I was born 41 years ago in Upstate New York, where I lived out in the sticks on and around the

dairy farms where my father chose to center his life.  I treasure many memories of a childhood

spent in these beautiful yet challenging settings: roaming around in the haylofts of old barns

was a treat; getting up to milk cows in the morning was not.


When I left home, I had the good luck to stumble into the welcoming arms of Vassar College,

a well-known stronghold of smart, progressive people in the Hudson River Valley.  I often felt

like the dumbest guy there- the density of talent and ability was intimidating, to say the least-

but I had a heck of a good time and began to figure out a lot more about who I did and didn't want

to be when I grew up.  A year-long exchange program in Lausanne, Switzerland provided the

quintessential opportunity of a lifetime, and I look back very fondly on those days.  It feels like a

long time ago. 

 

After college, I had a number of different jobs, as many of us do.  I had entertained visions of

being a schoolteacher for a while, and had attained certification from the New York State Board

of Education to do so- this qualified me (on paper, at least) to spend the next couple of years

teaching preschool.  I loved it, and I think I was good at it, but I gradually sensed that it wasn't

going to be my life's work, and I identified a strong desire for a more creative career.  I worked

for a time as the low-man-on-the-totem-pole for a local homebuilder, which mostly meant that I

carried heavy things around so that more experienced people didn't have to, and while this didn't

thrill me (ever spend a day carrying 100 pound bundles of shingles onto a 3-story roof in 105

degree weather?  I sincerely hope you never do), it did somehow turn me on to the joy of working

with my hands.  Not long afterward, I began to dabble in woodworking, and much to my surprise,

I woke up one day with the difficult realization that I yearned to do it full-time, despite the fact

that this was theoretically a horrible idea.  I was broke, inexperienced, and generally clueless, but

at least I was young and energetic. 

 

With $200 to my name, I traded my mountain bike for a tablesaw, located shop space, and

proceeded to make every mistake in the book.  I'm pretty sure that I even invented a few new

ones that nobody else had ever made before.  The first couple of years were pure trial and error.

 Seventy-hour weeks where I might've cleared $100.  But throughout it all, I kept going, and the

tide eventually began to turn.  Once I had paid enough dues in the shop, I was able to start

making things that I could be proud of.  I have learned a great deal in the seventeen years since.


Although I never wanted to leave Ithaca, New York, I ended up moving around the country in

support of my wife's academic career.  As is often the case, these unplanned life changes worked

out far better than I could have imagined.  A 4-year stint in Madison, Wisconsin was lovely, and

then an unexpected relocation to Salt Lake City, Utah turned out to be one of the best moves I've

ever made.  We're here to stay- it has been over eleven years now- and we love it.  I have a

wonderful wife and a beautiful six-year old daughter, and I get to spend my working hours

imagining and building.  In my free time, I ski, mountain bike, and play fiddle and banjo with the

Bueno Avenue Stringband. 

 

Life is good.  Very, very good. 

 

Christopher Gleason 

 

September 2014