Woodworking in America: Lauren Matthews
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We are interviewing producers from all 50 states. Today we present Lauren Matthews, a Maryland custom joinery.
How did you start the woodworking? Who were your mentors?
Initially I was on the market for a live entertainment console and everything I found was nice but very expensive. I challenged myself to make it on my own and decided to buy my first circular saw. After doing some things for myself in my home, I fell in love with the art of woodworking and made investments in heavier machinery. I started making and making objects for others about a year later. My original mentors were carpenters that I would find on Instagram, etsy maker and a local carpenter who made beautiful tables and with whom I now associate myself with all my wood.
What do you think is your best or favorite job? What kind of work do you do most?
It is always so difficult to choose a favorite, but recently I embarked on a project that saw me buy my first angle grinder. I used the angle grinder to create some curves in the profile that gave the desktop such a large font and flow. He put me to the test with technique and helped me grow as a carpenter. Most of my work consists of personalized desks and tables, but I have also undertaken several customized constructions such as coffee spills, cutting boards and bottle racks.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start carpentry or pursue it as a profession?
My advice would be to try! Don’t let your apprehension about using the tools or lack of physical space hold you back. Search for creative spaces, live and online education and find ways to reuse a small space in your home to curate new ideas, draw plans and create. There are so many carpenters who will take their time to teach you, give you tips and tricks and guide you. Above all, I would say to stay safe, to relax at your own pace and to look for ways to exercise.
What is your practical advice or the best woodworking technique?
It’s an old adage and really simple but measure twice, cut once! To date, this is the best advice I have ever received and it has saved me from many failed builds. As a bonus tip and some wise words someone has told me, never refuse a project. Each challenge offers you the opportunity to grow and become better than you were the day before.
Is there anyone you would like to scream or recommend to follow? Who inspires you? (It doesn’t even have to be tied to carpentry.)
Some of my favorite artists can be found on instagram on @sidelineimages (incredible artist who captures life in black and white), @alexandracliment (one of the first female carpenters I discovered when I started who inspired me) and @woodwhisperer (tons knowledge and fun to watch) to name a few. I am also inspired daily by all the carpenters and black and white wood producers who change the narrative and showcase the diversity in the various fields of art and woodworking.
See other Lauren Matthews works on her website or on Instagram @raspfiledesigns
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