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Meet Timothy Schlapp

Today we’d like to introduce you to Timothy Schlapp.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I have been building large and small items for nearly 30 years. I started my woodworking interest as a framing carpenter but these days, it’s become a hobby that manages to pay for itself and has nothing to do with pine or 2x4s anymore.

My “real job” affords me the opportunity to save special pieces from the tree that would have finished its time as mulch or firewood. This would give a person some enjoyment for a little while, but hopefully, the items I make will bring a person pleasure for years to come. Sometimes, I even get to rescue a cat from a tree!

Most of my items are cut from the tree, dried, shaped and finished by my own hand. I try as much as I can to use locally sourced wood for my pieces.

The rest of the lumber comes from a few local sawmills. When I get there, I like to go to the back where they put the wavy oak, birdseye and the “not usual” lumber, digging around to find the pieces with more irregular features, knots, and crotches that are sometimes difficult to mill and finish. These pieces are what I look for.

Please tell us about your art.
The pieces I make are done with a view of the character of the wood and the need of the finished item. It may be a small block for a phone stand to a larger piece that sits on a table or floor.

In the past, I would see the wood I was cutting and think how interesting it looked Then one day the light went on that I could do something to preserve the unique character of the tree I was working on.

This flash wasn’t a big life changer but it has been very satisfying, to say the least. I had cut into some wood that was so full of life, even after its bark had fallen off, that I couldn’t let it pass its last years turning into dirt or a puff of smoke.

Most people look at a tree and see “a tree.” I’ve learned to look behind the leaves and bark. To imagine the flow of the grain as it passes around a knot, though a crotch or burl growth. To see old scars and think of the colors that may be within caused by water and fungus seeping into the cells.

I use these things to make my items individually. Even if you’re not using it for its intended purpose, it still has value as a piece of natural art. I’ve come to call it functional art. Handcrafted wood items for around your home, business and life.

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
Whether you’re a real artist or have an ability to make things other people won’t – do it if you have the desire. It’s better to try, then maybe change your mind, than do nothing and always wonder what could be.

I think life lessons come when opportunity knocks. We don’t always hear the rap the first or second time. Or see the door…

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Most of my pieces are sold from local artisan markets and a few shops in the Fox Valley and Aurora area. I have an Etsy page that I keep an eye on, I need to work that more than I do… My Facebook page has photos of most all my work over the years. People can PM me there if interested in a piece or something similar.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tim Schlapp

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