My name is Dan Brown, and my shop is Meriwether of Montana. I make a variety of eclectic and inspired wooden goods for the home and field.
I’ve always been passionate about design, and I worked for many years as a graphic designer. Over time, I eventually realized that I longed to create designs that I could actually touch, hold and use. I decided to give up graphic design and begin making things for the real world.
Most makers focus on a very specific product or niche. I make everything from handcrafted axes to home furnishings to designs for the kitchen and bath. My only rule is that what I make be both an item of function and of enduring beauty, and of course be made of wood. This allows me to cast a very wide net. My products appeal to both men and women and to people from all walks of life – from interior designers to hunters and fishermen.
My design process is best described as patient and thought-out. Creating designs that are both functional and beautiful means that you can’t just shoot from the hip. How does an item feel in your hand? Is it functional? Does it have a purpose? Can it serve as a design element in my home when not being used? All of these questions come into play and are an important part of the process.
Owning a creative business has changed me in so many ways. I am always challenging myself to come up with new ideas. It is so important to keep everything fresh and always be pushing for new designs. I just love that! It never gets boring because there is always some new design to build and shoot and promote. Every day is different, and there is certainly no dull routine.
Being a craftsman and an artisan has become a way of life for me and my family. We live in a remote area high up in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana, where there really are not many jobs. Our livelihood depends on my ability to create unique products that are executed with superior craftsmanship. It’s an amazingly fun, rewarding and challenging way of life. Being a self-sustaining artisan provides me with a lifestyle that allows me to spend time with my children, and it gives me the flexibility to spend time in the woods.
All photographs by Meriwether of Montana.