Meet Camille. She is a woodcrafter and owner of Red Onion Woodworks, where you can find beautiful one-of-a-kind wooden cutting boards and serving trays. I've been eyeing these for a few months and plan to have one in my kitchen very soon!
She has been generous enough to provide an amazingly-crafted serving tray ($90 value) to giveaway to one of my readers -- lucky you!
Camille of RedOnionWoodworks
Tell us about yourself!
I live in a tiny cabin in the woods of Western Oregon with my husband and our two small children. We share 25 acres of property with a blue-heeler dog, two lazy cats, two dairy goats, a flock of chickens, and a whole lot of wildlife that moves in and out of the area. It’s pretty quiet out here, but it’s a great place to raise kids.
I earned a BA in geoscience, but during my late teens and early twenties, I spent about as much time working on an organic vegetable farm as studying. Being in college and working on a farm simultaneously helped me cultivate a love for language and critical thinking as well as an appreciation for hard physical labor. My Mexican coworkers taught me Spanish while weeding and harvesting vegetables, so I can speak if pretty fluently with an Oaxacan hillbilly accent. This helped me write some awfully good reports on volcanology of southern Mexico because I could read papers published in Spanish.
The older I get, the more I enjoy learning and trying new things. I bought a DSLR camera this winter, and after reading a couple library books about photography, I’m having a ball experimenting with all its settings and options. I make a lot of chévre and mozzarella with fresh goat milk, and my goal for this spring is to produce a decent cheddar cheese. I’m also planning on taking a screen-printing class in the near future, so I can gift Red Onion Woodworks T-shirts to all my friends and family.
How did you get started?
I never in my wildest dreams thought I would grow up to be a woodcrafter or a small business owner. After college, my husband’s parents offered me a job apprenticing in their custom woodworking shop. It was WAY out of my comfort zone, but they were patient with me and took the time to explain all tasks with quality control and safety in mind. I learned the basics Karate-Kid style, doing repetitive, seemingly mindless small jobs, but after a year or so, I came to realize that I actually knew a whole lot and was comfortable with a variety of tools and techniques.
My father in law kicked me out of the shop when I was five months pregnant with my first child because he heard some vaguely substantiated rumors about noise from shop equipment causing hearing loss in unborn babies. I was really excited to become a parent, but it was sad to abandon both my newfound love of woodworking and the working world in general. I spent the better part of three years being “just” a stay-at-home mom to my son (now 3) and eventually my daughter (now 1 ½). I loved being at home with my kids, but I craved the intellectual, social, and physical stimulation that I had known in previous jobs.
My husband, a natural-born entrepreneur unlike me, encouraged me to start my own business where I could work on a flexible schedule and create product that I was proud of. It took a lot of planning, tool purchasing, and soul searching, but I could tell right in from beginning that it wasn’t a mistake. Now trying to maintain a balance between work and family can be a challenge, but I couldn't be happier about the success of my business.
How does your lifestyle cater to your craft?
Where I live and whom I know makes my business possible because I need beautiful wood to make beautiful wood products. In the Northwest, conifers and red alder dominate the commercial timber market. Bigleaf maple harvested in industrial logging operations is mostly sold for paper pulp or pallet stock. The wood that I prefer to use in my projects is incredibly beautiful because of its wild grain, but it has little value to large timber companies. My husband and I have a number of connections with local foresters and loggers, and through them, we are able to have burls, crotches, and irregular chunks of wood set aside. We’ve also partnered with a small sawmill operator and family friend who, along with my husband, mills these logs and pieces into lumber. The journey from standing tree to mill to shop is usually dozens of miles, not hundreds or thousands like the things people buy at big box stores.
Essentially all the furniture in our tiny house is either made by us or handed down from a couple generations of woodworkers. You can take a virtual tour on my FB page, and it becomes immediately apparent that I have a personal affection for natural edged shelving, twiggy drawer pulls, or really anything that brings a bit of nature into my home, my kitchen, and my busy life. I’m looking forward to branching out my range of products in the future to include home accessories like some of these things that I’ve made for myself.
Read more about Camille in her Featured Seller article on Etsy!
This bigleaf maple serving tray is one of a kind. It features a contoured natural edge and a truly organic shape. The bronzed faces are alive with seemingly three-dimensional ripples of figure, and a large knot provides an asymmetrical focal point. A few cracks lace the wood because of compression that occurred during the drying process, but they will add character to this perfectly rustic server. It measures approximately 20” x 12” x 5/8”, $90 value
Enter the Giveaway (up to 3 entries!)
1. Visit RedOnionWoodworks and comment with ONE (or more) WORD(S) that best describes her boards. I encourage you to be original with what word you choose. :)
2. Like her Facebook Page and come back and leave a comment saying you did so. If you're already a fan, just comment again letting us know!
3. Share this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook and come back and leave a comment with a link!
Giveaway ends Sunday, March 27, 2011 at 11:59PM EST.