A couple of years ago, Robin Matthews decided to come back to the Shoals, bringing with him his wife and a landscape business as well. One thing he didn’t bring was much furniture, and so he thought he would just make some himself.
Now this might not turn out so well for many of us, but for Matthews it was a different story.
He discovered he was actually good at making wood furniture that was modern and natural, and he worked hard to make it into an art.
He says that it is “still a hobby” but is putting quite a bit of time into his unique furniture and has even made some money doing it.
To him, this art form is “bringing nature’s beauty inside”, he believes it is sustainable, good for the environment and allows people to make the products at home.
Unlike some of us, he has many talents, and has been doing something creative his entire life. This is different, though, because it started with just a simple home remodel and turned into something he really loves and takes seriously.
He didn’t start working with wood until the ripe old of 49, so that means there is still time for the rest of us to find our creative wings too.
He says he is just doing what he loves to do and “fortunately a few people like it”, and he is truly and inspiration to the rest of us.
Matthews likes to find the wood locally for his creations. He finds wood at local charities which have cut down trees and need to get rid of them. To pay them back he usually donates furniture he made from the tree.
His partner, Robin Wade, just finished a piece that came from wood of a tree that had fallen after a tornado. He is going to sell that at a New York auction, and I imagine it will bring a pretty penny.
For both Matthews and Wade the main goal is to be sustainable. Many times the wood has cracks or rot, and would be just thrown out by a large manufacture. These defects make the furniture unique and beautiful.
It also keeps the forests healthy because not as many trees need to be cut down. In other words, this is furniture that will last several generations.
Using the wood they find, means low overhead and better prices, because usually the wood is free to them. A rotten termite eaten piece of wood that the rest of us wood quickly throw out becomes a stunning work of art.
It is not just beautiful to look at, though, because each piece is very practical and useable too.
So the next time you see a piece of rotting wood think of Matthews and Wade and remember the beautiful gifts they are giving the world!