Name
Katie Freeman

Where are you located? 
Iowa City, Iowa

What is your day job?
Quality Assurance Consultant & Facilitator

Do you attend a makerspace/fablab/hackerspace? 
Yes. I have my own shop space and also attend the Iowa City Fab Lab maker space

photo: David Greedy.

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What kinds of stuff do you make? 
Heirloom quality wood artwork and furniture for bold homes

How did you get started making stuff? 
Even though I never met him, my great great grandfather inspired me a lot with woodworking. When my grandmother was pregnant with my Mom, he made a crib and a dresser for her that has been passed down through the family. They are both made of Walnut. My grandmother has several other pieces of furniture that he made, all made from walnut.

I fell in love with the idea as a small child that someone could make something for someone else that could be passed down through generations. Besides basswood racing cars in Junior High Shop Class, my first true introduction to woodworking and a wood project was an art table for my little sisters. I was a Freshman in College and they were two years old, they are twins.

I had the HUGE idea about making a table where the top could totally flip over as well as go up 90 degrees. One side of the top was just wood, the other side was dry erase board. The idea was it could be used as a table or as a stand-up white board. I had grand ideas about making wooden gears with a big cog that my sisters could turn on their own. Though my end result didnt match up to my grand idea, it still got me started on the path of making.

 photo David Greedy

What is something that you’ve made that you’re really proud of? 
I’m really proud of the first serious woodworking project I did, a hanging wall clock. The clock was an assignment for and introduction to woodworking class I took about 8 years ago. Though there was a general design that we could work from, I really made the design my own from the wood I chose to work with, redwood, to adding in details like sea glass for the clock face. I used so many new skills on that project and put so much time and energy into it. It is one of those pieces that will always hang in my own home. It did also earn a blue ribbon at the San Diego County Fair.

 

What is next on your project list? 
Next on my project list is a set of custom end tables as a wedding present for one of my little sisters. After that is a coffee table that will be a part of my new living room collection.

what is something you’d like to work with but you haven’t yet? 
I have worked with leather on a very small scale and not integrated with my furniture design, I would really love to try it with a furniture piece or two.

Any advice for people reading this? 
When just getting started in woodworking, start with a small project that only requires one to two tools. Build as many projects as you can with those two tools. This helps build your confidence. Then slowly increase tools and skills one tool or skill at a time. Go slow and know that even the “best” woodworkers make mistakes with every project, they just have more practice in hiding those mistakes.