Back about a decade ago, my friend Brandon was fresh out of grad school and moved back home to start a nonprofit. Said he wanted to help end generational poverty and build something sustainable to help Appalachians who were out of a job from the distressed coal industry find dignity in an honest day's work.
I am ashamed to say I was doubtful that my inexperienced yet idealistic friend would still be at it even a couple of years later.
Thankfully, I was very, very wrong.
Brandon went on to lead Coalfield Development into just that - an amazing organization that has launched a network of programs to help diversify the economy, and provide training and job opportunities to those facing barriers to employment. It has been, frankly, astonishing to watch, and as someone who grew up in the coalfields of West Virginia watching entire communities suffer, I support this mission wholeheartedly.
So when I mentioned to Brandon's wife, Ashley, that we needed a supplier for Old Try stick frames, she said, "why don't you have Mountain Mindful make them?" I'm not sure why it hadn't yet occurred to me to work with them, so we set up a meeting that week and began talking through what we needed.
Mountain Mindful is a program of Coalfield Development. The men and women there build MM stick frames exclusively for Old Try out of reclaimed lumber. They cut, stain, add magnets, and finish these so your artwork can be displayed simply and beautifully.
We love hearing the stories behind the lumber. This first batch of MM Stick Frames came from structural beams reclaimed from an 18th-century Morgantown, WV feed store. What was once holding the walls and roof of a building that served a community for over 300 years will find new life by holding your Old Try print.