*2017 Update: We always want to remember where we've come from, and what we've been carried through. So our original story is still below, for anyone to read. But it's been a long time since the story was written, and some things have happened. We figure we should probably update our bio!
So we are about to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary, and we love working together now more than ever. Our son is almost 9 years old, and is a joy to be with. He's a banjo playing, Lego building bundle of ticklish fun, and is going into the 3rd grade. We homeschool and are part of Classical Conversations, and we absolutely love it! We're family to our dog, three chickens, and a turtle. Our little homestead has turned into a working farm growing tomatoes, peppers, blackberries, and blueberries. We've been coppersmiths now for 13 years. And Khalima Lights is commemorating our 10th year in business! 10 years! We can hardly believe its true. God has carried us, helped us, and is constantly molding us into whom He wants us to be. We are grateful.
Original Khalima Lights story:
My husband, Robert, and I are amazed at the blessing of a life we have been given to live. We make our home on the little rural farming island of Wadmalaw, 20 miles south of the most beautiful city in the US (seriously, it won the title in a national travel mag), Charleston, SC. To get to work, we walk about 20 feet from our back door to our little shop in the back yard. We have been married for 11 years, have the most precious little 3 year old son, and are so blessed to be able to work together making art, all the while enjoying being with our son.
I was born in Oregon, and raised in Charleston from 3 years old on. Robert is from Jacksonville, FL and walked - yes, walked - to Charleston in 1998, and called it home. In short, we met, became best friends, skipped dating all together and got married, and lived and worked all sorts of jobs. Then one day, a friend at church offered Robert a job building lanterns. He passed on it, but volunteered me, as I had been wishing I could leave my long-time gig at the public library for a different job. Especially an artsy job. So, I went for it. And it turns out, I was kinda good at it! I never would have guessed. I got a job apprenticing under master coppersmith and lantern maker, John Gantt, and gleaned all I could. And now I'm going on 10 years as a craftsman in the field. *Interesting side note: I found out, after taking this coppersmithing job, that my great grandfather had been a coppersmith by trade in Saratoga Springs, NY. My grandpa was so excited and proud of my new profession, that he busted out all of these incredible stories about my family that he had never thought to tell me before. So, it's literally in my blood. And I guess that's why I love it so much that I don't mind getting all cut up and burnt and smelling like an old penny!
Robert, who had been in the construction trade for way too long, had done his share of coppersmithing too - building pope's caps for chimneys, copper roofs, etc. Big scale stuff. He loved it more than anything else he had ever done. And he had a good eye for design. An art and architecture background, and an uncanny ability to do anything he decides to try. He was a natural.
So when circumstances changed and starting our own business building custom lighting seemed to make good sense, it was only natural that we would work together. Now, that didn't always get to happen. Business was slow at first, and Robert still had to work lots of construction jobs. I took other jobs too - like caring for horses, and helping Mr. Gantt with his last business venture that he started at the spry age of 80, the Charleston Hooker (it's a handmade cooking utensil, that is still made in Charleston).
After our son was born though, figuring out how to make this business of ours work became a real need. I was staying home with him, and that was that - no second guessing. But it broke Robert's heart to leave us every day and go away to work. And there just wasn't much construction work to be had anyway. It was tough - really tough. We cried out to the Lord, and He heard our cry. He worked on our hearts, changing our perception of a "good life", purging the things we thought we needed and didn't, and broke us down until our lives became much more simple. But so much better. Now, instead of longing for much, we long for little and are overjoyed with less. The more we lost, the more enjoyable life seemed to become, and the more we knew Jesus as our true provider and Worthy of total trust. And what do you know? We eventually got so busy with our business that Robert and I both had to stay at home to work full time. Now we work together in our shop, doors wide open enjoying the wildness of the woods around us, and our son playing at our feet. We really couldn't ask for a better way to spend our days. And thankfulness pours out in all sorts of expressions.
When we're not building lights, we can be found doing lots of wonderful things. Like taking long walks down our road to enjoy the countryside, chasing after our son while he rides his little bike with training wheels, fishing in some nearby pond, heading to our church that we love (St. Andrews in the Old Village, Mt. Pleasant - for you locals), spending time with our array of interesting and beloved friends, or driving/working on our growing collection of vintage Volkswagens. We own three buses - a '67, a '72, and a '79, and love to go camping in them as much as they let us.