January 4, 2014

Dwelling’s “LOCAL Maker’s Series” in Charleston, South Carolina

Photograph by Sea Star Arts Photography

At the One of a Kind Show and Sale 2013, I finally met Katie and Joseph of Joseph Thompson Woodworks. Katie also designs and produces “naturally-inspired jewelry.” They shared news of their appearance, which includes a sampling of their work, at a debut event called LOCAL Maker’s Series, launched and hosted by furniture and interiors store Dwelling in their retail space (above). Here, the store’s co-owner Leigh Meadows-McAlpin shared her thoughts on her business’ taking pride in the local creative community:

What sparked the idea of Dwelling’s series
LOCAL Maker’s Series?
Dwelling is based in Charleston, South Carolina, whose history of art, architecture, and design serve as a constant source of inspiration. From its earliest days, Charleston has been home to notable furniture makers. In honor of the works of Charleston’s historic artisans, Dwelling is interested in highlighting the skill and expertise of the area’s current field of master-furniture craftspeople.

Wall Piece by Joseph Thompson Woodworks. Photograph courtesy of Dwelling

How did you discover local woodwork makers
Kate and Joseph Thompson?
When our paths first crossed several years ago, I clearly remembered how enthusiastic both Joseph and Katie were about their work—they honestly enjoy what they do, and that emotion is contagious. Part of the thought behind this series is to put these artisans, and the stories behind their work, in front of customers who can appreciate them. The experience of bringing a hand-crafted, heirloom-quality piece of furniture into your home is unlike any other, and that special piece—be it a table, a dining chair, or a bench—will always carry with it the story of how you came to own it, who made it, and what materials it’s made from, and the unique ways that it serves your family’s needs.

Bringing visibility to local builders and craftspeople 
is a welcomed pattern. What are your thoughts on the craft scene and community in Charleston and South Carolina-at-large?
As a community, Charleston is generally very supportive of the “local” movement, so to speak. But while much attention and support has been given to our local artists, architecture, food, farms, and fashion, not too much interest has been shown in our local furniture craftspeople. As a custom furniture and interiors retailer, we felt that we could make a difference by spotlighting this talented group of skilled artisans.

“The Perch” by Joseph Thompson Woodworks. Photograph courtesy of Dwelling

What makes Charleston and South Carolina-at-large special
for creativity and making?
Charleston is simply a hub of creative types—there’s just a wealth of talent represented in such a variety of fields. Yet it’s still a relatively small community, so we all know each other, inspire each other, and celebrate each other’s successes.

Any future plans for series LOCAL Maker’s Series?
The LOCAL Maker’s Series will run throughout the year, with a rotation of works from the various local furniture craftspeople and women. We will unveil each featured craftsperson as the series progresses.

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Quote’s typeface is Bodoni, originally designed by Giambattista Bodoni in 1798.

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Related: Read the Designer’s Quest(ionnaire) with Katie and Joseph of Joseph Thompson Woodworks.

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