Nashville woodworker helps artist experiencing homelessness

Matt Hobbs and 'Slim'
Posted at 4:45 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 21:03:21-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A woodworker is taking an artist experiencing homelessness under his wing.

At Sons of Sawdust, Matt Hobbs puts his heart and soul into his work.

“This is floor joist out of the building where the B.B. King restaurant is,” Hobbs said.

He’s currently turning the reclaimed wood into a guitar to raise money for 2nd Avenue bombing victims.

"Through the process of reclaiming the old wood, we were able to reclaim our lives," Hobbs said.

He gained his big heart from overcoming a tough time. "There was a month or two where we didn’t have anywhere to live,” Hobbs said.

From his desperation sprouted a skill.

"And I was like, I bet I could build a table since we can’t afford to buy one," Hobbs said.

That first table was the start of a successful business.

"When I sand down this wood, it’s an emotional experience because I’m removing all those layers of being forgotten, and I’m clearing out that dust," Hobbs said, "And then revealing the beauty of the wood, as I do that, I see the beauty in myself."

He now uses his free time to pay it forward. A couple days a week he allows a man experiencing homelessness to use this workspace.

"I see someone who’s willing to do the work to transform their life,” Hobbs said. “And it makes me get emotional because it takes a lot to do that."

Sometimes, 'Slim' doesn't show up.

"I see the beauty in Slim, I see the beauty in every person, because we really all just have layers and layers of built-up things on us that keep us from our full potential," Hobbs said.

He'll patiently wait to see Slim again.

"It’s like the phases of our life that we go through, and we forget who we are, but eventually, we find our way back, just like the Lion King," Hobbs said.

Matt made a website for Slim to sell his art with the goal of finding him a permanent home one day. Go here.