Photos and stories for Juniper Ridge newsletter and blog. Joseph, Oregon. 2017.
Greg Hennes has been “Demystifying dreams since ’06”. The dream currently resides in Wallowa County, Oregon — where Greg and his partner Ashley Tackett run the Jennings Hotel; a Kickstarter funded remodel of a 107 year old historic building into a contemporary study on the quiet power of a beautiful space to relax, connect, and lean into creative work. The Jennings, situated in downtown Joseph, hosts an artist residency program in which creatives from myriad disciplines are invited to stay for a week to explore ideas, experience the county, and leave behind a piece of work from their visit. In the communal kitchen you’ll find ceramics from Portland’s HECHA, in the bathrooms Juniper Ridge soap, and all over the hotel art and furniture made and curated by people you probably already follow on Instagram.
Across Main Street from the Jennings is the tiny brick building home to Prairie Mountain Folk School, where Greg and other artisans from around the country teach classes on subjects from spoon carving to Japanese timber frame cabin building. Between the hotel, the school, the photo studio in Portland, the budding retail concept, and the cabin he’s building next to The Jennings for himself and Ashley - it’s natural to wonder; “how the hell does he do all this?”
Ashley (a do-everything badass in her own right) told us how Greg does it one evening at the dinner table when she said “Greg doesn’t really value expertise” –– which at first look may seem flippant. It isn’t. How many projects have you begun and promptly abandoned when confronted with your lack of experience? This doesn’t appear to happen to Greg Hennes. The library in the kitchen of the hotel is packed with donated books ranging from illustrated guides on traditional woodworking tools to memoirs and novels about people figuring shit out and making things happen: an apparent theme in Wallowa County.
Greg and Ashley are living in one of the rooms of The Jennings until the cabin is finished (this is another part of how he does it), and on the wall in room 9 reads a hint at the magic hammer Greg uses to crush the boundaries between himself and his dreams — “Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”