I’ve written several blog posts about the rewards of chasing one’s dreams despite rejection and other hurdles. Today I had the pleasure of meeting with a man who followed his dream around the globe and then returned to his hometown in Connecticut, where he is now enjoying great success. Speaking with someone who truly loves what they do always inspires and encourages me to continue pursuing my own goals.
Thomas Throop, of Black Creek Designs LLC, is an award-winning furniture designer and maker driven by a romantic vision. In his own words, he has stated, “I came to design furniture through the making process. Wood, a material of great character, depth and warmth, drove my curiosity. It was the romance that got me. Laboring in a dimly lit shop with the intoxicating smells of freshly cut walnut wafting through the air, creating objects of sheer beauty and function that will be set out in the world and revered by their owners and their posterity. The romance still sustains me to this day even if the reality is somewhat different and more complex.”
I honestly don’t think I could have invented a more perfect resource to help me develop my newest hero, Hank, who is a finish carpenter with dreams of striking out on his own to design and build one-off furniture if only he can find the resources.
Tom generously donated more than an hour of his time this morning to talk about his background, training, and current business operations. He introduced me to sliding table saws, calipers, and incanal gouges, taught me a little bit about various grades of wood, and gave me some homework (reading materials written by the top three names in hand-crafted furniture design).
While all of the factual details will certainly help me build an authentic picture of Hank’s craft and the obstacles he must overcome to succeed, I’m equally excited about the less tangible information I received through the stories relayed to me today. Each bit of information, insight, and artistic vision will help me create a genuinely likable, layered hero who has an earthy spirit and true passion for his art.
Moreover, I’ve gained such a better appreciation for the time and attention to detail that goes into any piece of handcrafted furniture. I told Tom I hoped to eventually sell enough books to justify commissioning a writing desk, so I’d better get back to work! In the meantime, if you are in the market for unique, handmade furniture, please check out his website, which contains a portfolio gallery (I borrowed a photo from his site of that lovely writing desk above), bio, video interview, and impressive list of credentials.
Have a great weekend!