Life as a Creative Craftsman

Posted on Aug 14, 2017 in Behind-the-Scenes
Life as a Creative Craftsman

My life’s passion is in exploring new crafts, techniques and mediums, while mastering as many as I can, because “life is a craft.”

From Macramé to multimedia, resins to ROI, Perler to Photoshop, carving to cutting hair — I see them all as the same. To me, being creative is not a title, but rather a state of mind. Creativity is at the core of who I am.

Passionate about making. With over 4,000 pins and growing, the world is my workshop. Describing my skills, supplies and work areas would read like an art supply catalog, so a lot of times it is easier to show.

A big kid at heart. I am excited about sharing my skills with children and young adults, creating shared experiences and trying new things. At the holiday gatherings, I sit at the kid’s table and engage in their activities (which leads me to knowing more about plushies, the latest cartoons and Disney characters than politics or sports).

Dad, can you fix this? This is a daily challenge, but also very rewarding. The “repairs” keeps me actively analyzing how things are made, questioning why they were made that way, and how can I improve upon those designs or functionality. It also helps in coming up with new product ideas.

Parent and Scoutmaster. It’s one thing to be a parent and volunteer, but participating in Boy Scouts takes it to a completely different level. Not only do I get to teach life skills and ethics, but I also get to create a variety of fun projects with kids, most ranging from ages 5-18. As a result, I keep youthful and add on more personal hobbies than I have time in a day.

Some Projects

  • Spent a week in Petoskey looking for stones
    to make into jewelry
  • Used decorative knotwork in place of my
    pool deck railing
  • Carved a wood spirit into my walking stick
  • Continually experimenting with different
    braiding styles on my daughters hair
  • Painted Ojibwa-style wall murals throughout
    a Chippewa Valley Elementary School 
  • Built my own 5-bike rack for the pop-up
    trailer using PVC
  • This Halloween, I am turning our trailer into
    a full size “Toothless the dragon”

Photo: Basket weaving craft at summer Boy Scout camp.


Projects of a Creative Craftsman

So how does that creative passion manifest itself? As you could imagine, it takes form in a variety of ways. Here are some of the projects I have worked on, many of which also combine crafting and teaching.

Labradorite Necklace and spiral earrings. One example of my carved, polished and crafted wire-wrapped jewelry.

When out rockhounding, there are plenty of other creative opportunities, like leaving “Happy Stones” for other campers (left). Then after I get home, the ideas start flowing as I prep another batch of gemstones (right).

Boy Scout braiding bracelet
and Bear Claw chocker: created as an attendance tracker and reward (left). Grandpa’s Michigan Cane: created with my kids as a gift, it used 100% Michigan sourced materials, was hand-carved, and inlayed with polished Petoskey stones (right).

Advanced Perler Designs.
Similar to cross-stitch, the trick to a great design is coming up with the custom pattern. (Takes me back to the days of pixel editing). Here’s one design I did of my son.

Why “buy” when you can “make.
 Created a zombie Voodoo doll, like one I saw in a store (left) and a handmade knife sheath as a special gift (right).

School Projects.
Even the school presents challenges. Create something about a place you visited or make an animal out of a cardboard box. (Great example of thinking outside the box).

Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Cars.
Each year my kids want to create something better than the last. My challenge is to take their vision and give them the tools, materials and “simple steps” to create it themselves.

From Bunnies to Braids.
From making toys to getting my daughter ready for school, everything is a creative outlet.

Home Projects.
When it comes to painting a room or creating a custom lego table, nothing is simple or escapes the hand of an creative mind.

“Bug Room” latex mural.

Sides of the Lego Table

Custom coat racks and built-in “cabin Beds”

Exterior Projects.
Even the outside receives that special touch, like a custom designed deck with 550lb. paracord rope work, instead of using railing slats.

Pumpkins are more than decorations.
At work we wanted something unique for seasonal FaceBook posts, so I carved a few projects like these. Later I made pumpkin pie.

Life is a craft that’s full of opportunities.

Daily I find fun new ways to explore it, while challenging others to listen to their inner artist and try new things. As a friend once said “Don’t wait for someone to teach you. You have a wealth of information available, so go learn for yourself.”

I hope these examples have been inspiring for you. Go forth and be craftsy my friends!