While I was sourcing decor for the Zen Den, which is my dedicated podcasting/meditation space in my house, I started becoming obsessed with small home accessories. I’ve always loved decor and accent pieces and been interested in creating my own for as long as I can remember. Unfortunately the Industrial Design space is a hard one to break into because the time and cost of development and production makes it nearly impossible for someone like me who doesn’t have the know-how or resources to bring an idea to life.  

I think a lot of us creatives, especially the ones of us who have an entrepreneurial spirit, find it extremely difficult to enter these high level pay-to-play spaces without a school background or access to manufactures. But my curiosity and this desire to try something new while using my hands in the process lead me to going back to school, and by school I mean the University of YouTube and Google. It’s the place that I’ve learned pretty much everything creative. Photography, sewing, web design, graphic design, podcasting and many other formative lessons have all been learned by me simply leaning into my curiosity and being self-efficient. I must say, I got a crash-course and it was really fun going down the rabbit hole of this new hobby/endeavor.

Over the last three months I’ve spent a lot of time in my workshop (garage) where I’ve been playing with this new interest, cement. I’ve been exploring different ways of creating shapes from molds and what ratio of raw materials to water works best. After a ton of failed attempts, I’ve finally dialed in the final consistency, texture and overall aesthetic that I was looking for. It was really interesting to be a total rookie again and working with foreign materials because all of the mess-up’s and failures lead me to creative freedom. I finally took off the training wheels, meaning I put the molds aside and started working on my own curiosities. I began by asking myself what I need for my space? Was there a problem that I could solve without having to go to the store for a solution? What aesthetic is appealing to me but still serves a function and purpose? What would I buy if I was to see it at one of my favorite interior boutiques? 

This sent me into an almost obsessive state where I began to meticulously make my own original pieces. Like a kid that just got his first Lego® set, I was building and creating something new all day, every day. I can’t lie, some of these loosely labeled artisanal creations were horrible. They looked like I gave a toddler a handful of putty in an attempt to keep them occupied while someone does some online shopping. Others weren’t bad, but still not quite there yet. My perfectionist mind said they’re not ready even though my friends loved what I was making and started taking home the pieces I wasn’t going to use – “wait, you made this… can I buy it?!”. That’s always a good source of affirmation that you’re onto something and it was nice to give my friends a trinket from my entry stage into this new project.

I’ve currently been working on a small batch of original handmade pieces over the past month that I’m really excited about. This will be my first offering using this new material and it’s invigorating because it was super challenging to finally get the pieces to a place where I feel comfortable to sell them. I try to be extremely mindful of how hard people work for their money and how special it is when someone buys something from me. If the product isn’t at a level that I’m happy with, I’d rather keep shaping it until it meets my satisfaction. That’s probably why my perfectionist brain doesn’t allow me to release things very often. 

Stay tuned for more info on SS/WORKSHOP™