john wesley williams
Tell us about your business.Like my mentor, Thoreau, I wanted to live life simply and purposely, and that seemed to rule out working for someone else, so I picked a craft, went through a program, and have spent my life perfecting my furniture design and construction skills. Wood has to be touched,so I sought designs that amplified this tactile quality, while adhering to the highest quality of craftsmanship. work this accomplished requires an equally enduring design. The surfaces are sculpted in a scalloping technique. Drawers are hand dovetailed and case pieces are assembled with mortice and tenon. If there is a better and more time consuming way of doing the work, thats the way I do it. The icing is a finish that is part of the piece and does not inhibit the tactile nature of the wood. The simple opening and closing of a drawer is a delight This is not a business that evolves, but is driven by me to always start each day with a sense of adventure and humor.
What makes your business stand out?There is no compromise in craftsmanship, or simplification to accommodate economic conditions. While I can build anything, I do not. I build my thing. I am the craftsman, the designer, and the sweeper up afterwards. I built my reputation by schlepping my furniture from one art show to another across the country. You cannot develop your skills by staying in your studio and hoping someone finds you. I took my work out to the people with signs on each piece that said " Please touch." Even those rain soaked weekend exhibits simple added credibility to the exacting standards of craftsmanship I have held myself up to.
What's the best business advice you've received?I have a sign in my shop that I lifted from a letter written by henry David Thoreau shortly before his death, and I quote: " we are all shopkeepers and in the windows of our shops should be the same sign, My destiny made and mended here."
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