Preparing For My First “Last Thursday”

  Currently I’m preparing for my first seller’s booth, which will be held on the Last Thursday of the month in the Alberta Arts District festival of NE Portland. There is much work to be done and yet, as I have never done this before, I have no guidelines for expectations. I am unsure how much inventory to prepare, how to organize my booth, and what all I should bring. I haven’t yet seen when sellers can show for set up. So, I feel the stress of all this and more as the day approaches. When trying to answer how much work is “enough” I think of what I should accomplish before the festival. Certain pieces need to be stained, many need to be finished, and nearly all need pictures of them taken. I recently decided to install hardware on the backs of many pieces so they can be hung, but I haven’t purchased any yet. Some pieces I feel I could spend countless hours sanding and finishing before they are considered ready for selling. I have a few commissions lined up that I should finish before the festival despite knowing those jobs don’t add to my final inventory. Each time I think about what I should do next, I just want to cut new designs. The vision I have in mind for my booth is one of two scenarios. I see myself with a nice professional set up like I am used to seeing at other events. A booth with a canopy, nice tables with black cloth draped over them and all my pieces hanging up or somewhere in plain...

Phase II of Up Wood Working

  Wow. 2014 is gone. What a transitional year it has been for me! So many new gifts, friends, and opportunities. Only a year ago I was struggling through my divorce, I had a foster child, and I was working without pay under very stressful conditions. Thanks to my men’s work, I found the inner strength to quit my job, I went and lived like a monk for a while, traveled around the states and then went to Canada where I built a canoe and paddled nearly to Alaska with Indians. Upon my return I became inspired to make art and build community. I started Up Wood Working within two months of conceiving the idea. Now I’m ready to take the next step. When I started out, I knew there would be a period of time, at the beginning, where I must learn my tools and research my craft.  Visions of piles of scraped projects and a box of broken bits, were in my thoughts, next to the idea that  I might retire, an old man, with never making a cent from my passions. I kept telling myself that I was going to do everything right, I was going to go slow and be cautious, but my overwhelming drive to move forward took over. I have hit the ground running with no plans to slow down. I have broke somethings, and I have made some lame pieces but I’m not incompetent, I am capable and what I have is desired! This week I worked hard at building my internet presence through social media and a lot of personal messages. I spent...

Signing up for Faerie Worlds 2015

  Part of my business model includes selling at fairs, conventions, and markets. So far I have participated in several as a patron but I have never had my own seller’s booth. When considering it, I had assumed it to be a complicated process that would cost a lot of money and require you to know the “right” people. Well all of these things might still be true but this week I took the leap and I was surprised at how easy and short the process was for me. The idea to sell at booths hadn’t occurred to me until I met a local artist who makes a living doing just that. My plan was to sell online and by word of mouth. I met this man through my personal development men’s work while traveling. We were both attending a leadership training course in British Columbia and I had brought one of my pieces as a gift to another man who had hosted me earlier in the year. The piece was the world tree surrounded by Celtic style knot work. Every one who saw it was interested and asked me many questions and blessed me many times for my work. One man in particular asked me where I sell my work and at that time I had only sold one piece and that was to a friend. He shared with me that he makes leather bound journals and travels around the northwest and sells them at street fairs, markets and craft shows. I asked how it is that he began selling in these spaces and he explained that you just pay a fee...

Holiday Surprises

  The nature of holidays dictate an element of unknown, I think most people are aware of this and find joy in the mystery. This week I have been blessed to spend time with friends and family, eat good food, and work on my art. As a young, growing business I have many things on my plate at once. At times I feel like I have a strong grasp on my current state of being and I am prepared for the next step but that element of unknown can really throw a wrench in the works. Thus far, the majority of my work has involved cutting along 2-D vectors. I really enjoy doing this kind of work, it has a quick turn around. On the other hand I do find it bland and overly simplistic when I think of my artistic vision and my advanced skill sets. Keeping with the theme of taking new steps I began experimenting with 3-D carving. There are many challenges with cutting 3-D contours, which is why I have been hesitant to move in that direction. This week I thought to myself “Why not? I’ll try it out!” I made my design, I set up the table and turned on the router. Now I want to take a moment to share that my router has been making loud popping noises and sparking when I turn it on for a little more then a week now. I haven’t put much thought into the matter because this only happens briefly while it is getting up to speed and there doesn’t seem to be any other performance...

Finding A New Dimension

  Many mediums I am accustomed to working with are 2 dimensional. When I am painting on a canvas, or making digital art, qualities such as depth and lighting must be artificially realized. While carving wood I am discovering the deep potential that specifically light has when designing, painting or presenting my pieces. Last week I went to a Phantogram concert at the Crystal Ball Room. First off, the venue itself is always inspiring to me, built in 1914 as Cotillion Hall, it has been used as host to dance, music, poetry and other entertainment over the years.  I love the mix of the old and new. As I scan overhead, I see the classic ballroom architecture and the beautiful murals on the walls. I feel like I have fallen through time and that I should be dressed in my finest while leading the woman I’m courting in a waltz. Then the vision changes when the music starts. Phantogram is a mix of synth street pop with airy vocals and hip-hop beats. On stage and film, they visually replicate the phenomenon from which they take their name. Using clever projections, beam splitters, mirrors, and I’m sure lots of other tech that I am unaware of, they make 2-d images appear three dimensional. I find my self in this bath of visual and auditory stimulus and my mind goes into a meditative state. All sorts of thoughts run through my mind, some mundane, and others odd, but overall I feel a rush of inspiration. I have the impulse to try and capture the moment but I remember the folly in that mindset so...

Finding My Artistic Voice

  When I walk through an art museum I don’t often see anything that resembles the wood carvings that I make. What does that mean?  Does that mean I am not an “artist”? This week I explored that while cutting my most recent project, a set of converse shoes sitting against a chain-link fence. The style is called “Cross Contour” and is popular with line drawings. I have two more pieces in this style planned and will put them in the gallery together. To me art is a human activity of self expression that evokes emotion. It is comprised of skill, message, and medium. I’m trying to figure out where I fit into that definition. The image of the shoes is not owned by me, but it inspired me. I greatly enjoy iconic “pop” art. I own a pair of converse shoes and in them, I have walked hundreds of miles. To me, they conjure up visions of american sidewalks, street-sports, and street artists. The lines give the feeling of setting sun, or setting time. These shoes are loved but also discarded. The wood I cut has been saved from being discarded, at least for now. I feel the most skilled when I’m working with my equipment. The feel of the saw dust under my (usually bare) feet, on my hands, and the metallic clink of my tools as I use them makes me feel like a craftsman, like a hard working artisan. As for my message, it is in my medium. I choose the piece of wood, I put my hands on it and I look at it hard, each one...

My Return From Vancouver Island B.C.

  Sometimes it is necessary to get away, to escape the regular, to release from daily habit, but if one does “get away” it is always important to return. I just spent six weeks on Vancouver Island. I had a great time doing yoga, meeting artists, and defragging my mind. I read books, took long walks, and spent a lot of time and money in cafes. Now I’m back, refreshed and ready to start working again. I have the opportunity to look at what getting “back to life” means to me. First I spent some time breathing, it is important for me to breathe into my body, and breathe into the space around me. Many things have changed. In some ways both Portland and Nanaimo feel equally foreign and homey to me. After unpacking a bit I began plugging back in, I turned on the computer, updated, scanned, and signed on. For me, eating right is a big part of self care and routine, so I walked to the store, bought a bunch of fruits and vegetables, some almond milk, and made a smoothie. Each step is part of a fluid moment that is familiar and methodical, in which I take time to reflect. I want to do it right this time, I want to stay on top of things and not let responsibility overwhelm me. I want to have patience for my family and friends. As I am the creator of my reality, I have the power to manifest each desire. Soon I will turn these efforts to the place I find daunting, the workshop. That is where plugging in...