As I create and share crafts on this blog, one of my biggest frustrations is that I haven't learned how to carve, cut, saw, or shape wood. When I was a little girl, proudly prancing around in dresses...I couldn't have imagined that I'd want my dad to someday teach me how to use a small saw. But, I do want him to. I think it would open up a new world of crafting for me. That feeling was reignited when I met the owner of Barclay Fine Woodworking, our next Artist in the Spotlight: David Barclay.
1-Did you come from the carpentry, contractor, builder trades....or was woodworking simply a hobby that turned into a side business?
My first degree was a Bachelors of Mechanical Engineering and my second was a MBA. I worked 27 years as an engineer and engineering manager for Eastman Kodak designing cameras, production processes and organizations --- all creative exercises to some extent. During this time woodworking was a creative outlet that allowed me to make things for friends and family that had more value than something I could have purchased. When the creative aspects of my job ran out about 5 years ago I left and started woodworking full time.
2-Like many crafty people, you started out making things for friends who encouraged you to sell your woodwork. What has been the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge has been to find out that all of those things I made for friends and family for all of those years did not turn out to be the things that customers were will willing to pay for, in spite of the fact that they loved what I made for them and told me I could make a fortune if I made more of the same. The biggest challenge has been learning what really sells and how to price it.
3-How would you describe your style?
My style is my own. I have been inspired by Art Nouveau in some of my furniture designs (i.e., the bed I made for us a few years ago), but the production pieces I make are exercises in functionally elegant simplicity. I invite your readers to give a name to my style.
4-Woodwork involves so much labor...how do you determine the prices for each product?
I started out figuring time and materials to set prices, but found that pricing crafts is much more difficult than that. Pricing one's crafts is, indeed, very difficult. My transactions, especially at craft shows, are truly "arms length" and pricing is often that price which, by trial and error, has proven to make the customer happy and me as well.
There is nothing more honest than that and I have become comfortable pricing my pieces where I feel the customer finds the most value and I feel that it has been worth my time.
5-Where can people see more of your work and order? http://barclayfinewoodworking.com/ has not only many of my items for sale but the list of Fine Craft Shows I will be at as well.
GIVEAWAY TIME!! As our holiday countdown continues...David has offered one of his fine woodworking pieces for another Crafty Life and Style giveaway!! The lovely Barclay earring trees are popular with his customers...and you have a chance to get one for free, earrings not included of course. We need you to comment here to become eligible...if you let us know you are also a "registered" follower of this blog (basically click the follow button)...you can double your chances. You have until Noon, EST, next Wednesday, November 24th. We will announce the winner Thursday, Thanksgiving. Good luck...and visit David Barclay's website for more of what you see here...