John Mark Leach has creativity in his blood. After watching his own father build things with his hands, he learned carpentry. Now, he’s made his hobby into a career, crafting one-of-a-kind pieces through his business, Capitana Woodworks.

Birmingham-Apartment-John-Mark-Leach.jpg1. When did you know you wanted to pursue carpentry?

I’m fortunate that woodworking has always been accessible to me. I grew up watching my dad build things in the garage and eventually it became a hobby of mine. It wasn’t until summer of 2015 that I realized I could possibly make a career of it. That’s when I began dreaming and creating Capitana.

2. What was your inspiration when thinking of the name, “Capitana Woodworks”?

“Capitana” is an old Spanish word meaning “Flagship.” To me it’s the perfect fusion of two things that deeply inspire me; always leaving me in curiosity and wonder: world cultures and the ocean.

Birmingham-Apartment-Capitana-Woodworks-2.jpg3. Do you pull inspiration from downtown Birmingham?

Absolutely I do. I’ve found aimless walks through the city to be my most creative and productive activity. I love the old streets and variety of architecture Birmingham proudly offers. I draw the most inspiration from Morris avenue, as well as English Village just outside the city.

4. What is your favorite piece you have made or refurbished?

I had a lot of fun dreaming up and building a Spanish/Moroccan coffee table. I rounded the legs like a Spanish archway, covering it with an ecru stucco and hand painting Mediterranean blue-wash tiles for the top. It’s a very unique piece. I still haven’t seen anything like it.

5. The community of creatives in Birmingham is large, do you think there is something special here?

Yes! This is a very exciting time to live in Birmingham. Incredible growth and revival is taking place and I see it really stirring up the local arts. There’s still a lot of untouched territory in the art scene here but I feel the community of creative leaders is growing deeper and stronger at an increasing rate. It’s really great to see the city take pride and rally behind our local artists.