Ten years ago, if you had asked Joey Thompson what he would be doing in 2015, he might have responded by telling you he would be a lawyer. “Furniture making is something that I started doing to pay for college. I realized that my knack was definitely with wood and not what I was going to school for, but definitely with wood. I was an English major; pre-law.” Joey says.
Joey started working with wood over ten years ago in his uncle’s cabinet shop. “The cabinet shop was a good background but I started taking an interest in design and construction of other pieces. I spent many hours at the public library reading theories and philosophies on furniture and design. An employee at the cabinet shop got me hooked up with Chris Gochnour, a local legend among Utah’s furniture makers.”
Joey took a class at Salt Lake Community College from Chris, who acted as a mentor and pushed Joey to get a job with a local shop called Old World Antiques. “They are one of the better production shops in town. I got a lot of experience from them and after I left, the owner helped me get my start.”
The first shop Jay opened was out a garage. “It was a small space, probably only 12 x 20 ft. I worked out of there for a couple of years.” From there he and his brother shared a shop on 200 west. The need for more space prompted Jay to move again. “The new location is a big improvement as far as space goes, we are excited for the possibilities. In the beginning furniture making was a creative outlet and was just more fulfilling than anything else I could do. I believe in good, honest hard work, it’s a philosophy I live my life by.”
J. Thompson Workshop seems to operate on a if you can dream it we can build it attitude, However, Joey’s personal favorite project is to build a good chair. “That’s therapy to me” Joey says with a grin. “There’s just something about the delicate balance between strength and durability and comfort. The possibilities of design are endless with a chair.”
J. Thompson Workshop is located at 1209 Major Street Salt Lake City, Utah 801 783-7853.