Starting These Native Goods has granted me the opportunity to meet so many talented craftsmen/women. Not only that, but it has allowed me to witness their skill first hand. I have always been fascinated by the production process and getting to see the steps people take to create their works of art is an honor.
I was thrilled to visit the District Mills workshop recently, not only to see their finished pieces but to get a glimpse of how it all goes down. Designer Jeremy Williams is a self-taught woodworker who has been honing his skills for most of his life. He founded the company in the arts district of Los Angeles in 2009. They have since moved to Boyle Heights to an incredible space that is split up into a showroom, office, woodworking, welding and finishing/packing areas. Everything happens here, from pulling the nails out of reclaimed wood, to shipping off the finished pieces. His team of 10 cranks outs furniture, skateboards and some of the most incredible gaming tables I have ever seen.
Jeremy combines reclaimed and salvaged wood with welded metal to create the unique pieces District Mills is known for. The types of wood used include Oak, Ash, Alder, Beech and Walnut among others. All are domestically sourced and arrive at the workshop weathered and chock-full of old hardware. Completely unrecognizable once transformed by the woodworkers. The metal frames for the furniture are welded by a father and son team in house.
The combination of the natural, aged wood and the clean lines of the metal create rustic yet contemporary pieces. Being a big fan of all things old, I love that he is utilizing reclaimed wood, giving it new life. The pieces have a special charm, just like antique jewelry or vintage clothing. They have a story to tell, a past, yet they’ve been transformed into something completely new. The sustainability factor is a huge plus as well.
I could have stayed for hour’s just nerding out on all the cool tools and enjoying the smell of wood. Like the desert after the first rain there is something very comforting and intoxicating about the smell. However I would have definitely been in the way, this team is busy. The shuffleboards being one of their best sellers, they had at least five or six in the works the day I stopped by. It is inspiring to see local businesses doing so well. But with the quality of work they produce it is no wonder.
District Mills can be spotted throughout Los Angeles, with numerous restaurants around town included in their list of clients. Kush, Redbird and Barrel & Ashes, to name a few. Pieces are all made to order, please check out their website for available items and turn around times, link bellow. A big thank you to Jeremy and his team for having me.