january featured crafter - richard dooling - wood turner

RGD_me012514 Well hello there, friends! We hope your 2014 has gotten off to an excellent start. Once again, Kitsch is getting a bit of a makeover and is looking mighty fine. In the midst of beautifying the shop and replenishing our very depleted post-holiday inventory, we took some time to learn more about talented wood turner, Richard Dooling. This charming and funny fellow is responsible for the beautiful, hand-turned, hardwood bud vases and bottle toppers we just recently began selling. The graceful curves of Richard's pieces are a testament to this man's mastery over and respect for organic materials. His bold color choices and often playful shapes make these eye-catching pieces the perfect addition to Kitsch's crafty arsenal. If you'd like to know more about this craftsman, take a moment to admire Richard's work and read the lovely little interview we had with him.

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Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in natural forms and that’s part of what originally brought me to working with wood. I also find inspiration in the work of other artists and artisans. The Internet is an amazing resource for ideas and techniques.

What's your studio playlist?

Jazz, classical, rock – you name it. I listen to a lot of NPR including Jae Sinnett, Paul Shugrue and This American Life. I have hearing protection on so much that often it’s just silent and I’m good with that.

Where is your studio?

I have a small shop overlooking the water. The view is great! It’s about the size of a one-car garage so it’s tight but it works.

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How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?

Just go into the shop and do something – anything.

When I headed a business art department and one of the artists was having a hard time with a project I used to say, “Do what you know and then see where you are.” Sometimes the rut is simple inertia so I just get moving.

There’s always something that needs to be done in the shop and I usually come up with other ideas once I’m out there. I often just put a piece of wood in the lathe and start turning. Sometimes having no predetermined direction can reveal new and unexpected avenues.

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Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind?

I don’t go to a particular book but rather typically choose either philosophy, science or escapist fiction to re-charge.

You have a time machine. Where are you going?

Forward!

What's your dream project - if you had all the time and materials in the world?

I would like to build all the furniture in a house of my own design.

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What artists influence your work - who are your creative idols?

There are so many great woodworkers that I can’t say I have any particular idols. Maybe it’s more like I have too many idols. I am especially drawn to contemporary design as well as the Arts and Crafts movement.

My first interests were in drawing and painting and those influences are the foundation for what I consider to be aesthetically pleasing.

Describe yourself in 5 words.

My wife offered up: smart, funny, tenacious, detailed, engaging

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Describe your work in 5 words.

Meticulous, whimsical, organic, textural, tactile

Tell us something funny that happened recently.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum . . .

How do you find balance?

That’s what the shop does for me. I’m not a happy camper when I go too long with no shop time.

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Is there a story behind your blog/shop name?

I’m in the process of getting my site up but the name is 7 SIDEWALKS. It’s a reference to an idea I have about making a living from multiple sources rather than one main job. The number 7 is meaningful in many contexts and it feels inclusive to me.

What's your typical day?

Atypical.

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We're handing you plane tickets to anywhere. Where are you going?

Paris, France. There’s an awful lot of art I haven’t seen and a lot of food to be eaten. Something that struck me when I visited Paris is that it is a city of neighborhoods. It exists on a human scale with no massive skyscrapers dwarfing everything else.

What's your favorite local haunt?

My wife and I like going out with friends to try new restaurants. Good food, good wine and good conversation makes a great evening. We have a few places we go to occasionally but we don’t go anywhere exclusively.