Looking for my woodworking portfolio? I’ve migrated a few of the pieces to this nearly defunct site. Please, instead, check out my current portfolio, which includes woodwork and illustration. Thanks!
My Bauhaus graduation piece from my portfolio site
After you’ve sweated, cursed and coughed your way through the first 51 weeks under the thumb of the now departed Berthold Schwager, the final week at the Bauhaus Apprenticeship Institute of Chicago was devoted to your graduation project.
I had actually finalized the design the week before and cruised that weekend out to a sawyer in the Fox River Valley. This man, whose name I wish I could remember, had thousands of board feet of nearly any species you could want, all air dried and reasonably priced. I nabbed five or six 8/4 walnut boards, along with some 6/4 ash got cracking.
A week later, and I had this loveseatish thing. It’s made to have cushions, and is nice and comfy with them on. No screws or nails, just joinery and glue.
And it’s for sale.
One of my Bauhaus pieces from my portfolio site
My final project before graduation was a this bathroom vanity made from catalpa.
We had a massive press at the Bauhaus, and it didn’t work with any fancy buttons or wires. You’d get your pieces ready, prepare the glue, layout and then do your best to apply constant, even pressure across the entire surface by twisting massive footed bolts with a huge, heavy wrench. To add some fun, the glue had about an hour working time, so there’s no time for a smoke break or to consider the process at a leisurely pace.
In the second photo, you can see the three layers of the plywood I made in the press. The piece is bookmatched horizontally and vertically across the entire face, and I’m proud of how it turned out, but that was one of the most tense hours of my life.
One of my Bauhaus furniture pieces from my portfolio site
Ah, the Triple Helix. aka zee trrrripel helix, aka the trizzle hizzle.
Jared, without question the most talented and devoted apprentice, had been tasked by Berthold with making two of these beauties. He made the pieces for both: precisely engineered 4” thick cherry that was then to be carefully assembled and sculpted down with an angle grinder fitted with a wood carving disc.
This wasn’t too long before Jared’s graduation, and he had time enough to finish only one, so when he left in a puff of sawdust, there sat another pile of pieces. Berthold pulled me off whatever I had been working on and put me on the case.
Other than the cigarette boxes I had been assigned as my first project (of which there are no pictures), this was my favorite.
Here it is! The long awaited and much anticipated Birth to Buyout by superfun power team Coco Soodek and Roxanne Saylor. You should check out their very informative and interesting (unusual for business law) blog Profit and Laws.
Illustrations for the book are by yours truly, which, of course, makes my momma proud.
I’m not really one for business books as they are, in my experience, dry as melba toast that fell behind the couch a decade ago. B to B really makes the subject fun and interesting by having the lessons tie in with a story of two likable office drones in their quest to build a very nice escape hatch. And I’m not just saying nice things because they paid me. The check cleared, so I can say whatever I want now.
Here they are, the heroes of Birth to Buyout, Hap and Haz, ready to ride their brilliant idea straight out of the office. And if their idea is powerful enough to propel them, perhaps the blast will also be powerful enough to turn their former office into a smoking crater. One can hope. They just need the help of a couple friends, and they’ll be on their way. I won’t spoil the surprise, but I think it’s safe to assume the lead characters in a book about starting your own business don’t fail.
Have you ever worked in a cubicle farm? I’m sorry I brought it up. Awful, wasn’t it?
I remember the winter being particularly bleak: I’d stumble through the frozen waste before dawn, always just missing the El to the Loop. I’d wait for the next train and be late again. The tint of the few office windows filtered out any useful doses of winter’s low angle sun, so we had to make do with florescense. I’d arrive home after the sun had set, and so felt as if I had to endure all the horror of a sunless Arctic Circle winter, without the joys of the Aurora Borealis or a cute Finn wearing nothing but a smile and a knit cap.
Of course, we’d occasionally leave the office on box-delivery missions, or to suffer a Chicago winter cigarette, but we never enjoyed that sweet mix of sun and freedom.
You may not be able to afford a high-powered corporate attorney like Gravity, but you don’t need to if you buy the book.
Disclaimer: you actually probably do need advice from a real attorney if you plan on starting a business. My advice doesn’t count as legal advice.
The closest I’ve come to being an attorney was pushing boxes of documents around the Loop: firm to copier, copier to firm. Through sleety Chicago January or boiling Chicago July, the legal beast is always famished, and feeds on a steady diet of orphans and reams of paper. A loathsome business, but the 55 CSRs were the best bunch I’ve ever had the pleasure to work a miserable job with.
Ah, Seymour. The missing component. Will his engineering prowess help pull Hap and Haz from the bowels of cubicle serfdom? What will become of them? Why not buy the book and find out?
And now, after all their hard work, sacrifice and expensive legal advice, our heroes have reached the apex of human existence: buzzed on a beach with a bottomless bank account. May we all meet the same fate.