The Guild

We know we are not the only ones who struggle with imposter sydrome, but the effects can hurt in many ways.  

Despite hundreds of hours, several years, and a steady demand for products, it's hard to recognize the results of the hard work.  Luckily, the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsman did recognize John's skill, and he has been accepted as a guilded artist for his excellence in leatherworking.  

This weekend we had our first show with the guild in the beautiful setting of the base of the pinnacle in Berea, at Indian Fort Theatre.  Oddly our space was almost the same as where we are each year for the Berea Craft Festival. 

Connecting with other artists and meeting those who are also obsessed with the quality of their work is always encouraging.  It's exciting to be a part of keeping the arts alive and appreciating true craftsmanship.  

We look forward to next year!

A Long Look in the Mirror

John’s latest project is a mirror.  Well, it is two bathroom mirrors.  They’re beautiful. 

However, like most things, they made me think.  As a woman with blue hair, my definition of beauty may not fall within the confines of “normal.”  With a craftsman for a husband, and as an artist myself, I look at things in a way that really pursues the beauty.  I want to seek it out and showcase it. 

Looking at these mirrors made me think about how I look at myself.  Because, unlike everything else I see, I don’t always look for the beauty, but I am trying to learn to.

Mirrors, specifically those in the bathroom, are made to find flaws.  There are even ultra-magnifying mirrors for women to locate every odd hair and every blemish on our face to be covered. We inspect, rather than enjoy.  We criticize, rather than celebrate.  We hide, rather than showcase. 

For me, that is part of why I dyed my hair blue (being self-employed, I have the freedom to do those sorts of things).  Having something so prominent stand out in a way that is meant to be visually “pretty” but not conventionally attractive is part of an effort to train myself to see my own reflection for the beauty it has to offer rather than the things it lacks or “should be.”

I’ve started having fun with my reflection.  I wear a flower in my hair, almost always, because it is pretty.  I wear makeup more often, because I believe it actually is worth it.  However, I wear less of it and I wear brighter colors, because I am not wearing it to hide but rather to celebrate. 

Not only am I an artist, but I am also a doula, and in that field I work to reflect to a woman the strength and beauty she holds within herself.  I’ve realized this isn’t something I can do without first embracing those things within myself.  To these women, I act a lot like a mirror, but the way it is framed is important.

The mirrors John made are lovely.  They are custom finished to compliment a bathroom project just completed.  While the wood is new, it is made to look irregular and distressed.  The finishing techniques are finely executed, made to look as though the mirror is floating off the wall, while remaining firmly mounted to it.  And, while there are 5 coats of finish on it, to protect the wood the moisture it will encounter in a bathroom, John used the dust from the creation of the mirror to create a matte and unfinished look. 

The mirrors are intentionally imperfect, and designed to be as such.  Because, imperfection is beautiful.  I hope that those who look in them can see that, and carry a little of that message with themselves.   

Finding Furniture

Recently we took our daughters to see Finding Dory. It was adorable, of course. 

I am not sure why, perhaps because I can be odd at times, the movie had me thinking about the things we search for.  Many of us search for love, search for a good book, we try to find a good career, or that perfect mattress. 

John first began working with leather because he was searching for something.  He was walking around one of the local Kentucky art fairs, much like the ones we participate in now, and he asked if someone could make something custom.  The artist scoffed at the question.  This response surprises me even more now than it did then. 

Well, John being the industrious man that he is, decided to make it himself.  Had he known then the amount of work involved in leatherworking at the time, I am not sure he would have made the same choice.  However, I am glad it is a choice he made. 

That is so much of what we do.  People come to us because they are trying to find something.  Often it is furniture.  There is that lonely corner that needs something, but it needs to be customized to fit.  The dining room is desperate for a slab table, but the checkbook says $8000 is too much for a dining room table.  Your grandmother left behind this beautiful bedroom set, something you want to use and love, but it is missing a headboard

That is what we do, sometimes the thing you are looking for just can’t be found.  If you are here, you found us. 

We will custom match the color of the wood to your grandmother’s furniture.  We will create something to fit the size, design, and budget you desire.  That purse, wallet, chair, journal, that thing you think, “if it was just like this”, we got it, because we will make it.

These are the things I think about while eating popcorn with a bouncy three-year-old in a crowded theater.  But, hey, when you’re you are a small business owner, it never stops.