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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


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?



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.