Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inspiration & Influence

I briefly want to talk about what my daughter and I did over the weekend. We hit the road. We went on an adventure. We set out to explore! We got outta Dodge! Or Grafton as it were, and headed south. We stopped in Mequon and checked out a newer gallery and some cool shops, headed to Frank Allen Gallery and checked out some artwork by an old friend. Then we had a quick lunch and decided to keep going. We wound up exploring the Third Ward in Milwaukee...or part of it anyway. We visited Tory Folliard, Katie Gingrass Gallery, Milwaukee Cupcake Company (HELLO!), met some of the members of the potters guild of Milwaukee, ate popcorn, and met a lovely artist named Kathleen. We had a freaking blast! I have to just say props to Milwaukee! What an awesome display of talent and fresh ideas! I love our little big city! We plan on doing this more often! Milwaukee Rocks.

The next thing on my mind is teaching. Frank (former instructor) recommended a book to me awhile back, the Universal Traveler. This book has been instrumental in changing my perspective of my life in general. I can't even begin to describe it. Let's just say that instead of wishing about stuff, I am now just making said stuff happen. I strongly believe that if I had read this book, when I was in school....I don't even know where I might be right now. My point is this. When you feel passionately about something, isn't it your duty to pass it along? I mean, the class I want to teach is a design class, but it also would be setting the students up for what's next. I'm not describing it to the best of my abilities.... Imagine a design class that goes above and beyond objects, but rather blurs the line between what is tangible and intangible. Product design meets designing your own personal future. Sort of life strategy taught thru product design. It's on my mind.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Baguette Board Finished, and a New Beginning

I have spent the past few days finishing up this project. I had to cut and edge sand the curve, round the edges on the router, sand, and finish. When it was all said and done, I decided this would be an awesome board for serving smoked salmon. Admittedly, this is not the most exciting project to document, but I needed to try it out. Later on this year, I will be documenting a toy box from start to finish, so it's good to do a practice run.
It is not easy to be self-employed. It has been a pretty rough week. I question everyday whether I am on the right path. Sometimes I think it would be easier to get a "real job". Easier to just go to work and bring home a paycheck. I know in the long run, I wouldn't be satisfied, but at least we might be able to live in a bigger home, take vacations more easily, etc. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I am just saying there might be an easier way. So I was having that kind of day. Sometimes I feel like I need a billboard that will shout out "It's Cool! You're On The Right Path!" Ryan just told me to dust myself off and get back to work. It wasn't very romantic or even very gentle, but it was exactly the right thing to say in the moment...and it made me laugh.

The next day was better. I was determined it was going to be better. I made it better. Then I received one of the most remarkable emails I have ever gotten. And I won't get into the nitty gritty, but let's just say I keep it in my inbox and refer to it as my billboard.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Baguette Board, Week 1

I spent the first couple weeks of the new year doing bookwork, really investigating where the expenses were and where we were profitable. My goal was to enter the new year more educated, with a better understanding of what products to focus on, and what expenses to avoid. That being said, 2010 was not our most profitable year, but we made some purchases that have proven to be well worth the expense.
This year, I have dubbed Mondays as "Media Mondays". I will post photos of the previous week's progress, keeping my followers updated more often with what is happening in the workshop. Hopefully, as people check out our website, they will click the blogger link and read about our most current project. So let's get started!
Last week, I began working on a baguette board. I was inspired by a cutting board that I saw in the gift shop at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York City. It was longer than your average cutting board, but narrow. I designed mine extra long, at 36", 8" wide, and about 1 3/8" thick. The ends will have a slight curve to soften the look a bit. There never seems to be enough length on a regular cutting board when making garlic bread. This new board will take care of that!

The photos show the progression from where I started through glue up. Some of the boards in this project were pulled off an old piano that was left in our house when we bought it. Using reclaimed wood might be a recurring theme this year as I attempt to cut back on lumber expenses. On the bottom of the cutting board, there are a few nail holes from the old piano that I think add character to the piece.