The HANDS BEHIND the MADE
Patrick David Sawyer
Patrick (he/him), originally from Morganton, NC has been building banjos since 2005. He built his first banjo under the guidance of Luthier Charlie Glen while a Geography and Appropriate Technology student at Appalachian State University. Having a great interest and deep respect for Appalachian culture, he has studied and worked with luthiers and crafts people from Boone to Brasstown. With an engineering eye and high standard for structural and aesthetic quality, Patrick draws from the traditionalism & innovative spirit of the mountain folk to create beautiful looking and rich sounding instruments that make his mentors (and customers) proud. In 2014 Patrick started Balsam Banjoworks as a separate banjo parts and accessaries company providing quality, American made hardware to banjo builders all over the world.
Adam (he/him) has been working with Pisgah Banjos since 2014. Patrick and Adam met briefly in college while at Appalachian State University and then again working for the same solar company in Asheville. When Adam's in the shop, he brings a fun spirit and loves to help others fine tune their process. He's a quality control type of guy and loves the details. When he's not at work, Adam is going downhill on his mountain bike, playing rock-n-roll with his hand built semi hollow guitar and matching amp, hiking with his wife, Alyssa.
Mickey (she/her) started building for Pisgah Banjos in summer 2018. Born in the mountainous state of Colorado, she eventually found Asheville after having spent the majority of her life in the suburbs/metropolis of cold, flat Minneapolis, MN. She has a backround in mechanical engineering, metalworking and woodworking and as a luthier's apprentice under Andrew Wiechman. She has been playing various string, keyboard, and percussion instruments throughout her life. These experiences have allowed her to tackle a wide variety of wood shop, welding, brass metalwork, and assembly crafts that take place in the banjo build process. Her partner is also a brilliant woodworker, musician and luthier, so they always have more than enough in common to talk about. Although Mickey's interests are vast, the highest ones include aerial circus arts and horse-related activities, including equestrian circus.
Tim (he/him) joined the Asheville scene in 2003 from Fairfax, VA. He has been with Pisgah Banjos since early 2019. His lunch break old time banjo tunes light up the shop and he plays the fiddle, too. Tim is a graduate of the Haywood Professional Craft Program and is the furniture maker behind Sweet Leaf Woodworks. When he's not working with wood and instruments, he is immersed in the soil with his partner, Marietta, tending to their beloved garden with their dogs and chickens running in the background.
Alyssa (she/her) is your customer service extraordinaire. She will happily answer your calls and emails. Behind the scenes, she is maintaining spreadsheets, packing Balsam orders, and working on environmental and social justice initiatives. Alyssa is also a plant based artist, growing and harvesting plants for paper making, basketry and natural dyes under the name of The Patchwork Underground. She grows a giant garden, loves fermenting vegetables and (not so) secretly talks to trees. Time spent roaming the woods with her husband, Adam, is of utmost priority.
Alex (they/them) is stoked to be the youngest buck in the Pisgah Banjo team. In addition to be an accredited luthier, they love the simple pleasures of sweeping and taking out the trash. Alex came to Asheville via Brooklyn where they worked as a finisher and a pick-up winder. They have toured with bands across the US as a guitar tech and play bass in a punk band themselves. Alex has a love and respect for the common rat which may be in part why they have bonded with their chihuahua, Blue.
An experienced musician, Ben (he/him) has also spent over 20 years in the woodworking industry, with special focus on traditional period woodworking and fine details, and modern manufacturing processes. "I love working at Pisgah Banjos because our focus is always on quality first. At the end of each day, I feel great knowing that every person on our team is working to put an outstanding instrument in our customer's hands." Ben loves the outdoors and when he's not at work, he spends every moment he can exploring outside with his wife, two kids, and their dog Fender.