I am a self taught woodworker who as a teenager, found that I had a gift for woodworking. My parents would say it started back when I was a child spending many countless hours playing with my Legos. Building whatever my imagination would come up with. The summer of 1995 was the real start of my woodworking career. I was sixteen at the time, my parents were having a new house built and suggested I build the cabinets for it after seeing some of the projects I made during high school woodshop. They bought some of the basic tools I would need to build the cabinets. I set up shop in a old garage on the family farm and by the end of the summer I knew I wanted to make a career as a woodworker.
After graduating from high school I became self employed as a custom woodworker. I grew up in Northern Minnesota, an area of lake homes and cabins so in return, rustic furniture is quite popular. Being a resourceful, broke 18 year old. I scrounged up materials around the farm and at a local sawmills scrap pile to start building rustic furniture.
As my woodworking skills improved, my interest turned to building other styles of furniture. I was also starting to receive requests to build custom cabinetry. At first I turned those inquiries down. But as my business evolved, small built-ins later turned into large cabinetry projects. I found my niche by incorporating decorative veneer work and inlays into my cabinetry. By 2005 I was no longer building furniture, there was such a demand for residential cabinetry. For the next few years I had all the work I could handle.
2008 had been a great year for me but I could see the slowdown of the housing market coming. I was becoming exhausted from the pace I was working at and had been growing tired of woodworking. I also was feeling as if I was loosing my creativity and passion that I once had for woodworking. It took so much work to grow my business up to this point that I didn't have the energy or motivation to try and work through the recession. I came to the conclusion that I was experiencing burnout. The winter for 2009, I decided to close my business and stop woodworking.
Fast forward to the fall 2014. Since closing shop, I have had no desire to do any type of woodworking. My tools and machines were pushed out of the way where they collected rust and dust. Then out of nowhere, I felt a creative spark and an interest in woodworking. It had been five years since closing my shop and more notably, around 7 years since feeling that creative spark that I was feeling now. I spent some time cleaning up the workshop, reconditioning tools and repositioning machines around the shop. Making use of my existing inventory of veneer, plywood and hardwoods. I designed a table that would be called End of My Rope. This was a challenging table to build but a project that was healing for me inside. With much reflecting from when I started woodworking and path I took that got me to this point.
I realized while building the End of my Rope table that I am an artist. Before, I always thought of myself as a craftsman. I was chasing only money and in doing so, I lost sight of who I really am as a woodworker. I am lucky to find that I have a natural ability when it comes to woodworking. I woodwork because I feel it fulfills something inside me. Now I'm filled with creativity again and the same passion for woodworking as I had when I was in my teens. Only now I have a much more mature approach to my woodwork/artistry.
The marquetry rope represents me and the 5 years of my life when I decided to quit woodworking and my business. I always thought that I would be a woodworker my entire career. I tried to understand how I could go from living and breathing everything woodworking to hating it all. It was frustrating that I couldn't design or create new ideas. This confusing time in my life is the tattered end of the rope as it loops around the table top.
The same way the rope wraps around the table leg, I feel I have a handle again on the type of woodworker I am. I do not think of myself as a craftsman anymore but an artist and I use marquetry as a way of expressing my creativity.