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So…what do you do?

I had a totally fun, “play in the sandbox” day today.  I’ve started about five projects all at once (typical) and my brain was exploding with more.   Pictures will be forthcoming tomorrow.

In the meantime I want to ask a question of you all.

I keep getting flummoxed when people ask me the simple question:

What do you do?

Someone asked me that a few days ago and what came out of my mouth was:

I make stuff

And that pretty much does sum it up (coasters, furniture, HOME signs, letters etc etc) but it doesn’t sound very professional.

To be honest this has always been a difficult question for me because I think my most consistent emotional state is Embarrassed.

I’ve always  been kind of embarrassed by whatever I was doing – be it going to acting school, acting, working a day job…..what I’m wearing.  It just always seems somewhat silly.  Honestly, I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember.  I’m quite sure I arrived in the delivery room thinking “oh my god everyone is looking at me.  This is so embarrassing.  I’m sorry about the mess – I’ll clean it up I promise.” And then the doctor probably spanked me which just, you know, reinforced my feelings.

Anyway, you get the picture.

So what do you all say?

I’ve contemplated:

I’m a home based craft entrepreneur (pretentious)

I’m a craftepeneur (very hard to say)

I create tchotchkes for all occasions

I steal ideas from others

I just can’t say “I’m a craftsman” as that just sounds too….something….it makes me picture Norm Abrams – which isn’t a bad thing… I just don’t think I’m at that level.

I can’t say “I’m an artist” – it’s just waaaay to pretentious and if the person said “ohhh what kind of art?” and I replied “coasters!”  I think we’d both feel a bit let down.

What do you say?

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

23 responses »

  1. I love reading your entries… I can TOTALLY picture you saying all of the things you write (tone and all)!

    Oh and about what to be called… Lucky (sorry – that probably wasn’t what you were looking for)!! Everyone loves your stuff and you are excited about what you “do”! You are so talented and creative!

    Miss you 🙂

  2. Dear David,

    Laura Perls (accomplished wife of Gestalt Therapist Fritz) said, “Learning comes at the point of embarrassment.” What does your embarrassment tell you? Give yourself a break, I say. I admire your perspective, which is another way of saying I marvel at what you see in what others abandon and transform it into what many desire. Sure, you see ideas others have had and they are reflected in your work. But, as there is nothing new under the sun, so what? Not only are you willing to actually do the work, plying your noteworthy skills, but you are willing to put yourself out there and market all of the above! As far as I can see, your only remaining task is to own your gifts. BTW, I can’t for the life of me conger a handle for your crafts, sorry. Neither can I make this response appear to have come from me and not your sis. GearHead fail.

  3. What about ‘Crafter’? Although that makes me think of older women knitting. Nothing wrong with that. Sorry.

    I’ve also heard the term ‘Maker’….

    • Yeah, crafter brings up images of macrame to me as well. I like “maker” but if “Artist” was a little pretentious to me then aligning myself with God is also, perhaps, elevating my status a bit much, no?

  4. I love what you create and love reading your blog. This entree made me laugh.
    How about: “I’m a creator of functional art (for the home)” .

  5. How about “Retro Restoration Specialist”? You can occasionally throw in a cute turn of phrase like “with a side of crafty creativity” depending on the company. That way, if people are asking the “What do you do?” question, answering thusly may lead to a response containing something like this: “Oh, really? Well, I have this charming little [end-table/magazine rack/chair/dresser/headboard/kitchen table] that could really use some TLC. I also possess an endless supply of independent wealth – what do you charge? Not that it matters…”

    See? Problem solved. You’re welcome.


    Love you!

    • I like the way your mind works Ms. Fryer and clearly need to start traveling in your social circles!
      Love you too!
      (and for those of you who read this and think “umm…..your blog follower “loves” you? and you love her? what kind of weird craft cult have I fallen into?” this is my niece)

  6. I get asked this all the time too. Matter of Fact last week, at a dinner party someone asked me the same question. For the first time, I was at a loss for words, which is ODD. My partner said, he is a Blogger, Gift ware Product Designer and Illustrator (which is true). And, then after all that, more questions of interests came pouring in, because people are interested in the creative process.
    Some people have no creative expression like what you posses. I really feel lucky as you should that you are able to transform what others see as rubbish and can transform beauty to a piece of furniture.

    David, you need to have your own TV show! A how to on HGTV or The DIY network. Also, get someone to back your Cheltham Road business and go CRAZY with it. The reason why some people with NO talent make it is because they opened that “Magic Door” that led them to sell there wares in places like Target, Bed Bath And Beyond, etc… Imagine what you could do with your High Level of Talent?

    • Walter I think I need to have your partner come with me to parties from now on. That is an awesome answer!
      And I love the TV show idea but, of course, since I’m not about Real Estate HGTV wouldn’t have anything to do with me. Seriously, what happened to that network?

  7. Oh david, don’t you know? You do something very special…you make people smile.Whether it’s thru your witty and humorous blogs or your beautiful wares.
    What do I tell people I do? I tell them I “rescue” things people don’t want and turn them into something people do.
    And after reading the comments from your loving and supportive family, I only have one question..what does a girl have to do to be inducted into it?

  8. I’d say “None of your business, Nosy!” but then that MIGHT discourage future sales.

    How about Rehabilitartist? Craftperson (to be politically correct)? A Creationist – hold the religion? Triket Tinker? Furniture and Fontist? 🙂 No, seriously though, Uncle Dave…that’s a tough one!

    Love you…Love your blog 🙂

  9. Wow! Not only is your family loving and supportive but they’re as witty as you? Since they seem to have enough girls maybe I could push my husband in first and follow on his coat tails…LOL.

  10. You are most assuredly an artist!

  11. You. Are. Funny. Take that to the bank. Love your posts!

  12. Love the blog – just found you via Miss Mustard Seed.

    I too have an identity crisis with what to call myself. ‘Furniture Painter’ seems about the nearest.


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