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My Journey From Building Furniture To Creating Art

My Bailey Builds journey started out as a dream and a calling.  I believed that I was to “do what I love to do.”  All I knew was to step out in faith and start doing just that.  One of the ways I loved to create was through building with reclaimed wood.  The journey started through creating unique pieces of furniture.  I realized, after my first craft show, that this joy of mine could actually bring a profit, and I was determined to take it to the next level.

Building furniture and working with customers to create in-home installations had grown into a full time commitment.  I began to realize that there were aspects of furniture building that weren’t for me.  What I loved about the creation process was the artistry and aesthetic design, rather than the pressure of a solid structural design.  I also realized that working on location for clients wasn’t something that worked for me and my family.  It was time for me to start thinking about how I could innovate, and come up with new ideas.

In those beginning days, I wouldn’t have referred to myself as an entrepreneur. I always thought that working for myself would mean the stress of long days and crunching numbers, and it sounded like so much responsibility.  It’s funny, because six years later, while those aspects might be true, being an entrepreneur is so much more than that!  What makes it a game changer is when all those things become worth it, because you’re doing something you love, something you believe in!  And one of the first attributes I would use to describe a successful entrepreneur is the ability to innovate.  

Innovation is something that comes natural for me.  I love to come up with new solutions and new ideas to break through convention and limitations.  This skill has become an integral part of our business model, and I believe it started building the foundation back in our home garage during that first year.

I remember staring at the piles of scrap wood that was accumulating in my garage.  There was only so much kindling I could use, and I hated the idea of discarding it.  After all, part of my work was to take discarded material and give it new life.  I started working with those smaller pieces, cutting them and placing them in patterns.  I had already been incorporating chevron and herringbone designs into my furniture.  Why not just create a piece on it’s own?  Through trial and error, I worked with the wood and honed in on my technique and build process.  I felt this creative charge that a songwriter feels when the words and melody begin to coincide, and you become enveloped by the process of your creation.  I was finding my niche, my passion.

I remember working many hours in the garage.  I would take breaks to be with the family, but would find myself plugging away until I felt like it was getting too late to be running my saws in our neighborhood.  After several finished pieces, I stepped back to look at my work.  I remember being stuck on what it should be called.  It was no longer furniture.  And they weren’t really signs.  I decided on wood wall art; Wood Mosaic Art.  And if I were to call it art, then I realized that It was time for me to claim the title “Artist.”  It felt bold, yet I believed I had created something that was different, and I was both nervous and excited to share it with the world… or at least the next local craft fair.

I shared my new art with friends and family.  Their reaction and encouragement helped motivate me to prepare for the next big Art event in our area.  Nathanael helped me create a booth that would be able to display my work, and his support during that time was so empowering.  I’m so thankful to have a spouse that is truly my partner in all things.  His belief in me helped me to believe in myself.

It was such a surreal experience, waiting in nervous anticipation to see how the world would react to my Wood Mosaic Art.  I remember waiting for the doors to open to the event, hoping that people would like what they saw when they came to my booth.  I knew that I was in the midst of living out that calling on my life, “to do what I love to do.”  I believed that as long as I was trying my best to work and respond through that lens, that the outcome of that day wouldn’t be the defining factor of success or failure.

The response was overwhelming.  I had given the audience something different and new.  Something that appealed across age brackets.  The beauty and warmth of reclaimed wood, and the patterns and added earthy tones were something that could find its home in any space.  People were buying my art.  I realized that day that the innovation that took place in my garage had moved me beyond furniture and into the world of art.  I was overwhelmed.  I was thrilled.  And most of all, I was so thankful.  It was such a confirmation that I was carving out my place, and had found a way to contribute to my family while doing something that brought me so much joy.

Thanks for celebrating our 6th Birthday this month of October, as I look back on this amazing journey.  Next week, I’ll share about our business growing pains, and the need to expand our workspace and step out in another leap of faith.

Make sure to follow along on Instagram for all the fun opportunities we have during our Birthday month of October.