[Ed. note: Evan Leggett is the son of one of our craftsmen, Dave Leggett. Evan is interning with us this summer on his summer break from Virginia Commonwealth University.]
My career at Hardwood Artisans started with a little get-together hosted by our founder Greg Gloor, showcasing his newly-built house and the furniture insider (manufactured by our company, of course). I had been introduced to many of the craftsmen through my dad, but never really had the chance to meet any of the brains behind the day-to-day operations. It was there that I met Alison Heath, the Marketing Director, and Mark Gatterdam, the jack-of-all-trades owner and designer.
After talking for awhile we came across the subject of my education. I’m a student at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Arts program. Last year I completed the Arts Foundation course, which is a crash course in creating and evaluating art. This first year course has little to do with the major you choose; it’s basically set up to weed out the people who don’t have what it takes. You choose your major at the end of the year. I chose graphic design.
During my talk with Alison and Mark, I told them all about my previous semester and what I had been doing. Near the end of the night, Alison told me to contact her at the end of my year to see if she would have anything that I could do for the summer. I had a few offers like this before, but none that I was so excited about pursuing. I sent her an email, and the rest is history!
This summer I will be working and apprenticing under Alison for two days a week and apprenticing under Greg Gloor for the other three, so I get exposure to both the business side of the operations as well as the furniture-building side.
Working here is like nothing I have ever experienced before; most people I know are terrified to use a saw that’s a quarter of the size of the ones we have here. Like all jobs it has its ups and downs, but its ups don’t get any higher and its downs are no where near as low as they could be. I enjoy what I’m doing and my only regret is that I know I’ll miss it when I’m sitting at a computer six days a week next year.