This week in our series exploring different makers minds, we get a peek at what it’s like to be a woodworker. Michelle, of Sawdust and Sage shares about her journey as a lady woodworker and raising a family with her husband, Dan.
Michelle lives in a small town in Nevada with her family. She feels happiest when she is on the back dirt roads of her small town enjoying time with her husband looking for mustangs and listening to music that drives him crazy. Michelle thinks of herself as a tomboy and shares that she has never been afraid to hang with the guys and knows she can do whatever they can.
Woodworking Is not just for Boys
Michelle’s woodworking journey started about 4 years ago, she starts with pallet work and painting birds on them. Then, slowly moving into making shelves and eventually making benches. She sees this work as largely a snowball effect, where she started small and kept diving in deeper, a common thread for maker’s that I have talked to. She jokes that she owes those little birds a lot, those were her start and we should always honor our roots.
Michelle says: “I picked up woodburning (pyrography) when I was in my early 20’s. My dad did wood burning, and I grew up seeing these wood blocks with wildlife burnt on them. My dad passed away when I was little, so I think seeing those in my grandparent’s house inspired me to try it, to connect with him in some way. I think he’d be proud that I have surpassed him on the woodburning level. I also grew up seeing a gun rack he made, which I have yet to try to make. I really think that I have been drawn to woodworking and woodburning because of him.”
What a sweet homage to her father, to follow in his footsteps.
I think we are all looking for these sorts of special connections to our past and to our heritage in some way. It is always wonderful to see others doing things that are largely inspired by the most important people in their lives.
Michelle works hard and loves to see her projects come together at the end, finding a certain pride in dreaming something into reality. Michelle shares that math has never really been her strongest skill, so when she is able to make it work for her she finds herself proud. Michelle sees herself as a creative rather than a realistic person, but this is a great way to bring the two worlds together, making useful items. Creating things wakes her soul up and makes her so happy.
Michelle shares: “If I can put a smile in the world by just being myself, then I will have accomplished something pretty cool. In the end, that’s my goal. To quote my brother “To put a smile in the world. That’s the point.””
I enjoy getting a closer look at what goes into each project a maker shares with the world. So here is a behind the scenes look at what it takes to craft a mandala through pyrography.
Name of Project: Mandala
Time Spent on this project: 2-2 ½ hours
Project Technique: Pyrography
Who did you make this for?: Made for fun, business partner ordered the wrong wood rounds and gave me one to play around with.
Positive Reflection: Mandalas are very calming. To look at and to draw. The smell is quite lovely as well. Not a bad piece for using pine.
Chance for improvement: Pine is very difficult to burn. It naturally has soft and hard streaks in it, so when you burn it, your lines can be very uneven. Don’t. Use. Pine.
If you would like to learn more about this series you can follow these links to the rest of this series:
Embrace Your Creativity – This is the original post where I give a background into tracking progress through our creative journey.
Garden Study Ceramic’s – A look into a beautiful San Diego woman’s ceramics studio and how she makes a monstera leaf tray.
Slow Evenings Embroidery – Miriam shows us how she embraces slow living and crafts a life she loves in the moments that she has. She gives us a closer look at her project Plant Lady pt. 1.
I want to leave you with one thought: everybody comes into this world with creative energy of some sort. I hope you are finding a way to give yourself the chance to explore your own, in whatever way is best for you. Try something new, you never know what might spark your curiosity until you try.
Thanks for joining me today, as I share a little about Michelle’s journey through woodworking and her own creative expression.
I would love to share your journey if you are a maker or crafter who brings beautiful and unique things into this world. I would love to hear from you the community and see what lovely things you are making.
As always dear readers, life lightly and love courageously, until next time.