Ben Forgey:

In his own words…

“It was either the Peace Corps or build chairs…

I was 26, alone in the New Mexico desert, far from friends and family, broke and finding out exactly what a BA in liberal arts was worth. It was 1991, I had a lot of time to explore the arroyo next to my two room adobe and to walk down to the Rio Grande not far from there. On those walks I began picking up interesting roots and sticks and would bring them back to the yard. It wasn’t long before I was nailing them together; first a little side table, then a rudimentary couch and finally a chair. “It looks like an old grandmother”, someone told me at the Santa Fe Flea market later, and also “Boy, those chairs are gonna make you famous”. Maybe the fourth time out, a picker for an Italian company came by my stand and ordered five tables, five benches and 15 chairs. I went from nothing to Milan in the space of three months.

So it’s been 21 years. I’ve probably made 2000 chairs, furnished seven restaurants, a Pueblo library, graced a hundred Italian magazines and sold to umpteen Hollywood stars. This career chose me and I followed it and have given it every inch of my being. I think about doing something else from time to time, especially when nothing’s selling, but that only lasts a day or so. Then I’m back out in the shop and the phone rings — or now I get an email from Etsy and I’m making the next great thing.”