"Carving out a place for Myself"

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Blog entry by mpounders posted 10-30-2010 12:16 AM 4777 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So here is the first entry on my new blog! I have always been interested in art since I was young. I particular enjoyed drawing, especially super heros. When I was in junior high, I casually sauntered into the art classes that were starting and pretended that I had actually signed up for them and I was supposed to be there. Either they never figured it out or someone was kind enough to support a kid who reaaaalllly wanted to be in art class. I had hopes of continuing art in college, but being poor and finally realizing I couldn’t sneak into college somwhat changed my plans. I enlisted in the Navy and continued painting and drawing and creating things even as I learned the skills for my eventual professional career with computers. I started woodworking after I married my lovely wife. We loved antiques and discovered I could get some really good deals if I was willing to repair or re-finish things. A lot of antiques have ornate carvings and I slowly became interested in that aspect of furniture repair. That really peaked with a rocking horse that I made for my daughter.

I gradually stopped woodworking as my daughter grew and I had less furniture to repair and more soccer and more work and just more everything. My tools rusted and saw very little use. Until we visited a craft show and I saw canes and carvings of wood spirits. I bought one and eventually told my wife. “I bet I could carve one of those!” That was in November of 2008 and I became really interested in woodcarving. It required a lot less wood than furniture (usually) and a lot less tools (so I keep telling myself). At the beginning of March 2009, I was let go from my job of 16 years.

This was somewhat shocking, but I had hopes of going into business with a former co-worker later int the year. I did the usual job search things, but I had a certain peace, a certain sense that things were going to be OK. So, I decided I was going to use this time of being “under-employed” to immerse myself in carving, to learn, to create, to see if I could make a living doing it, or if I even wanted to.

I spent as much as 13-14 hours per day for about six months and sold a few things and eventually was fortunate enough to get another job in the computer field. I also learned that I love to carve, that I AM capable of learning new tricks, and that I prefer carving as an art rather than a craft. What I realized is that I have more fun when I am creating things that interest me (rather than carving plaques and signs). I intend to continue to learn and improve my skills and I have also improved in marketing my art. Drawing is just not as interesting anymore….especially when I compare it to carving out something new for myself and for others.

Thanks for looking,

Mike P.

-- Mike P., Arkansas,

10 comments so far

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3482 days

#1 posted 10-30-2010 12:35 AM

You make a great case for woodworking as art. It truly is an art form.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View shipwright's profile


8000 posts in 2847 days

#2 posted 10-30-2010 12:40 AM

You certainly have the carving skills and the creative energy part in hand. If you can manage to attain the same same level in the arguably harder (for the artist anyway) field of marketing, you’re on your way to the top.
The very best of luck to you. Your talent deserves a breakthrough.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View TJ65's profile


1378 posts in 3099 days

#3 posted 10-30-2010 12:47 AM

So there you have it!
You were meant to be doing what you enjoy and are good at.
Life is funny that way, I really believe in fate and just let things happen.
They usually work out better than trying to push things.

-- Theresa,

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3119 days

#4 posted 10-30-2010 03:34 AM

You can’t help being an artist Mike I’m with TJ whatever we do in life it will all eventually filter down to what’s in our soul. I’m not great at quotes but someone said “To thine own self be true” & that is what you are doing

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 2938 days

#5 posted 10-30-2010 01:19 PM

Hi Mike.

“Twice blessed is he who earns his bread doing that which he loves to do!”

Words to live by.

Good luck my friend.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View helluvawreck's profile


31654 posts in 2916 days

#6 posted 10-30-2010 01:28 PM

Mike, that was a great story. I hope everything works out ok and that your carving skills grow by leaps and bound. Congratulations on starting your blog.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4349 days

#7 posted 10-30-2010 03:32 PM

You have a great advantage Mike,

You can draw as well as carve.

You can create your own patterns.

I can carve, but not draw too well, but I’m not in the selling business, so it doesn’t really matter..

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2906 days

#8 posted 10-30-2010 03:38 PM

thanks for that. A great view of the journey that you are on.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4455 days

#9 posted 10-30-2010 04:50 PM

great story, and you make an excellent point of why being laid-off can be the motivation to rediscover who you were originally created to be. Your work is incredible, and I hope great success for you, in whatever ways you count success. I too enjoyed art class, but the hudlums took that class also, and I was tired of being bullied and pushed around every class, so I took choir instead…...and I still can’t sing. I should have taken Karate back then and stayed in art class.

Many hopeful wishes for your dreams,

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Div's profile


1653 posts in 2990 days

#10 posted 10-30-2010 10:28 PM

Nice blog Mike, I enjoyed it. I’m looking out for the next one…

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

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