My brother Brad, like our mother, took to finishing wood with natural ability and passion. Mom finished the interior of our big old Pottstown home herself, and taught then adolescent Brad how to prepare and paint woodwork and furniture, using the same local Coach & Four brand’s rich shellacs and paints she had used on the house. While that whole world passed me by, Brad was hooked; and, I could tell when he looked at a piece of wood furniture or even a forgotten plank of hardwood somewhere, he saw a secret potential in it, invisible to others.
When we got older, I moved away for many years. But, every visit included conversation about the latest of Brad’s many wood projects. I remember him going on once about the design of a wet-bar he was making for a friend at work. His passion was obvious as he described the piece in detail that could only enthrall another artisan. I was always proud and happy to see him like that.
The quiet growth of Brad’s craft ran alongside that of his family and professional career; and, I was not surprised when I heard his son Colin was going to study woodcraft in College. By then, Brad had built a barn to house his wood shop; and, I remember talking of the future workspace, while we hung the new building’s rafters together in the hot Coventry area sun. His face lit up as he spoke of his vision for it. “I’ll be able to make ANTHING in there!” he would say.
When Colin returned from College to the reality of every working-age man, father-and-son designed an elegant solution. Frogtowne Artisan Creations would offer a local outlet for their fine wood furniture, and would someday help secure a living for Colin. I remember Frogtowne’s grand opening, right before Christmas, 2011. Housed in what was once a grocery store, across from St. Peters Village, the new shop’s atmosphere was so cozy; its quaintly decorated shelves brimmed with a variety of home décor, accessories, and gift items from artisan-manufacturers all over Chester and Montgomery counties.
As Colin carries this new Macy furniture making tradition into the next generation, he wears his passion for the craft on his sleeve, like his father. It shows in his attention to the finest details of his work; and, his pieces glow with the love poured over them that only an artist’s works enjoy. I recall one summer afternoon watching Colin for a minute as he carried a pair of recently finished deck chairs into the Frogtowne shop. He doted over them, hovering and tending, like a protective parent over young children.
Frogtowne also reflects Colin’s passion for community, and his preference for working closely with folks. He insists only hand made items from local shops make their way into the Frogtowne store. Sitting in an antique wood chair, he tends the store himself, throughout the day sketching design ideas for his beautiful furniture. When working with patrons customizing their new pieces, nothing but the elegant and rustic cashier’s desk built in his own workshop separates them.
As the Frogtowne story unfolds, the Macy’s are hopeful it brings with it a measure of beauty and love of craft worthy of a place in the tapestry of The French Creek area community spirit and history. It has already nestled itself into a very special place in this writer’s heart.
Article by Chris macy: Brad and Colin Macy are Frogtowne’s founders. Chris is Brad Macy’s younger brother by eight years, and is Colin’s Uncle.