If people haven’t listened to Jordan Kilburn play music around the Gainesville Square, they’ve most likely seen his woodworking.
Woodworker by day, musician by night, 29-year-old Kilburn of Lula has intertwined his passions in Hall County.
Some of his work can be seen in Avacados, including most of its tables and wine holders. Anyone who has entered Downtown Drafts and grabbed a beer has viewed the wooden wall menu, or taken a glance at the bar—all of which are Kilburn’s creations.
Like most artists, Kilburn started young. Before discovering his artisan skills, he embraced a love for music.
He first began playing the guitar in elementary school.
At 16, Kilburn said he walked into a local music shop after school and spent hours playing the guitar. Around a year later, the owner of the business asked him if he would be interested in teaching guitar lessons.
Only 17 years old, Kilburn started providing classes to children and his own schoolmates. It turned into a brisk side business; he received $60 an hour per person.
During this time he started playing in a band and would take gigs on weekends.
After realizing he was making almost as much as his teachers, Kilburn quit high school, earned his GED and became a full-time musician.
Taking the plunge into a music career at 18, Kilburn said he soon realized that the real world was more difficult than he anticipated.
“When you’re young you think you’ve got it all figured out and then life just beats you down, and it teaches you,” he said. “You can’t have that attitude when you go out into the world.”
During his early 20s, Kilburn performed around Atlanta, Buford, Dunwoody and Gainesville.
Needing more income to sustain himself, he took on a variety of jobs. Some of these included welding for a sign shop, cooking and serving for restaurants, working as a handyman and making tables for a furniture shop.
Kilburn said each job led him, bit by bit, to woodworking, which quickly developed into a passion.
“I love doing things with my hands,” he said. “It’s therapeutic, really.”
It wasn’t until he started working for Avocados that he was able to develop a woodworking style of his own.
Albert Lunalover, co-owner of Avocados, gave Kilburn the opportunity to make new tables for the restaurant in 2016. Kilburn jumped on the offer and since then has been working on projects for local businesses.
He said his goal is to make the woodworking business a full-time job, while still being able to play music at night.
Through Kilburn’s new business Kilburn Crafted, he fulfills custom orders of tables, food trays, birdfeeders, cutting boards, wine holders and other items.
Most of the wooden material he uses for his pieces are upcycled from discarded pallets. Kilburn said before he chooses the scraps of wood, he starts by envisioning a finished product.
“I always ask myself, ‘If this is your song, what would you write it about?’” he said. “The finish on the table is the lyrics of the song.”
When making music and woodwork, Kilburn said he comes across many similarities. He describes his style of music and woodworking as “heavy handed.”
He finds that his raw Southern rock music parallels with the harsh ripping and sawing of wood.
On multiple occasions he has received negative feedback from people who claim that real woodworking doesn’t reveal signs of nails and screws. While Kilburn said he understands their reasoning, he doesn’t feel the need to change his style.
“Making money is great, but I can do that anywhere,” he said. “Art always comes first. Don’t let people take that away from you.”
People can contact Kilburn through his Facebook page or email him at email@example.com.