Moving Stories: Videos from the American South

“Handmade”: Meet Mississippi’s Greg Harkins

"Anything that's worth cuttin' down a tree for is worth doin' right. Don't the Lord love a two-by-four?"

Guy Clark, "The Carpenter," 1983


All his life, Greg Harkins has lived in Vaughan, Mississippi, a small community about 40 miles north of Jackson. At an early age, he began studying woodworking, and he has never worked for anybody else since. He preserves a level of craftsmanship rarely seen in these days of mass production.

Off a winding country road, he makes all types of wooden furniture, but his staple is rocking chairs. His rocking chairs have been requested by Pope John Paul II, five United States presidents, and numerous celebrities, not to mention everyday customers. Each final product is its own. There is no duplicate, and it will last a lifetime — maybe even four of five of them. He likes to say that if you make rocking chairs right, "you can’t tear them up, even if you tried.”

Like his craft, Greg Harkins is entirely original and handmade.

A Brickyard Digital Production

Director/DP/Editor: David Ross

Producer: Steven Ross

Drone Operator:
Jeff Tanner