Katie Hall and Alex Kehoe met while completing the Bachelor of Design degree at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University in Halifax Nova Scotia.
Katie was raised in Mississauga, Ontario by two school teachers. Her parents' profession allowed them to spend their summers adventuring to their favourite destination - Nova Scotia. It was no surprise when the family moved to the east coast province in the early 2000s. Always interested in the arts, Katie’s hobbies ranged from water colours to dress making. She became actively involved in charities and community organizations through her art. Her application to NSCAD University after high school came as no great surprise.
Alex grew up in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. His youth was dedicated mostly to sports and outdoor activities encouraged by his parents, also both school teachers. Although he had always shown an interest in illustration and an appreciation for the arts, his talent in math directed his interest into engineering. The year after high school, Alex tested this choice by working for an engineering firm, finding it not quite the right fit, Alex decided on a year traveling in Europe instead. There he nurtured his passion for the arts and returned to attend NSCAD University.
Similar interests and families drew the pair close and they spent their last year of the degree discussing their next steps and futures. Alex began work for a playground design company. Here he could test his skills and learn new ones in design, drafting, 3D modelling, sales, metal work and small business practices. Katie wanted to continue her education and she loved the conceptual design education NSCAD provided, but had a desire to discover a more technical art. Her love of historical homes and problem solving lead her to study architecture at Dalhousie University in Halifax.
During the last few months of Katie’s second degree/ Alex’s third year at the playground company, the two began to discuss their next steps. The idea of studying furniture should have been obvious from the drawings in Alex’s sketch books and Katie’s distracted focus when studying architects on their chairs rather than homes. They bonded through the mutual need to create and produce with their hands. It took months of inward searching but once the idea came forward, furniture took over every discussion and bit of imagination the two had between them. It wasn’t long before it became necessary for a practical education in building.
The two attended a three month intensive course in fine furniture construction at the Centre for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine. This fast education sparked incredible passion in both artists. The pair found satisfaction in the creative expression and practical function needed to create high quality furniture.
A career in studio furniture is not an easy jump. Alex and Katie, unsure of where to begin, began saving by both moving in with their parents. Katie began collecting tools and working on her first pieces including twenty small ash tables for a local restaurant in Mahone Bay. Alex went back to his playground design job, but also began building mahogany entries and historic windows. All the while, the two researched Nova Scotia furniture makers, introducing themselves to different styles of woodworkers all over the province. Almost by chance the couple found a small home in Medford Nova Scotia in September 2015. The 1940’s, 750 square foot home with a detached two door garage flanked by a small mechanic’s business and a great deal of farm land. It may not have seemed special to most but for these two it was fate and it wasn’t long before it was theirs.
After nearly three months of renovating the small home and outfitting the garage into a shop the two were able to move in and begin their ideal life in a beautiful, artistic and hardworking community, a stone's throw from the beach. Urging their passion forward. Furniture Makers Hall and Kehoe.
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