We make a lot of handmade metal furniture here at Charleston Forge and we're proud of it. We’re inspired in part by the landscape here in the High Country of western North Carolina. Located in a high valley, surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, we can’t step outside the door or drive along the roads without being inspired by the textures of trees and mountain peaks older than we are. I can’t step outside without discovering beauty, people, and talents in this region. And I’ve lived here for 42 years. The High Country always, continually amazes me.
Take Friendswood Brooms for example. They turned broom-making into an art. Or, as they say on their Facebook page, each broom becomes a “unique piece of functional art.” In some of their pieces, it looks like art pulled right from the pages of Harry Potter. They’re just magical.
And they were made right here in North Carolina, in the young but history-filled United States of America.
Ralph Gates, a former NASA engineer, founded Friendswood Brooms in 1972. Prior to that move, he had learned Appalachian-style broom-making from an old mountain craftsman. When he left his position at NASA and relocated his family to Asheville, N.C., he took up those lessons and turned them into a business. Why? It certainly wasn’t for the money. It was for something far more valuable: family. “My new life,” he declared in an old National Enquirer article, “is centered around human values rather than materialistic values.” Decades later, even after Ralph’s passing, those values seem to be woven into every broom Friendswood Brooms make.
Broom maker Marlow Gates, left, with his late father and founder of Friendswood Brooms, Ralph Gates.
But we will. I’m excited to announce that Friendswood Brooms is coming to Charleston Forge. Watch our website as we get our online store populated with more details about purchasing one of their magical pieces from us. Don’t worry though. The brooms will have the same price whether you buy it from us or Friendswood Brooms. They’ll have the same lifetime guarantee, they’ll be made to be used, and they’ll be custom if you wish.
Either way, you have the chance to bring that little piece of North Carolina magic right to your home.
As always, thanks for reading,