Last year during COVID-19 shutdowns, Daniel Island’s Hannah Robinson found her passion — working with wood. The self-taught carpenter took a leap of faith and opened Mountain Belle Creations, a business specializing in live edge carpentry.
The business has already expanded into a larger space in Charleston. Her start-up success story is one of not only surviving the pandemic, but thriving in a typically male-dominated field.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 15 years and restarted from scratch many times, so I’ve learned from numerous mistakes and successes. Failure is just a stepping stone to something greater.”
Before returning to Daniel Island to raise her two sons, Huck and Torrin, Robinson lived overseas and owned a bed and breakfast. The single mom is already teaching her boys the tricks of her trade.
From fireplace mantles to dining room tables, all of her creations are locally and sustainably sourced. Constructed with ancient carpentry techniques, the end products are one-of-a-kind creations. Robinson is intimately connected to the pieces she creates. Each piece is a labor of love sometimes taking more than a year to finish.
For Robinson woodworking is more than a job, and her creations are more than furniture. Her high end works of art use the highest quality dried wood. “What I do is save the trees we’re mulching by the city blocks and creating masterpiece furniture that will be handed down for generations. Each piece cannot be replicated, not even by me. I responsibly source the trees myself and oversee the entire process by myself.”
Always one to give back, Robinson is eager to share her knowledge with others. “Recently I’ve taken on a few female apprentices, as I believe these valuable trades need to be preserved. I will do workshops for the community featuring different levels of carpentry.
It’s important that dying trades are available to anyone that wants to learn.”
Robinson plans to open a specialized trade school for highly skilled craftsmanship. She hopes it will inspire others to keep classic trades — from blacksmithing to traditional carpentry — alive.
This year, Robinson crafted a Camellia River table to honor her mother and grandmother. “They were crucial to my upbringing, such sweet and kind souls. My fierce personality was not easy to raise and I appreciate their soft influence in my life. I hand chiseled and softened each section just as a mother shapes her children with loving direction, honing and refining until they’re finally ready to let them fly the coop.”
Robinson’s mother played an important role in allowing her to carve out her own path. “The wisdom of a mother is to recognize how to mold according to each child’s personality. My mother was exceptionally wise in letting my wild heart soar and not holding me back. She knew I could not fit inside of any boxes, so she let me make my own destiny. For that, I’m eternally grateful.”
To find out more about Mountain Belle Creations, go to charlestonliveedgewood.com.
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