There is a time in every persons life where you find yourself at a crossroad. To go left or to go right or to simply keep moving forward… I suppose you would call that a fork in the road. Where inspiration is dull and the world around you seems grey. It isn’t hopelessness but it also isn’t the sight of hope. A time that complacency and stagnation are at its peek. It was 11 years ago I found myself stuck in this uncomfortable grey area of my life. But it seems to me that in those moments we have a choice – To stay there alone or to reach out for inspiration and find our own hope. We always have that choice regardless of our situations, regardless of our feelings, we can always choose hope. We can always choose to surround ourselves with people who lift us up, inspire us and move us.
It was 11 years ago that I met someone that would change my life for the better and get me moving one foot in front of the other. All the stars aligned on the day I met Chris Ploof (Chris Ploof Designs) and I couldn’t be more thankful for that day. It was at a trunk show at the Don Muller Gallery (now Beryl) in Northampton, MA. You know those unforgettable moments in your life where you meet someone and you just know you’ll have each other forever? That was that moment … at least for me! I looked at his designs and I saw his visions come to life. I felt his soul through every piece. I understood that feeling because I had felt it in my own life before. I was inspired… Awe shockingly inspired.
Chris and I became fast friends. His ability to embrace people exactly where they are at, instantly draws you in. Our love of design and good beer was the immediate start of our new friendship. As the years have passed I have found myself looking to Chris not only as a friend but as a mentor. Someone I can trust to pull me back in and push me back out into the right direction. We are a team in many senses of the word as well. I love incorporating our modern look with his shotgun barrel designs and our famous Sholdt fern finish accents his Mokume Gane. Chris may have a “safe zone” but I haven’t found it yet! He pushes the envelope with materials and his designs are fearless. He inspires me to go beyond what was and look forward to what is and what could be. I think back 11 years ago at who I was and how far I have come as an individual and how far Sholdt has come as a business; and I cannot imagine being who I am today or having Sholdt be what it is today without the love, friendship and guidance of Chris Ploof.
There is something to be said about holding onto your light and allowing others to grab hold of it. You never know when someone else needs it more than you do and how it can change the course of their life.
So never stop shining, always aspire to inspire, and when you get to that fork… Keep moving forward, because it is there you may find your very own — Chris Ploof.
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