My name is Anne Briggs Bohnett. I am 26, I am a missionary's kid and I've had the incredible privilege of traveling all over the world. When we weren't traipsing around the globe, our home was in Montana. It was there that I learned to love spending time in the outdoors, raising animals, gardening, working on cars, and doing everything I could for myself. My maternal grandfather, who lived through the depression and fought in WWII was one of the biggest influencers on my young life. He was a woodworker, and some of my first vivid childhood memories are sparked any time I smell freshly cut Cedar, and instantly, I'm at his work bench, straightening nails and watching him work. He was also a gardener and a fix-it-yourself-er. He saved, reused, and repurposed everything he possibly could. I always wanted to be just like him. He passed away when I was 12, but the things he taught me took root.
Nearly four years ago, after graduating from University and spending two years living in Asia, I moved to Seattle Washington where I married my college sweetheart. About that same time, in memory of the many lessons Grandpa Al taught me, I decided to take up woodworking again. I bought some basic tools and have since seen God's incredible favor upon that pursuit. My brother in law, who lives with my sister here in the Seattle area, spent much of that first winter and spring building projects with me and very patiently teaching me woodworking basics with an emphasis on the use of traditional woodworking techniques performed with hand tools. We have since gone very different directions with our woodwork, but I will always cherish those first few projects we did together and he got me forever hooked on the use of hand tools for building fine furniture.
Two years ago, I met another Grandfather figure who lives about 20 mins away from me and has picked up right where Grandpa Al left off. His name is Frank, he's 93 and sharp as a tack. He's taught me all kinds of woodworking lessons as well as how to rewire an outlet, put in an attic, build my own garden irrigation system, fix cars, work on small engines, bake pies... the list could go on and on. In his 93 years, he has never once called a repairman, and from the very outset, he has challenged me to learn to do any and everything I can myself. That concept has also really taken root in my life, and has given me motivation to learn not just the quickest way to get something done, but also to study how people have been doing things for hundreds of years, learn those methods, and try to carry on and preserve those traditions, be it farming, woodworking, metal working or... who knows?! The fact that there are literally endless skills to learn and preserve is incredibly exciting to me. I know I won't be able to learn every craft, and I'm well aware that to master any skill takes time, focus, and practice, so I've kept woodworking at the center of my focus, but am always dabbling in something new in my spare time.
Along the way I've met other complete strangers who have been insanely generous with tools, wood, and have connected me to others in the woodworking community in a way that can only be explained as miraculous. In August of 2014, after a lot of very positive feedback for my posts on the Social Media website Instagram, I decided to start a blog and begin selling antique tools and small pieces of woodwork as a side business. That same week I got a call from a friend I'd met on Instagram telling me he'd sponsor me to go to the annual Woodworking in America conference and gave me space in his booth. Another Instagram friend called up his buddy who is the editor of a woodworking magazine and convinced him to let me write an article reporting the goings on at WIA to cover my travel expenses. Because I was writing that article, I got a chance to sit down with several tool company big wigs who have since become close friends of mine and have since opened even more doors for me. What has followed has been a whirlwind of travel, article writing, and even more new relationships with movers and shakers in this industry. I was able to begin an educational project called the Community Tool Chest which has solidified my relationships with the makers of some of the finest woodworking tools available in today's market, I've been hired as a regular writer for the magazine Furniture and Cabinetmaking, I've had articles published by Lee Valley, and I'm now a regular blogger for the website Craftsy.com as well. It has been a crazy fall filled with many dreams come true and many undeserved opportunities given, but hey, I'm just in the passenger seat, and I'm incredibly excited to see where God is taking me.
My husband and I are currently in the process of purchasing a four acre farm where we will be able to continue along the path of living more sustainably, becoming more connected to our food sources, being more productive and active members of our community, and, of course, it doesn't hurt that the property also has a 1000 sq ft woodworking shop! I am very excited about this next chapter, whatever it may hold. I'm hoping it holds lots of hours to practice my woodworking craft, more incredible relationships, many baby animals, and lots of summer sunshine to grow as much of our own food as possible.