Here’s your chance to get to know Jeff Edwin of Ashari Woodworks out of Burlington, Vermont. Jeff is full of talent and as we found out, has lots to say about “making”! Supporting our business means we support more makers like Jeff!
How did you get started as a maker?
I honestly was quite fortunate to kind of fall into it. I was always interested in studio art growing up, dabbling as an art major in college, and continued to do a few projects here and there. After not feeding that for a few years, I found myself called into the world of carpentry and construction. Then as a result of a downsizing economy, I went from that large commercial outfit slowly on down to a little woodshop space, that I share with a truly inspiring artist, Mark Dabelstein.
Why is the act of “making” important to you?
The act of making itself aligns with a simple philosophy, at least in my mind. I believe wholeheartedly that people are designed to create, and to grow and nurture the world around us. That’s really all making is, it’s finding the way to add your energy into the world. In this way, the spirit of the maker movement can be found everywhere, anyone that loves what they do for work or as a hobby, and gives that task their good energy...making, creating, it seems to just be about a positive way of life.
How do you find balance and motivation with “life”, other jobs, your creative work, etc?
My family. That’s my main inspiration, my motivation, and when I need it, my excuse. Life just hands inspiration out all the time, keeping a notebook is a great idea. I should do it.
How has Vermont’s maker culture been a part of your development as a maker?
Vermont as a whole is full of people that just do things. There is a category of maker, I get that, but there are makers here in all kinds of fields, with all kinds of products. Isn’t the activist that’s around every corner of this state making something? The person with the incredible home garden in your neighborhood? Vermont has a culture of doing, it’s probably what has made the maker movement so incredible here for everyone.
Any particular moments in your maker career that you’d like to share that were exciting?
It sounds corny, but my favorite moments are cleaning up a piece of rough cut lumber and seeing something particularly beautiful reveal itself. It’s hard to know exactly what it will look like, and sometimes it’s just so much more than you could have imagined.
Where is your favorite creemee in Vermont? And... what’s your order?
The maple creemee with maple crumbles at Palmer’s in Jericho is the one for me. It was the first place my wife and I went after exchanging vows, just the two of us, on Mount Mansfield. How could I beat that?
How does the concept of “race” enter the conversation for you for making in the USA?
Race in the USA is a part of every conversation for me. It’s the unfortunate truth...but it’s not always bad. Particularly among makers, there seems to be an excitement around interacting with those that might bring something new to the table. A new experience, or one that you may not know much about. It has been my experience that the vast majority of makers really prioritize the spirit of creation, growth, and addition, and for that reason are enthused to see what they learn from another person’s difference. Just like team sports encourage the celebration of each teammate’s unique contribution to the common goal, the maker movement seems have created a similar community of openness and inclusion.
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