David and Jeneice Haessig met at the Art Fair on the Square in Madison, Wisconsin.
In the mid-1970s, David and a couple friends started a woodworking company called Sawdust. They built custom furniture, but David preferred making smaller wood projects, such as vases and cheese boards. He started to make those and exhibit them at fine art fairs.
That’s when Jeneice came into his life.
Jeneice Haessig grew up in a small town in southwestern Wisconsin with a population of 300. After she moved to Madison, a friend invited Jeneice to Art Fair on the Square. Not knowing what an art fair was at the time, she went and had a good time. Sometime during the day, she picked up a business card for a woodworker.
About one year later, Jeneice met David again at a going away party for a mutual friend. While they hit it off right away, Jeneice remembered David’s name from the business card she picked up at the art fair. She showed it to him the first time he visited her apartment.
“It was freaky,” Jeneice admits. But they’ve been together ever since; they even got married!
Over the years, David taught woodworking to Jeneice. Together, they started DHH Designs, which has been creating artful designs with wood for over 20 years.
“Some people couldn’t imagine working with their spouse,” David says. “We do it very well.”
“We take care of each other,” Jeneice adds. “We make sure we don’t hurt ourselves, and we don’t work in the evenings.”
They moved to the Northwoods in northern Wisconsin in 1994. Their studio is literally 500 feet from their house, so their commute is so short, it’s not worth calling it a commute. There is no fancy equipment in the studio. Nothing is run by computers; just sanders, a drill press, a table saw, a couple more sanders, and other necessary pieces of equipment.
“I enjoy working in my studio, and I enjoy creating new things,” David says. “Woodworking, there aren’t many tricks to it.”
While woodworking seems straightforward, delivering quality work takes dedication and skill, which David and Jeneice have plenty of.
They are hard workers with quality products to their name. In addition to selling their work on WisconsinMade Artisan Collective, they also show their work at fine art fairs across the United States.
“We stand behind our work 100 percent,” David says.
If there is any issue with his work, David prefers to look at the flaw to determine what went wrong and adjust his process so it doesn’t happen again. That dedication meant his skills have kept growing and growing. With 40 years of woodworking experience under his tool belt, his skills are as refined as the products he sells.
Life in the Northwoods
Like the saying goes: work hard, play hard. Therefore, days are fairly breezy for David and Jeneice.
“Our house is situated such that, when you wake up in the morning and look out, there’s a 19-mile lake right there,” David adds. “That makes it a little nicer.”
They had a 20-foot pontoon boat, which they purchased brand new to the delight of their grandchildren. While David and Jeneice have owned boats before, they’ve always purchased used. Which means that getting the engine to start was a coin toss every time. That’s not the case with their new pontoon, and it’s their favorite thing about their new boat.
Jeneice recently retired but finds fulfillment in keeping her days busy.
“I have not yet since I’ve been retired and said ‘What am I going to do today?’ There’s always something to do,” she says. “There’s time with family. There’s time with friends. I love to cook.”
For David, in addition to his work at the studio, is also involved with local politics.
“I serve on the County Board for Washburn County,” he says. “It’s something I get a good feeling of reward from.”