Arlene McPherson is a journeyperson cabinetmaker and owner/general manager of McPherson Cabinetry. McPherson Cabinetry opened its doors five years ago and is unique in many ways, including its commitment to inclusive hiring practices and its sustainable business practices — which include a preference to purchase local and North American products whenever possible.
What did you do in high school that connects to what your career as a cabinetmaker?
When I was in high school, girls were not allowed in the shop, however, I grew up on a farm and spent time at home learning to make things. It was those experiences on the farm that helped me to discover an appreciation of making things. I was never afraid to use tools or work with my hands.
What makes someone a good cabinetmaker?
A good cabinetmaker is someone who is passionate about their work, has attention to detail, and an interest in solving problems. They are independent thinkers and motivated workers. If someone is keen and wants to learn, they would do well in cabinetmaking – from design to installation, there are a number of opportunities in the industry.
What part of working with wood inspires you?
Being creative as well as responsible is what still excites me about being in this industry. While the wood supply has seemed limitless in the past, we now know that we have to use it responsibly. Solid wood is wonderful and beautiful, but there can also be beauty in particleboard, MDF and other manmade products that come from wood wastes. Using those materials creatively is every bit as rewarding and worthy as using solid wood.
A good design and a beautiful, functional home can change the quality of life, which directly impacts mental health. The beauty of wood and wood products can elevate peoples’ moods and at the same time is a connection to the natural world.McPherson Cabinetry