At the age of 14, Chris Robbins began working in the Broom Shop at the Bittersweet Cabins in Renfro Valley, Kentucky, where he developed a love of broom making. Chris then met and was mentored by Jim Harmon, a broom maker from Springfield, Kentucky. Mr. Harmon’s support was instrumental in helping Chris refine his skills and acquire the equipment needed to produce brooms.
Chris uses a 100-year-old winder that was constructed with wooden pegs to attach the broomcorn to the broom handle. His vise, which is used to tie the brooms, is dated September 10, 1878. Chris’s Shaker-style brooms are not only a work of art but also useful.
Chris has continued working at his craft in a workshop at his home. In 2002, Chris was juried into the Kentucky Crafted Marketing Program – one of the youngest craftsmen ever to be awarded this honor. Chris says: “It feels good to be able to carry on the art of a dying craft.”
Chris’s work can be found at Appalachian Fireside Gallery, Berea; Red Bird Mission, Beverly; Historic Locust Grove, Louisville; My Old Kentucky Home and other Kentucky State Parks; Chaney’s Dairy Barn, Bowling Green, KY; The Soap Makery, Bardstown, KY; and Bittersweet Cabins, Renfro Valley, KY; and Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.