In Search of Old Wood

When you make furniture from salvaged wood you need a good supply. Marc got his stash by tearing down old buildings in the Mississippi Delta in the 80s. The reclaimed cypress has character…gorgeous grains, circular sawmarks, nail holes, textured edges, and age. If Marc needs to re-stock he can’t go to a big box store. He’s got to battle bees, snakes, poison ivy, and rusty nails to take down an old barn. It’s more work than you might think. What looks like a lot of lumber on a building turns out to be a thin skin around a whole lot of air. Take a look at our movie for two minutes of barnwood fun. 

That old barn would've been nothing but a scrap heap in the field, but now it's found new life as furniture in people's homes. Marc transformed the barn wood into tables, bookcases, cabinets, picture frames, a wine safe, and more. Here's a look at some of what that barn became. If you want in on the fun, holler and he'll make something just for you. It's what we do.

You Gotta Start Somewhere

Years ago Marc and I had regular jobs. He worked on tow boats, in refineries, supervised in a cookie-baking factory, managed at a meat-packing plant, and worked for minimum wage on night shift in a bubblegum factory. I've worked at a wilderness school, in a nursing home, in a post office, in a newspaper office, and on magazines. Interesting ways to make a living, yes, but who wouldn't rather work for themselves? Make their own stuff?

First you've got to figure out what you love and find time to explore it on the side. For me, it was making photos. I worked in darkrooms, took a class, experimented with different techniques. For Marc it was making furniture so he began making primitive pieces for his own home.

Then, at some point, you've got to make the leap. Marc cashed in his savings, bought up all the old buildings and used lumber he could find in the Delta, and spent years salvaging rare material. I left my magazine job in New Hampshire and headed South to freelance and write a novel.

There was no telling what would happen...but great things did. Marc came to the reading I gave from The Book of Love. One week later we bought a house together in Taylor, a little artist community outside of the college town of Oxford, Mississippi. Then we started having art shows. I learned to paint. We bought a gallery and, well, the rest is history...or our story anyway and it's a good one. What your story will be is up to you. All I can say is...if we can do it, you can, too. 

 

If you were an art farmer, like us, you'd wake up in your little cabin with the rooster crowing and drink coffee in bed while the cars passed by on their way to regular jobs. You'd eat fresh eggs from your chickens and homemade bread from your oven and run the dog up a country road past horses and cows and goats. Your "job" would be to paint and make jewelry in your studio in an old house at the crossroads of a little town while your husband made furniture from salvaged wood in his workshop out back. Cool people from all over the world would visit, buy your things, and make you part of their homes. You wouldn't be rich in money, perhaps, but you'd be rich. So how do you make that happen? Well, you gotta start somewhere.