A few weeks into the new year and it is time to take a look back and see what happened in 2013. Mind you, I quit coffee cold turkey yesterday (for the 432nd time), and am writing this with taped up eyelids dosed on pain meds. Let’s see if I can get through it. Here we go:
2013, just like 2012 was a year of massive change for me, Mr. Lentz. In the beginning of the year I had just returned from an 8 month journey through Central and South America. I was in culture shock. There are a lot of things you don’t get while traveling and one of the biggest ones that bothered me was the lack of some solid mental stimulation. Traveling is great, it is fun to see new things, new places, new people…but I ultimately missed what I had begun in my workshop in Boulder, CO. That is – designing, building,writing…all around creating. This keeps me busy and gives me a feeling of fulfillment like no other South American ancient ruin can compete with.
So…once I returned to the States, I packed up my stuff in Boulder, CO and headed out West to begin my work anew.
I started from the very beginning, taking a close look at my previous designs and reworking them. Ultimately creating entirely new ideas that were much more refined.
I did the same for my rings, creating new designs, using better materials and in more efficient ways.
I took a break and philosophized a bit about creativity and why you shouldn’t care.
Then I made a few more rings…
I expanded on my ideas a bit, trying to push them to the limit of what was possible. Out came this Grass Knuckle.
I took the time to write several tutorials, which I am proud to say have helped numerous makers like myself begin in the world of makin’. The one below is about how to build a quick, cheap and sturdy workbench.
Then I threw together an idea about a wood and leather lunch box. It came together nicely, but I am still looking to improve the design.
Several fans requested a simple leather wallet tutorial…so I made one. I realized that a lot goes into a simple leather piece like this just to get it looking right.
Partly due to my own forgetting of the steps to make a leather belt (there are many) – I made a tutorial of one. This guy now sells in my shop, it’s a fine piece of work.
There were a few ideas I had to scrap. The one below is a leather and dye combo I do not use anymore – in favor of natural dyes I make by hand.
This phone wallet below was scrapped. It included a secret interior pouch…that was extremely time consuming to make.
Many new wallets were born this year. The time taken to conceptualize, design, template, create, refine and finish for sale in the shop is immense! – But worth every second. I love designing new work, the best part is when I condition up the leather with my own hand made leather balm (extra virgin olive oil, beeswax, carnauba wax), the leather glows with deep and rich colors.
Constantly experimenting with new ways to create natural colors from vegetable matter…I added two more color options Dust Storm and Stallion – though soon to be combined into just the Stallion.
For a brief period I created a desertscape for photographing my leather goods. This proved hard to maintain in the longrun and I quickly switched back to wood backdrops.
Realizing the importance of getting away is crucial to the creative mind. I took a break in Colorado, hiked a fourteener and let my mind be free and wander without anything or anyone to tell me what needed to be done next. I recommend this for everyone – take a nice solo week and drive off somewhere towards nature. You will be glad you did.
Some designs from the past were revived for a custom order. Only to quickly disappear again back into the past.
Mistakes were made, plenty of them. In fact it is quite common as a craftsman to fudge things up every now and then.
I burnt some leather too.
Then I created even more leather designs, a purse, cuff and the belt from my tutorial.
Towards the end of the year I disappeared into my workshop, not seeing the light of day for weeks on end. It got busy. Very busy, very quickly. It was a blast and I worked my tail off.
Looking back is kind of crazy, just reading through this and realizing how far I have come since my travels ended. There are a lot of new ideas and projects coming along that I will be sharing on here shortly. I have a few fun powertools…still waiting to be unpacked due to the craziness of the Holiday Rush). With them I plan to make bigger things – things for the home and maybe some art. This next year looks like it will be a busy one as well, but I am preparing for it in advance. That’s the great thing about making mistakes – hopefully you remember them and learn a bit from them. I think it’s important that when we are all sittin’ back and thinking about the new year ahead of us, that we also look at the year behind us and continue on that path of improvement. Cheers the 2014!