Storytelling, Woodworking

What’s in a name?

My wife would like for me to remind you that I’m taken 😛

When I started woodworking, I never thought about starting a blog or a website, let alone an Etsy shop, so it’s been quite a journey (as much as I joke around about and generally hate that term). But as I’ve gone along, what I considered to be a personal thing—me hanging around in the woodshop with my furry assistants, dancing around while I make stuff (yes, there’s a bit of dancing, sometimes waving around a bowl gouge during a particularly “motivating” tune)—I started to consider this as something more and wanted to share what I’ve been working on.

It also was a good idea to free up some space in the house. I think my wife was starting to wonder how we ever were going to use that many bottle stoppers, I already had given her a bunch of pen prototypes, and what can one do with that many bowls or pen cups? I haven’t posted any bird houses, but I assure you, they’re standing at attention like sentinels throughout our front and backyards, and you’ll get a peek at those, too, before long.

So where to start? I guess I could start by discussing how or why I make the stuff I do; that is, is there a plan in my designs or some greater vision? I have to say that while one might observe some sort of “style” among my pieces, I range in my likes from the simplistic to the fanciful, and from very structured pieces to ones that are more fluid. It really all depends on my mood that day (and sometimes the music I’m listening to at that moment).

Here I am working on Agatha, a spalted ash bowl, while listening to Alice in Chains. You can tell, can’t you?

I rarely start with a plan, and I tend to never draw anything or write down my ideas for things. (I probably should – I tried; think that notebook is in a bag somewhere.) I let the wood speak to me and see how it goes.

Apparently that notebook is buried in the desk.

Often, the designs just happen. I kind of like things that way. As much as we humans try to control our natural environment, we can’t control everything. Wood, even though no longer a living plant, moves and does what it wants regardless of how we feel (or want to pull our hair out when a piece we painstakingly shaped warps).

When I first posted some of my items on Etsy, I didn’t post any real names of my pieces, just their descriptions. But, like my dancing around and goofy moments with my canine assistants, I like stories and tend to come up with wacky stuff all the time. I name everything and I’m pretty quick to give inanimate objects a full life history. So that’s what’s happened with what I’ve named my pieces.

At first, I was reserved with the stories. It’s Etsy. This is serious. I have a business license. Art is serious. That went out the window pretty quickly (though there are traces of that rigidity when you look at some of my early Etsy posts). At first a name was listed with barely any background. Then as I kept going, each thing I made started getting characters attached to the names, and these days it’s a regular drama in the Creekview Woodshop.

Renee, Cherry Burl Bowl
Renee, who hopes this stint on Etsy will revive her fading acting career [click to read Renee’s story on Etsy].
Between bottle stoppers that wish they could have been authors and actresses to pen cups with bad breakups and sordid histories, they’ve taken on a life of their own. I mean, we have three dogs with names like General Sherman, Walter, and Eggnog. You get my drift. I love a good story.

Frank, Walnut Bottle Stopper
Frank aspires to write a groundbreaking miniseries for the Lifetime Movie Network [click to read Frank’s story on Etsy].
Speaking of stories, this coming weekend I’ll be showing and selling my wares down at the Paris, Kentucky, ArtWalk on Friday and the Pumpkin Festival the next day. This will be my first time at these venues, so there likely will be a story to tell afterward. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for stopping by ☺

6 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. Tanya I love that you are following through with this great adventure! You are so talented that it would be a travesty not to show it. Not only do people get the opportunity to own some of your pieces of joy, they get to see just a bit of your amazing personality! I love you so much and wish you much success❤️

    Like

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