Tomorrow is a big day for me. My partner in rhyme, Ryan Ford and I launch our No Walls For The Small Amazon Bestseller Giveaway. Neither one of us have ever done anything like this before, but so far so good. The idea is that if buy our book ($12.99) from Amazon.com tomorrow you will get a variety of Etsy.com shop coupons valuing up to $300! Go to our website www.nowallsforthesmall.com and in 3 easy steps you will have a killer kid's book, lots of freebies from some great artists, and all the while donating to a kid's charity.
Anywho, if it was not for this giveaway I never would have had the pleasure of working with a woman who is a carpenter, boat builder, mother, and underwater shark photographer. A real renaissance woman if you ask me. The cutting board pictured above is just a little sample from her Etsy.com shop Dragonfly Woodwrights. May I introduce Margery Bradshaw, a Queen of all trades.
1. How did you get into carpentry? What inspired you to start Dragonfly Woodwrights?
The easy answer is I blame it on my mother. She was always doing something artistic from ceramics, toll painting, stain glass, wood working, etc. We would do it all at the kitchen table. We would stay up all night making art. She ran the Wood Shop at the Newport Naval Base, Newport, RI. I went to the University's of Rhode Island from 1993-1996 for Art, and got my BFA in Photography. In 2004 I was working for United Airlines at TF Green Airport here in RI. I wan unhappy and needed a change. So I applied and was accepted into the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI. And I was hooked on wood again. I started building boats.
Then last January 2010 I was laid off from boat building and started an after school woodworking program at my youngest son's, Xavier, school, Quest Montessori School in Exeter, RI. We built a 21 foot strip kayak. I made some cutting boards for the school raffle and they were well received and some of the parents started asking where they could buy them. Dragonfly WoodWrights was born.
The name Dragonfly comes from my oldest son, Zackarie, we watched the movie Dragonfly which is about a mother and child's connection, since then he always gives me gifts of Dragonfly's so the the name was very easy to come up with. My boys are my inspiration.
2. Wood comes from living things. Is there anything you have learned from working with a medium that has a life of its own?
Yes, that even after its been cut down and turned in to a form of art it still moves. What I mean is the wood will move as the weather changes, it will "cup" or "wrop" as the weather changes. Its fun to watch.
3. Aside from your gorgeous housewares on your Etsy.com site, you are also a wooden boat builder. As a woman you are a pioneer in that field. What has your journey been like carving your path in a male dominated field?
Its been wonderful. I've worked in a few shops were I've been the only women. You have to have thick skin at times and remember your in a man's world, but for the most part everyone has been amazing. I've been able to come up with some unique solutions to problems that the guys never thought of.
4. What advice do you have for people who are purchasing a piece of woodwork? What characteristics make for good quality craftsmanship? Or should I say craftswomanship?
If possible look at it, feel it. You can tell a lot of the quality by the way it feels. If a board is laminated together and you can feel were each piece starts and ends, I would stay away from that board. But if you run your hand over it and it feels like one board, you know its of the highest quality. Creativity and determination make for amazing craftwomenship. You need to be able to see what a piece can look like while its still in the rough.
5. You have two sons, one of which is an Army serviceman and just returned home from Iraq. What is his favorite dish that you cook? Could you share the recipe with us?
My Auntie Pattie Klienfelter's Homemade Mac and Cheese
1 box of large shells
1 1lb of white Land O Lakes American Cheese
2 Cups of Whole Milk
2 Table spoons of corn starch
1 cup of water
1. Cook the shells as normal and set aside
2. Cut the cheese in to small squares
3. In a large pot pour 2 cups of whole milk and warm over a medium heat.
4. Stir continuously while adding the squares of cheese.
5. Once all the cheese is melted, take the two table spoons of corn starch and add them to the 1 cup of water, stir until full mixed then add to the milk and cheese sauce.
6. Stir until it boils and thickens up. Then remove from the heat and pour over the shells. Cover with foil and put in the oven on 400 degrees.
Zackarie likes when there is a nice brown crust on the top!