TALLAHASSEE — Amber McKee grew up quietly working side-by-side with her dad creating beautiful wood furniture. She said she and her father, Emil Brady, a pastor, and well-respected master craftsman and carpenter in High Point, North Carolina, would play and mix things and have fun.
“I spent time in the shop, sometimes just watching him,” McKee recalled. “I saw beautiful pieces created.”
When Brady passed away a year ago, woodworking, painting and restoring became a way for his daughter to feel close to him
Introspective, she said when she restores a piece, she often thinks of her dad and tries to pour that love into the creative process.
“Creating heals my soul,” said McKee. “It doesn’t matter what is going on in the world around me, woodworking calms and relaxes me.”
Needing that relaxation after the birth of her third daughter and a year as a stay-at-home mom, McKee started restoring and refinishing furniture several years ago, before her father passed.
“I needed something other than wiping butts to do,” she laughed. She began restoring and painting pieces for herself and family at her home. Soon family and friends were seeing what she created and said, “Wooo, I want something like that.”
Soon she had so many projects they were overrunning her home.
In 2013, Wood Junkies was born. In her workshop in Killearn, McKee provides custom commission work and creates heirloom pieces McKee designs to be practical for her client’s lives now.
She also holds classes and workshops to give clients their own creative outlet, as they learn how to restore and paint wood projects for themselves.
She said her father wasn’t able to see her business come to full fruition, but when asked what that was, she thought and said, “I’m not sure that there is an end-game, but I would like to expand my classes.”
Wood Junkies is located at 3648 Shamrock Street West.
Nice article. Keep these types of articles coming.
Amber is a very talented, creative and all around great woman. I have attended all of her classes which have given me the tools and knowledge I need to embark on my own endeavor recreating special pieces. Amber does not leave you to figure things out on your own after attending classes. She continues to be a strong source of knowledge and support in the learning process. I strongly encourage anyone who wants to learn this craft to enroll in Ambers classes. Amber is truly a gift!