After pursuing a non-related career in the city for so long, I finally made my escape and accepted a job in Wyoming as a caregiver/ranch hand. I've had horses or been
around horses most of my life and this was kind of a dare. I was complaining to my neighbor about how badly I wanted out of the city. Everybody I knew dreamed about moving
to the country but nobody ever did anything about it. My neighbor happens to mention there's an ad in the Western Livestock Journal right now for a caregiver/ranch hand in
a remote location just outside the east gate into Yellowstone. Hmmm, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to have a look.
After several phone conversations with the ranch manager and the owner feeling comfortable enough about my experience, I packed up and made the move to Wyoming. Turns out this remote ranch is 50,000 acres of pristine wilderness between the east gate into Yellowstone and the cowboy town of Cody, Wyoming. After traveling 10 miles up a dirt road through some of the most beautiful landscape I'd ever seen, it finally opens up into this magnificent compound of barns and cowboy chic ranch accommodations.
To my surprise and perhaps my destiny, one of the barns housed a fully functioning carpenters/wood shop. I knew where I would be spending my down time. I started dragging back odd shaped pieces of wood after a long day hiking the valley repairing fence lines that the elk, grizzly bears or deer had accidentally rearranged and literally, obliterated. I started designing small pieces of furniture and picture frames and then selling them at a local shop in downtown Cody.
It had been awhile since I had invested any serious time in the wood shop and it felt like where I was supposed to be, I guess I finally figured out what all those people meant growing up when they said I was so creative and or artistic. I had always associated artistic with being able to paint or draw. I certainly couldn't paint and I most certainly couldn't draw, I couldn't even make a stick man look realistic but, I could make a piece of wood look pretty good.
I guess that was the kick off of my new passion and career. My outlet for creating unusual works of art and or functional furniture, at least that was what I was thinking. I was hoping that other people would enjoy what I considered to be a unique piece of art, furniture art. It all started clicking when the store in town sold what they had and asked if I had more.
I've been really lucky. When I left the ranch work and moved to the Lake Tahoe area, I happened to find a job opening at a furniture store my best friends girlfriend was managing. Things seemed to be falling into place. I started out assembling imported, really cheap furniture. It was really cool and it was really cheap. The store sold quite a bit of that furniture, unfortunately, I ended up having to go out and repair that same furniture soon after their purchases. I couldn't get over how poorly it was designed. Joinery was invented for a reason but, then again, joinery takes time and skill and these companies were only in it for the profits.
I wondered what happened to the quality of furniture my parents valued so much, the furniture that lasted and was passed down through the generations. I decided to add my own spin and signature and started submitting my artwork to high end art galleries and or western art/furniture shows. I had heard of the Western Design Conference when I lived in Cody. It was a huge event and a closely juried show. I vowed to be a part of that show within 4 years. That show highlighted somewhere around 100 of the best western craftsmen and craftswomen in the country.
As fate would have it, I was accepted on my 4th attempt and had the opportunity to hang out with the woodworking worlds celebrity western designers. Doesn't get any better than that. My work was now on display and published in a few books. I also had the privilege of being featured in a few national magazines and local newspapers.
It's been a beautiful journey and my goal is to stand out as an original and to design and build furniture that transcends time. One of the authors mentioned she could walk
into any store or gallery in the world and recognize my art.
I think the surroundings and or furnishing that you live with should make you feel good. They should lend a comforting aesthetic. I think you feel the positive energy off of everything in your environment. We sometimes forget that even furniture is a constantly moving conglomeration of dancing atoms and electrons. I invest and infuse a whole lot of love and passion into each and every one of my creations and I'm hoping they're going to make you want to dance too. Ha!