New England based artist Lee Scheffey let us hangout in his workspace and catch a glimpse of his creative process. In this artist spotlight, Lee shares what being a green woodworker has taught him and offers advice on how to jump into a creative practice of your own.
Green woodworking is one of the oldest forms of carpentry, using only hand tools and untreated wood to create eco-friendly pieces. The non-mass produced nature of green woodworking allows for highly individualized and unique pieces.
Lee specializes in spoon making. Spoons are a common, everyday object that many of us overlook. Yet, being a green woodworker, Lee sees them differently.
“I find spoons to be so compelling. They are a universal tool. They’re a tool that is made to gather things: to mix, to eat, to share. They’re these beautiful implications of that tool. It’s literally a dent in a piece of wood. It’s both specific and so expansive.”
We asked Lee about creative burnout, because that’s something lots of working artists struggle with. It can be hard to stay motivated to work on your craft and finish projects. We asked Lee how he takes the ‘working’ out of woodworking to keep it feeling like play:
“I’m constantly exploring whatever piece I’m working with. That’s why I like green woodworking so much. I have no interest in making the same thing twice, and if you’re truly paying attention to the grain, you can’t.”
Lee explained that sometimes, when he feels he needs inspiration again, he’ll branch out from spoons and explore a new object—such as a bowl or a chair. Trying new approaches and experimenting can be a great way to fall out of the ‘routine’ of making, and keep things feeling new and exciting.
Lee urges each of us to develop our own creative practice. To start small, using whatever we have, and work at it over time. As a mainly self-taught woodworker, Lee’s green woodworking is a testimony to how following your passion and sticking with your craft can be rewarding.
Lee is currently an artist in residence at The Green Woodshop in Easton, Massachusetts. You can find his work at www.leespoons.com, and follow him on Instagram @lee.spoons.
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