The Wood Guys

Joel Hunnicutt and Brian Bortz, Artists in wood from Michelle Johnson on Vimeo.

Christine and I have been criss-crossing the Piedmont and Western North Carolina for the last several months, dropping in on some of the most amazing, creative and inspiring folks we’ve ever met. I’m happy that you are able to meet them, too, through this project for Piedmont Craftsmen. It’s one of the first — and maybe the first — professional crafts guilds in the Southeast, and it’s been going strong in Winston-Salem for almost 50 years.

Brian Bortz left the corporate world in the mid-90s to strike out on his own as a maker of fine furniture. Joel Hunnicutt ventured full-time into his work making his spectacular turned wood vessels after selling his insurance agency in Siler City. We quizzed them a lot on how their experience in the business world informs their work now.

We always come away from these visits with beautiful footage, great stories, and — for me, at least — important lessons about how to take calculated risks, how to plan your work (and work your plan), how to keep from freaking out in the lean times, and how to keep your sanity when the deadlines loom and things go wrong.