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THE ARTISTS

Stick - featured artists

Anne is an artist based in Seattle who travels across the United States to teach woodworking, writes regularly for “Furniture and Cabinetmaking” magazine and is currently authoring a book on bootstrap woodworking and farming.

After working in a “soul-crushing job in the tech industry,” she went full time as a woodworker and organic farmer in January 2018 and hasn’t looked back since. With a very significant following across social media and YouTube, Anne – or “Anne of All Trades” as she’s more commonly known – has become a digital educator for a large group of aspiring artists, woodworkers and farmers.

Always with a big smile, Anne’s deep love and passion for animals and her work as a woodworker is easily translated in all of her entertaining and educational videos, as well as her social media posts. Overall she’s a truly inspiring woman who works hard to be a living example of someone who takes risks and challenges the societal norms on a daily basis.

THE ART

Driftwood - Featured Artist

THE QUESTIONS

Stick - featured artists

How did you get into working with wood?

My grandfather was a woodworker, and rumor has it that I learned to wield a hammer before I learned to walk. I loved working with him in his shop, but I only got to be there with him once a year for a week or two throughout my childhood and he passed away when I was 12. I have always enjoyed working with my hands, and whether it was chopping our winter’s supply of firewood with my dad, starting at age 5, or building tree forts in the forest in Montana using crude tools and cruder supplies, the wooden medium has always captured my interest. I didn’t get my first proper set of tools until about seven years ago when I finally had a garage and a bit of a disposable income to invest. It was love at first sight, and it’s been tough to pry me out of my workshop ever since.

 

How did you develop the skill base to do the work that you do?

I was mostly self-taught as I got established. Almost four years ago, after I’d had a good number of successful furniture projects under my belt and a growing business of my own in the industry, I was offered the opportunity to run the woodworking program at Pratt Fine Arts Centre. There, I was given the reigns to design the wood education and access program. I had to maintain the machinery, hire teachers, and create course curriculum. I designed the curriculum I wished I’d had available to me when I got started, and the program grew really quickly. I spent as much time with the instructors as I could, gleaning whatever I could, and also got my first opportunities to teach my own classes, which was also a wonderful learning experience. I worked at Pratt for just over two years, then I was able to take my content creation business full time, and I’ve been doing that ever since. Now I get to travel all over the country to teach, but also get to teach from the comfort of my own shop through videos and magazine articles, and even better, I can finally afford to take the classes I wanted to.

 

What inspires your creations?

People! I love working with my friends, the single best way to get inspired, for me, at least, is to dream with my friends.

 

What would you tell your younger self starting out on your artistic journey?

Stop buying tools and start taking classes. You’ll save so much time and money in the long run, you’ll make lots of friends who love making stuff, and you’ll learn the right stuff you need to get off to the right start.

 

Do you sell your work?

Very rarely. I stopped doing commissions a few years ago because it wasn’t good for my mental health. Now, if I sell stuff at all, I build my dream project on spec, then offer it for sale at a price that makes me feel good. If it sells, great, if it doesn’t, I get to keep something I’m truly proud of.

 

What is your favorite Arbortech Tool and why?

I love the Mini Carver because it is so versatile. It removes a ton of material in a hurry, but also offers enough control to do detail work. I love to use it in conjunction with hand tools because it saves a ton of time and also allows me to remove material from the exact spot I need to follow up with hand tools and leave a really nice surface.
Mini Carver

If you were a type of wood what would you be and why?

I would be a rough sawn walnut crotch slab. Walnut is a fairly easy going wood, but it really doesn’t take much at all to reveal the kinds of incredible hidden character. I’m often told I’m like an onion, you keep peeling back the layers and finding unexpected new things. In a walnut crotch, you can find all kinds of unexpected colors – reds, oranges, greens, purples… One thing very few people consider is that walnut doesn’t age well. It gets lighter and less beautiful the longer its grain is exposed. I think that’s a bit of a funny metaphor because I’m a farmer. I work hard all the time, rain or sun or snow, and I’m bound to have rough skin and wrinkles aplenty way before my time.

 

How do you like to spend your time when you are not working with wood?

I own an organic farm! I’m always out in my garden and tending to my animals. It keeps me busy, but it’s worth every minute.

SHOWCASE PIECE

Driftwood - Featured Artist

Modern Rocking Chair

Anne loves building Windsor-style chairs, and this one is constructed of oak. Windsor chairs require skill and finesse in multiple disciplines of woodwork, which is why they’re one of Anne’s favorite things to build.

“Building chairs, you have the opportunity to see a chair take shape directly from the log of a tree,” says Anne. Building a chair is a physically demanding process, first splitting the material from the log, then riving it closer to shape, then shaping the spindles, arm and crest-rail with draw-knives and spoke-shaves.

Anne says that there’s a lot to be learned in the process. You learn about grain strength, grain direction, and the importance of sharp tools. You learn patience during the repetitive process of fitting the spindles. You learn concentration and focus figuring the drilling angles and spindle placement. You learn to be detail oriented refining the shape of the entire chair, and you learn to get better at turning in an effort to make all the legs and stretchers match. More patience comes with the painting, burnishing and oiling process, and then, you get the incredible feeling of accomplishment every single time you sit in the chair you made with your own two hands.

 For more awe inspiring projects and information about Anne, follow her on: