Drawn to Create: Side Projects
At Drawn, our outside-of-the-box ideas depend on the team bringing their most creative selves to work every day. One of the ways we do that is with side projects that either exercise our brains or help us to quiet them. Read on to learn about all the different ways our team keeps their creativity flowing.
Since putting together my first shop in 2013, woodworking has been as much a hobby as a necessity with what feels like an unending number of home-improvement projects. I prefer the smaller projects over large remodels (small in size, but not necessarily scope), and love to put on an audiobook and lose myself in a project in the shop. There's nothing quite like looking up after what felt like five minutes and realizing you're covered in sawdust, hungry, and a bit sore — and that five minutes was actually five hours.
We upgraded to a king-size bed this past year. I didn’t want our queen linen sheets to go to waste, so I cut them up to create a new king-size quilt. Actually, before I cut one of them up, I used the walnuts from the huge black walnut tree in our backyard to dye the fabric brown. I had never naturally dyed something before, so that was a new and interesting process.
I have been restoring a hand-me-down RV trailer. It is a 25' Coachmen that is nearly 25 years old and was a gift from my uncle. I have spent the past nine months discovering all of the ways it has been falling apart over the years, and slowly fixing it up with a Scotland-meets-Oregon aesthetic. I had thought it would be great for our family to use while Covid made traveling more difficult, but by the time I actually finish, I am guessing this pandemic will be in the rearview mirror.
At the beginning of the pandemic, my best friend and I decided to merge our corporate experience in ecommerce and marketing to launch an Etsy shop called OMG It's Happening. We create a completely customized box that carries a special message in a balloon filled with confetti. After almost two years, it's grown much more than I ever expected it to and now, I can't see myself walking away from it — at least not any time soon.
Casey Butler Harwood
I've been working on liberating our many trees, shrubs, and outbuildings that have succumbed to blackberries, morning glories, ivy, and other aggressive climbers over the past several decades. (We bought the property last spring.) Eventually, my hope is to implement a lot of sustainable and regenerative landscaping and agricultural practices — and keep a few blackberries for eating, of course.
Between working and finishing up my last year of college, I don’t have a lot of free time for side projects right now, but over winter break, I had the time to get into embroidery. It was my first time attempting to do more than a few stitches and I decided to make a patch for a sweatshirt as a Christmas gift for my fiancé. It took me almost the full month of working on it in sporadic increments and there were a few times where I thought I had ruined Christmas with a wonky gift, but other than a small snafu with attaching the patch to the sweatshirt, I’m really happy with how it turned out.
My side projects are many in intent and few in manifestation. I have a long list of things I would like to learn and build, from coding for generative art to carpentry for renovation. Something I have been learning lately is leather-working. The design process for these projects is almost completely manual from sketches, to paper prototypes and patterns, to the hand-cut and hand-stitched final assembly. Working by hand offers a break from the digital realm while providing an opportunity to use spatial skills to design and build useful objects, on a small scale, for friends and family.