jgwhite is a contraction for Jackie and Gary White.
Jackie and Gary meet, marry, move to
the Philippines, and begin their family.
Jackie and Gary met in Orlando, Florida in 1972. Gary was
finishing college and preparing to enter Air Force pilot
training while Jackie was attending college at Florida
Technological University (now University of Central
Florida). In 1973, Jackie and Gary married and they moved
to Valdosta, Georgia while Gary finished pilot training.
Upon finishing pilot training they were surprise to get an
assignment to Clark Air Force Base in the Republic of the
Philippines. They arrived there just in time to see the
fall of Vietnam. Gary participated in the airlift evacuation
of Vietnam while Jackie cared for the babies that were being
evacuated into Clark AFB. It was an exciting time for them,
young, newly married, on their own in a foreign country, and
participating first hand in a historic event. It made a
lifelong impact on them and they adopted two Filipino
babies, Kevin and Tracie, to begin their family.
Jackie and Gary spend their free
time developing new hobbies.
Many of the Filipino people are very skilled with
traditional craft techniques. While in the Philippines,
Gary watched and learned how the local craftsmen built
furniture entirely by hand. Also, while flying C-130
missions, Gary collected wood samples and different hand
tools from through out Southeast Asia. Many of these shops
did not have electricity so sawing, planing, sanding, and
everything was accomplished entirely with hand tools. A
Filipino woodworker made Gary a set of hand tools, which he
used to build several pieces of furniture. At the same time
Jackie was developing her needlework skills, concentrating
on counted cross-stitch, and quilting.
Jackie and Gary return to the US.
In 1978, Jackie and Gary returned to Little Rock AFB.
For the next few years, as a hobby, Gary built some
furniture and Jackie started making quilts for the kids.
Gary, his mom, and stepfather also opened a lumberyard in
Beebe, Arkansas specializing in hardwood and imported
Jackie and Gary make another
addition to their family.
Their next child, Jared, was born in 1982, again
changing their life. Three months after Jared's birth the
Air Force moved them to Wright Patterson AFB so Gary could
attend college for a Master's Degree. Jackie had an all
natural birth with Jared, and the experience convinced her
that here life's calling was to be a midwife so she could
help other women have good birth experiences. At that time
the only way to legally be a midwife was to be a Registered
Nurse first, so she applied to a nursing program.
Jackie and Gary make yet another
addition to their family as well as another move.
Gary completed his Master's Degree in 1983 and the Air
Force moved them to Scott AFB in Illinois. Their fourth
child, Jamie was born in 1984, at home, attended by a
Certified Nurse Midwife. Jackie resumed her nursing
education at Saint Louis University.
Jackie and Gary return to Arkansas
and make the final addition to their family, as well as
putting the gears in motion for
jgwhite to be born.
In 1986, they were back living in Beebe, Arkansas. Gary
was instructing C-130 pilots at Little Rock AFB. In his
spare time he also built furniture and managed the
lumberyard. Jackie was finishing her nursing degree at
Harding University. Along came their fifth child, Jeni,
again born at home with a midwife attending. The arrival of
Jeni set in motion the birth of
jgwhite. Realization that squeezing five kids into
two bedrooms would become increasingly interesting, they
started looking around for a larger house. It didn't take
them long to find a large old farmhouse with six acres. It
was an absolutely perfect place for the kids. However, as
is usually the case, it cost more money than they could
really afford. They decided that they couldn't live without
the old farmhouse, so using magical math they convinced
themselves they could afford the house and bought it.
Jackie and Gary make their first
attempt at earning a little extra money with woodworking.
Now they needed to earn a little extra money to help pay the
bills. Gary was still building some furniture and craft
shows were popular, so Jackie and Gary hit on the big idea
of selling furniture at a craft show. They got into their
first show, getting up early to carry all the heavy
furniture to the booth, and did not make a single sale.
They quickly realized they needed a new idea. Jackie was
still making quilts for the kids; Gary had the tools to
build furniture, and a collection of woods from around the
jgwhite WOODEN QUILT ORIGINALS
A New idea is born.
They were sitting at the kitchen table and Jackie said,
"Why don't you make quilt designs out of pieces of wood."
Gary said, "Why would I want to do
Jackie answered, "Because they would be
pretty and people might want to buy them."
Gary built a couple wooden quilt wall
hangings. Since they were entirely handmade they wanted to
sign each quilt, but the idea was Jackie's and Gary cut the
wood so they couldn't decide who should sign the quilt.
That's when they decided the combine their names and create
joins the Arkansas Craft Guild.
Soon they were in another craft show exhibiting wooden
quilts. The wooden quilts sold much better, but more
significantly, the director of the Arkansas Craft Guild saw
the wooden quilts and invited them to jury for membership
into the Arkansas Craft Guild. They joined the guild in
1987, and for the next couple years sold wooden quilts at
craft shows throughout Arkansas and Tennessee. The kids had
no problem with this because they had a great time playing
with all the other crafter's kids. They also soon learned
that if the show went well, they could convince their
parents to stop at a store and buy some of the things they
jgwhite begins selling wholesale.
By 1990, as the craft shows continued to prosper, many
stores wanted to buy wooded quilts for resale. In
conjunction with the Arkansas Craft Guild they were selling
wooden quilts in Dillards Department stores. Smith Dale
contacted them and sold quilts to stores in Japan. The
wooden quilts were doing great, but making them became
gets put on hold.
Gary was now a Lt Col in the Air Force,
and his job was demanding and time consuming. Jackie had
finished nursing school and was accepted into a Nurse
Midwifery program at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston,
Texas. The next two years were exciting, challenging, and
difficult. Jackie went to Houston for midwifery training.
Gary kept the five kids in Arkansas. During this period the
Air Force mobilized and deployed for the Persian Gulf War.
Gary was the Operations Officer of the Department of Defense
C-130 school at Little Rock so he didn't deploy. However,
he remained on constant alert for short notice deployment,
so Jackie was on short notice alert to come get the kids and
pack five kids into her little Houston apartment. Life was
interesting and for two years
jgwhite was on hold.
Jackie and Gary push for another
By 1992, Jackie finished midwifery school. She always
wanted to work with the Indian Health Service, so she got a
job with IHS in Ada, Oklahoma. It was the closest site to
their home in Beebe, so they bought a log house with ten
acres in Ada and Jackie move to Ada with four of the kids.
Kevin stayed in Beebe with Gary for his senior year in high
school. Gary was eligible to retire in May 1993, so for
nearly a year the family commuted between Arkansas and
is up and running again.
A clerk in the squadron's orderly room woke the sleeping
jgwhite. She was moving to a new assignment in
Japan. She knew about the
jgwhite wooden quilts and asked Gary to build her one
for the Squadron's going away gift. Gary dug out the dusty
tools and built her a wooden quilt wall hanging. Once the
tools were out he built a few more in his free time and
jgwhite was quickly alive and well again.
FINE HANDMADE BOXES
A new idea for
Upon retirement Gary moved to Ada, and built a woodworking
shop out by the house. Ada was recovering from the oil bust
and jobs were scarce so
jgwhite became his full time job. Building wall
hangings was fairly simple but boring, and by 1993, several
other people were also building similar items, so Gary
looked for new ideas. That's when he hit on putting the
wooden quilt designs into small boxes.
The idea behind the box.
He combined his years of woodworking, craft shows,
wholesale marketing, along with life experiences to design
the boxes. He wanted boxes that were attractive and
exhibited moderately skilled levels of craftsmanship.
However, the boxes had to be relatively easy to build so
that they would be affordable. He wanted a box that people
would be proud to own at a price they could afford to buy.
becomes full time.
In the fall of 1993, he built several boxes for
photographing. He applied to several craft show and was
quickly accepted into several craft shows including Yellow
Daisy in Georgia, War Eagle Fair in Arkansas, and an
American Craft Council show. Jackie, Gary, and the kids
started building as many boxes as they could to sell at the
shows. Life was now working in the shop and traveling to
hits it big.
boxes are attractive and affordable and most of the
galleries quickly reorder. Gary has stopped attending craft
shows and now works full time building boxes to fill gallery
orders. He currently offers his work through over 90
galleries in 29 states including many Niche
top 100 galleries. In 1997, Tony Lydgate included Jackie and
Gary's boxes in his book The Art of Making Small Wood
Boxes. In 2000, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington
Fine Handmade Boxes to sell at the Renwick Gallery. In
2002, Jackie and Gary collaborated with nationally acclaimed
quilt designer Jinny Beyer to incorporate several of her
popular designs into box lids.
Their business took on a new direction in 1995. The
Philadelphia Buyers Market, Rosen Show always offered some
free booths to craft guilds. The concept is to help new
artists introduce their work to a wholesale market. The
Rosen Show is strictly a wholesale show where gallery owners
look for new work. The Arkansas Craft Guild applied for and
received a free booth. The guild gathered up some work from
their members and took it to Philadelphia. Jackie and Gary
sent a small box display. The show lasted four days and at
the end of the second day they called Gary to ask how many
boxes he wanted to sell? After two days they had already
taken orders for over $10,000. At wholesale that was a lot
of boxes. By the end of the show Gary had orders from over
40 galleries from across the US for more boxes than he had
any idea how to build¡
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