Thursday, September 10, 2009

Discovering My Calling

by Colleen Baker of Tactile Baby

I have very little formal training in my chosen crafts. Most of what I know has been learned from osmosis. With grandparents that survived the depression on lonely rural farms I learned the basics – and I learned them early.

fire truck.jpg

Unlike my grandparents I grew up in relative privilege. My parents took advantage of all the conveniences their middle-class suburban lifestyles afforded them.

“The family talent skipped a generation” my mother is fond of saying as she quizzically watches me seam together a newly knitted sweater.

No doubt about it, I was deeply affected by my grandparents tales, and often daydreamed about what it would have been like to pioneer in the newly settled wilds of central Canada.

I loved fashion for certain, but why buy that dress on the rack when I could make one – except in a color that would suit me better, and that neckline would have to be changed too…)

Today there is a trendy name for that kind of person, a “DIY’er”. But in the 80’s I was considered a bit of an oddball.

old car.jpg After the last of my grandparents passed away in the late 1990’s I found myself isolated and uninspired.

I turned to books and workshop instructors to fulfill my need to learn; my techniques improved but there was something lacking.

And then in 2000 I met my future husband. Three months after we began dating I walked into my future-in-laws home for the first time and I instantly felt at home. In addition to the warm embraces that greeted me, the entire home felt familiar and comforting.

loon.jpgOriginal artwork decorated the walls, hand crochet afghans draped over couches and quilts covered the beds. But most intriguing of all to me, were the hand carved duck decoys and birds that filled the display shelves in the family room.

My soon to be father-in-law was a wood-worker.

After realizing that my interest was genuine (and not just a ploy to get in his good graces), my father-in-law became a gracious and patient teacher.

Soon my love for wood-working became obsessive (a girl can never have too many pairs of shoes, or too many linear feet of curly maple). I had found a new teacher, and my passion for a new craft was ignited.giraffe

When my husband and I moved into our first home one of the “must haves” on our property checklists was room for a workshop. Fantastically the house we fell in love with also happened to be the former home of a professional potter – workshop space was already established.

I hold my father-in-law largely responsible for the fabulous turn my life has taken since opening my Etsy shop just over a year ago. His instruction, his confidence in my work and his encouragement have helped me discover just who it is that I was meant to become, a wood-worker.

1 comment :

  1. What a lovely post about the birth and encouragement of your talents!

    What a blessing, too, for the relationship with your grandparents. A treasure!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...