Here's the interview of me with CanvasRebel. Enjoy!
Alright, Greg thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. Did you always know you wanted to pursue a creative or artistic career? When did you first know?
This is a pretty complex question for me. I’m assuming you all reached out to me because of my woodworking business, but I’ve actually been a creative professional for a long time.
After working in the print industry for about 2 and a half years I got the opportunity to become a web designer. Finally, that spark of a dream from 15 or so years ago became a reality….I just had a really roundabout way of getting there.
That all started because of the pandemic. I’ve always been a handy DIYer and worked in construction in my youth but I’ve always been fascinated with the artistry of fine woodworking. After the world shut down in 2020 I was feeling the burnout from my day job pretty hard and I found myself with extra time on my hands, so I decided to pick up a new hobby! I started making some resin & wood charcuterie boards and posting them on social media for kicks. I continued to make some things for friends and family and eventually, an old CO of mine from my Army days reaches out to me and asks “Hey, can you make humidors?” Well…at this point, I had never made a box that complex but I’ve never shied from a challenge. I made my first humidor and it was beautiful. I was so proud. At this point, folks kept urging me to turn my passion into a business, and well….the rest is history
I dove into this a bit in the previous questions but here it goes!
I’m an Army vet that’s worked as a graphic designer for the last 12 years of my professional life. I’m an avid hiker and a lover of the outdoors. I’ve always been a pretty skilled DIYer and there are few home projects that I fear tackling. I think those two factors always made me love working with the natural beauty of wood. I especially love a primitive/rustic style. Anything that feels at home in a rural or cabin setting. So I started a fine woodworking hobby to help with the creative burnout of my day job. Creating high-quality digital work for people day after day was taking its toll. I was no longer interested in creating digital artwork but I’m a creative person at heart so I needed an outlet.
I started my business making charcuterie and cutting boards because that’s what was super hot at the time. My products were unique in that they were thicker than what you could find on the market and were live-edge boards. I also incorporated mountain laurel, a beautifully twisting evergreen shrub, into my designs…typically as handles or feet. But I didn’t really have any personal connection to those pieces or any real desire to make them other than “it’s woodworking” and “they’ll probably sell and you’ve gotta make that money now.”
What would I like clients/followers/fans to know about me? Let’s see…
My customer service is incredible. I strongly believe in the customer experience and how much value it can add. I’m trying to focus on making personalized wooden maps for people now so each of those builds are unique to the owner. I own a small shop so you get to work with me personally and I’m easy to contact. I want folks to get excited about their order so I made sure to invest in custom, branded boxes that fit my maps perfectly. Who doesn’t love opening a nice mailer box?
For me, I really love appreciation, which is kind of hilarious to say. I know there are a lot of folks that make for their own well-being/creativity and need no justification for their work. They could care less if you understand what they’re making or why. Me though? I like to make functional art. All of my creations have a function and a purpose. They are to be used as well as appreciated. So really, nothing that I create was made just because I was inspired or solely for artistic flair and because of that, I really do find it rewarding when others appreciate my work. And really, there’s no greater display of that appreciation than someone opening up their wallet and forking over some cash to show it. Buying from a maker is so much more than a transaction. It’s meaningful to us. That simple act says to us “other people value my creations enough to sacrifice something” even if it’s just a bit of money. It says to us “what you do is worthy and you should keep doing it.” The biggest reward I feel is when someone buys something from me as a gift for someone else. There’s something incredibly humbling about that. Those people are choosing to use a piece you made as a symbol…to make a statement. The customer is saying to the maker “I value this enough to give as a gift” and to me that’s incredible. Again, most folks probably don’t realize what their actions mean but that’s how I feel.
Buy from them…in whatever form that takes. Sounds simple right? Well, it is! Monetary support is probably the primary driver in so many makers’ lives. Even if they’re independently wealthy or maybe retired and don’t “need the money”, buying from a maker says that “your creations are good enough to be out in the world” and that will very likely keep them going. There are few things as disappointing as disinterest when you’re a maker.
You can check out the live article here