We all like to think there’s that one book that changed our lives. I am no exception. Maybe it’s just your favorite book, but it sounds better to call it “the book that changed the way I saw the world.”
That book for me was Cannery Row by John Steinbeck (featured in the photo above). I’m not quite sure why I picked up Cannery Row that summer before my freshman year of college. It was probably so I could sound smart having read an obscure Steinbeck novel, impressing only the worst kind of person.
Nonetheless, this book knocked my socks off. It’s just a story about everyday life. The ups and downs. The successes and failures. The intentions and outcomes. I’m not here to give you a book report, but I just want to share the first paragraph of the book:
Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, “whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches,” by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, “Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,” and he would have meant the same thing.
Pardon the language, take it up with Mr. Steinbeck. Makes ya think though, huh?
Now what about the “Camp” in Cannery Camp? I’ll be honest, there’s no backstory to this one. Frankly, I just thought it sounded cool. The alliteration is nice.
If I were forced to assign meaning to the “Camp” in Cannery Camp. I would say it probably stems from the romantic ideal of the campfire. I’ve never even been camping in my life, but I have sat around enough fire pits to maybe get the gist of what a campfire is like. The moments around a fire represent a lot of what is pure in our daily lives: stories, songs, banter, laughter, cold beer, etc. These are a lot of the same qualities that make for a warm home.
Back to the question at hand, “what’s in the name?” I guess for us the name is who we aspire to be as a brand. Our work is rooted in a deep personal want to practice the art of woodworking and craftsmanship. We woodwork because we need to, it’s in our blood.
That said, we have big plans to extend this brand far beyond furniture. We really believe in doing our part to continue to revive the American craftsmanship tradition. The cool thing is, craftsmanship disguises itself in many ways: art, music, apparel, brewing, the list goes on and on. Maybe one day we can be the brand that unites them all. In the meantime, we work with our hands, and we build things - that’s enough for us.
So what is Cannery Camp? For us its everything - “a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.”
Take it easy,