Working at the Barn
I have taken a leap of faith and finally taken on a workshop, away from my own home. After 10 years in my comfort zone, I no longer work from home. What I do have is a rustic old milking barn, solar powered I might add, which we have converted into our little workshop. It is set on a working farm so the daily commute involving cows, hares and tractors, is quite lovely really! Having views and sunsets is also an added bonus! And I take it all in as I arrive to work! To get a glimpse of the barn take a look at our little video here.
I'm in the process of trying to take videos of the work I do so that you can really get a feel for the work and time involved, however to say I am struggling with this is an understatement. I'm a very ugly worker! The faces I pull - really, I can't subject people to that! This means editing of said videos, is becoming a full time job! If anyone has any tips, please feel free to share. All I can think of is to wear a full face mask!
Perhaps I should explain the process here. The market is saturated, right now, with little wooden signs and now the popular framed signs, however I stand firm in my belief that my products are completely different, unique and made to last. I use reclaimed wood, eco friendly and high quality Farrow & Ball paints, and donate to charity with every purchase. I hand make each product. I don't use vinyl stickers for the lettering and I don't print onto the wood - both examples would be a lot easier and less time consuming, but I want to stick to real handmade, the much more difficult route, but the route leading to better results and longevity.
This means hours of my time is spent making the reclaimed wood into paintable pieces of wood. I have to remove the wood from the pallets, de-nail, heavily sand, and cut the wood. Once they are in the best state they can be in, I prepare the wood by staining in my favourite driftwood wood stain (and for the painted signs - priming, in a Farrow and Ball primer and painting in the final colour) Once dry, they are sanded back to create a vintage effect, which is the easy part as the character is already there in the reclaimed wood.
I spend time on creating designs for each style of sign. I then turn these into stencils. I hand pick the letters out of the stencils to create a usable stencil (which can only be used once). I apply this to the wood which requires huge amounts of patience, as they are very fiddly and don't stick too well. I then paint over the stencil a few times, allowing each coat to dry (patience needed here too!). The stencil is then peeled off and your sign is created. There are times that, no matter what tricks I use, the lettering has still bled through on the uneven parts. I touch up where I can, but more often than not, I will sand it right back and start again. A true labour of love.
This is a very small insight into the process involved in creating signs for gifts or for your own home. I take so much pride in my work and hope this reflects in each piece that you receive.
Thanks for reading.