are wonderful wearing the years and collective story of time. Others want renewal in celebration of the variety craftsmen in small shops in every community. Function, craftsmanship, style and material continue to give value to our home environment. Family stories are passed on with reclining chairs, tables and chests. Each generation’s history is recorded and translated through the articles of function and value crafted through care and excellence. We each hope to leave memory and value to loved ones, at last to some degree in the care and passing on, of the “things” we have lived with.
Besides restoration, I have also had the opportunity to selectively create. I took a job creating a bank entryway in the 70’s. I was also commissioned to do the Salt Lake City & County Building historic restoration, which included many challenges. 20ft Conference tables, a 26ft desk in the council chambers, 11ft display cases, desks, chairs, book cases… all custom created and hand crafted. My original bid reminded me of words offered twenty years earlier, “Modest fees allow the work to come”.
Ten Years ago I moved from Salt Lake to the country, a very small town in Wayne Country, nearCapitol Reef National Park. Beautiful, high mountain desert, the air and water are clean. Each winter I see the deer return that I named last year. The perfect place for an artist.
I left my furniture trade for 6 years while I taught art at a small local boarding school for “at risk youth”. A truly wonderful opportunity for me to share with my student’s their discovery of the value and honesty in expressing themselves in the world of creativity.
Last year I returned to my craft and now, along with my refinishing, offer a select number of items for sale, and am available to consider customer orders.