For 35 years, Jock Morrison created wood models of future car parts — a skill he now uses thanks to some family encouragement to whittle sticks and small figurines he sells as a vendor at the .
“My trade died out unless you wanted to work with computers, so my kids talked me into starting a business,” said Morrison, a 61-year-old area resident who has been at the market for four years.
Most of the products are whittled from wood Morrison finds while driving along the road or walking in the woods, but he occasionally buys a piece of nice hardwood for a special project. His first pieces were wood toys he made for his children while he was in the auto industry — and it's his love of his family that's the driving force behind Morrison's happiness.
Morrison has a wife, three daughters, and two granddaughters with another on the way. His eldest daughter is a psychologist, his middle daughter is in the Air Force, and his youngest daughter is set to graduate college with a degree in interior design.
“I couldn't be happier,” Morrison said. “I'm so proud.”
Growing up in Farmington
Morrison grew up in Farmington at at time when it was still rural and where as one of eight children, he learned to value the importance of a strong family from an early age.
“None of us were well-to-do, but it was a happy family. And that was important,” Morrison said. “What you never witness, you don't miss.”
The family lived in a three-bedroom home with four girls in one bedroom and four boys in one bedroom in bunk beds, Morrison said. He had his first experiences working with wood while helping his father, who was a carpenter, add on to the house as the family grew.
After graduating from Farmington High School in 1967, Morrison worked as a carpenter with a couple of uncles before he was drafted into the Marine Corps in 1969.
When he returned, Morrison landed a job working for a automotive supply company, where he learned his woodworking skills that now brings him to the market every Saturday during the market season.
His family at the farmers' market
Morrison said his walking sticks are his most popular products. They sell anywhere from $5 to $35 depending on the detail.
“People really don't have that much money to spend these days, so I don't go as nice on them as I'd like to,” Morrison said. “I want to give people something they can afford.”
Because he appreciates the natural beauty and color of wood, Morrison doesn't use stains or paints. He simply seals each piece with a lacquer sanding sealer, an inexpensive and easy-to-use product his customers can also use to maintain their purchases.
One of his biggest fans, Kala Barringer, often keeps him company while he whittles at the market.
“It's interesting stuff. I like to see how it turns out,” said Barringer, who is a member of 4-H and considers herself a crafty person.
Like the importance of family, the friends and fans he's made at the Hartland Farmers' Market are much more important than the money, Morrsion said.
“The best thing I like about it is the kids coming around when they like something they see,” Morrison said. “When I see a kid's eyeballs open up, I like that. That's special.”
Editor's note: This is part of a series of articles on vendors at the Hartland Farmer's Market that will runs either on Fridays or Saturdays. The market — which is in the parking lot of the Hartland Educational Support Service Center, 9525 Highland Rd — is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October.