My name is Norma Elizabeth (Mitchell) Fuquay and I have loved antiques, country items and "primitives", for what seems like, all my life. I was brought up by plain and simple parents who came through The Great Depression. My dad's parents owned a saw mill and farmed tobacco; my mother's parents raised cotton. If you're familiar with that era, the 1920's & 30's, you know that people had it really hard then. If you made it through those hard times, you were definitely impacted, and it lasted a lifetime. It made people "do-it-yourselfers", not because it was "chic" or because HGTV or DIY Network was filming! You had no choice - if it was broken you fixed it because you couldn't afford to buy a new one or pay someone else to repair it! I remember my father telling me of a time when he was about 9 or 10 years old. His family went into town and he saw for the first time, a bicycle. He wanted one so badly, but he knew he could not afford to buy one. So he went home and began trying to build one! After many attempts, several trial runs through the cow pasture and nearly killing himself, he gave up. However, this story defined the man he became later in life. He wasn't afraid of hard work or a challenge, in fact, difficulties made him more determined. He knew how to "make-do" with what he had! It's no secret, I was a daddy's girl. I admired him so much and watched him intently and learned. I loved how he could make something "new" again - never discarding anything, no matter what the condition. I loved to go to antique stores, auctions and estate sales with him. It was like a history lesson, as I stepped back in time with him, listening to his stories & learned the old ways of doing things with hand tools, farm equipment, furniture and household needfuls.
I married the "love of my life", Craig, in 1983 and thankfully, he also had a love of antiques and the memories they inspire. Being newly married and then having children, we could not always afford to buy the antiques we wanted. So I began to show him pieces, and he looked at them and studied how they were put together. He began making small furniture pieces for me and then ventured on to larger ones. It has been a journey that we have been on together, learning, creating and having a common interest. We have laughed many times at the difference in our first pieces and in the ones we have progressed to now!
No matter what we build, we try to keep in mind the time period of a piece, the use (and abuse) it would have gotten and try to recreate that look as closely as possible. We find old, reclaimed lumber, mostly aged pine, to use, along with old, rustic hardware and cut nails. Sometimes we use parts or pieces "of the past" and make them useful again in something new. Our pieces are all wood, no paneling or pressed board. If the wood has a pretty grain we will use a deep waxy stain to bring out the imperfections and detail of the wood. If not, we use a painted finish, using basic heritage colors and stain or glaze to replicate an old worn patina. I like to finish something with that "old time look" that makes you wonder what it's story is!
Why Primitive Souls? We could have called our little business most anything I suppose. But I thought, what makes us like old things? What keeps that passion alive in us and inspires us to go on? The Primitive Souls in each of our own lives. For me, my dad and his family and stories of my heritage. For Craig, his grandmothers and grandfathers, where he fondly remembers spending summers as a boy, working in the tobacco fields, gardens, driving tractors and running & playing in the North Carolina red soil.
We warmly invite you to come by The Depot At Gibson Mill, in Concord, NC to see some of our furniture and folk art and other primitive wares. You can always follow Primitive Souls on Facebook!