What others see as junk, Dana and Robert Mankin see beautiful furniture.
The couple has a sideline business making furniture out of items that others often discard.
Dana has been a nurse for 23 years and husband Robert has served as a firefighter for 28 years.
Dana’s love for crafts began when she was a little girl. Her mom would always encourage her and her sister with their sewing projects, making dolls, and forming creations out of ceramic. She carried this love of crafts into adulthood. After having a family of her own, she began artistically refurbishing items in their home. Sharing her interest with her family not only proved to be fun over the years, as they all got involved, but as her own children grew up, their creative side became resourceful.
“When our daughter Rileigh was in college and needed to furnish her first apartment we as a family built her a desk, bed and bookcase from reclaimed barn wood and fence boards,” Dana said.”Robert and Rileigh did the woodwork and I painted and distressed them. Afterwards, we made a coffee table for our son made from wine barrel slats that had a beautiful patina from the red wine.”
Soon friends were taking notice of the Mankins’ handiwork and began requesting items. So much so, that the Mankins have developed a side business, Jameson Vineyards Sawdust and Rust, to sell their handmade pieces.
“We never thought of selling our pieces until we were hounded by our friends,” Dana said.
Geared toward a rustic, industrial style the Mankins search out estates, garage sales, auctions, flea markets, salvage yards and even trash bins if need be for reclaimed material such as metal, wood, wine barrels, antiques and other salvaged pieces which they use to handcraft original furniture, art and decor for homes and gardens.
Giving new purpose and new life to otherwise dead items, the Mankins have created lights out of engine parts, floor lamps out of vintage surveyors tripods, a bar cart from a 1952 mechanics diagnostic machine in addition to tables, planters, garden balls and more.
Using their different gifts and talents, this hobby turned small business has truly become a family affair. Dana, the dreamer, enjoys the hunt and design of each project. While Robert, the realist, enjoys working with his hands to build projects such as his favorite, a console table made from reclaimed barn wood, fence boards and doors re-purposed from hood covers.
Their daughter Rileigh helps paint, handles the graphic design for the business cards as well as helps manage the growing business, while their son, Rob is in charge of publicity and social media. Dana’s parents are also actively involved as her father is the welder and loves to scavenger hunt for new material while Dana’s mom works diligently as a seamstress and upholsterer.
Dana and Robert, both strong in their faith believe what scripture teaches about God giving each of us the ability to do certain things well and they have seen this scripture in action as her family, all very different, work well together.
“This is something that has helped to bring all of us together,” Dana said.
Sharing this common interest has proven to be a blessing for Robert and Dana’s 28-year marriage as they continue to discover how their different God-given gifts complement one another and strengthens their relationship.
“We definitely encourage all couples to find something they can do together,” she said. “A common hobby or activity is important. Robert and I have definitely been blessed to be able to do this.”
To learn more about the Mankin family’s creative side visit, Jameson Vineyards Sawdust and Rust on Facebook or send email to Jvsawdustandrust@gmail.com.