I can guess why early Spring is so amazing - is it the newness of life, that thawing of winter and the arrival of the much needed warmth, sun and vegetation? Or is something bigger happening? I don't know, but it will always be a vibrant awakening from dormancy in our household. Consequently, early spring is when Lee and I got married and is the season immediately following the making "official" of Heartwood Forge on Valentines Day back in 2013...
Fast forward to now... It has been a long winter, spent primarily alone in Georgia as I awaited the imminent relocation to TN (my lovely wife took a job as director of the Mountain Harvest Kitchen in beautiful Unicoi, TN). The ever-looming, never-ending, ever-expensive new shop build took forever and a day it seems, as we fell in love with an old small bungalow on Main Street with no shop but plenty of space for one. I naively took our contractor's word that it would take a month... 8 months later... I spent the better half of 2017 at the old shop outside of Athens, GA chomping at the bit to move on with my life, move in with my wife and get to work in the new location. Roots are big for me and the sooner I get transplanted the better off I am... I was anxious and ready and despite the shop not being any where near finished, I moved up just before Christmas and had plenty of cold wet nastiness awaiting me in Tennessee. It was a hard winter but it's great to be back in the same place as my wife and dogs.
Without boring you too much, it's too bad someone as talented as Lee couldn't find satisfying work in a great town like Athens, GA - despite having a Masters degree, it was the restaurant world or nothing for a food scientist. Like all major life events, the relocation was a blessing in disguise as we settled upon a great little community, Jonesborough, TN - the oldest city in the whole state and we're just an hour north of Asheville. The country is beautiful, full of rolling hills that transform into the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The people are great too, we're surrounded by a small town that is focused on community, craft, food, farming and neighbors - it's a big change from our secluded piece of heaven in Jefferson, GA but it's a great change. At any given minute I am surrounded by talented folks who are ready to drop what they're doing and give me a hand.
It also happens that a quarter mile down the road toward town (we live on Main Street) is the shop of Curtis Buchanan - the world famous chair maker who my dad studied with in 1992. He's a philosophical force and turning into a great friend. It's a full circle feeling of knowing my own father better by befriending a man I heard about so often from my father growing up. More on that later.
The new shop is finally done. While any creative space is always a work in progress, for all intensive purposes, it's done. I have my speakers in there and all my shop equipment in. Give me 5 more years and it will be even more complete, but Spring is here, the shop is done and it's time for the annual spring chefs knife giveaway. Read more about that on an upcoming post.
The shop was designed by my good friend Alex, former college roommate and childhood bud from Tallahassee. He's now an architect/designer/builder in Yellow Springs, OH, but he came down one weekend to help me flesh out the idea of the new space. Check his company out if you are into well built homes and unique, thoughtful designs of spaces.