Portland Woodworker Has No Idea Why He Went Viral

WildCraft Studio School’s Instagram reel racked up about a million views.

Dan Hawkins (Micah Fischer/WildCraft Studio School)

When WildCraft Studio School posts reels on Instagram trying to gin up interest for future craft workshops, it typically gets around 100 likes. Wallet and keychain leatherwork: 71 likes. Basket-making classes: 98. Mushroom foraging: 219.

But when the local art studio posted an eight-second reel on March 3 advertising its summer offerings, it went bananas with nearly a million views and about 59,000 likes. The “choose your craft” video starts with local woodworker Dan Hawkins leading a workshop on floor brooms and then features upcoming summer craft classes, such as wooden spoon carving and stained-glass suncatchers.

One commenter deadpanned, “I’d go crazy on spoons.” Another lamented, “Why do I never live near any of these cool places.” Someone’s banal observation that “it’s crazy how people naturally have such diverse interests” racked up 3,854 likes.

Hawkins, 34, says he has “truly no idea” how it happened. He doesn’t use social media—his sister and business partner, Rachel Hawkins, alerted him to the boom.

In an email to customers, WildCraft attributed the popularity to Hawkins himself.

“Although Dan was already a star in our books, it’s nice to see the internet agrees,” they wrote in a note above links to register for Hawkins’ upcoming fall workshops on heirloom hand brushes, hand-carved tongs, floor brooms and hand brooms. The email was titled “Meet the Viral Woodworker (who didn’t even know he went viral!)”

Hawkins, though, humbly deflected credit to the art studio.

“The video is not about me,” he says. “We shouldn’t be associated with the success of this video. That should go to WildCraft.”

WildCraft was founded by Chelsea Heffner in 2013. Its main studio is just off Southeast Division Street, and it also has an annex space on North Mississippi Avenue.

The Hawkins siblings moved to Portland from Maine three years ago and sell their art under the name Bad Dogs Studio. Rachel focuses on ceramics, such as candles and mugs, while Dan’s biggest sellers are brooms and wooden tongs. They have noticed a slight bump in followers from the viral reel, but nothing major.

“For WildCraft, this was a fun moment to engage with a broader community of craft-loving folks who (like us) can’t choose just one craft to obsess over,” says Hannah Fischer, WildCraft’s spokeswoman.

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