Unexpected Gifts

Unexpected Gifts

Written by: Chris Gore

So Gillian and I are an incredible team, and we support each other’s interests and pursuits.  But if you go back 20 years in my life this certainly is not where I thought I would be.  What an unexpected gift!

 I was pretty excited when Gillian began to realize that she could be an artist. Her journey began with textile pieces, which seemed to come alive when they were framed. This is I where I come in.  I began making stretcher frames for the fabric and finishing frames to help display her amazing interpretive work.  This was about 5 years ago.

We both made do with work spaces within our home. Gillian had a nice warm room we prepared for her sewing and stitching, while I had the garage/carport along with our bikes, skis, camping gear etc with my tools crammed in between everything else. You can appreciate this was less than ideal.  Late fall and winter were pretty tough because our garage is not heated.

We tried a kerosene heater, but it could really only warm up my fingers while working. Glueing was impossible when below -10, and my table saw really did not like working at those temperatures and often blew the circuit when ripping wood. 

As luck would have it, we were planning to make a gazebo in behind the house.  During a discussion about where and how to make it, Gillian suggested a workshop might be the better plan. Awesome idea!!!

So I took the front and back wall off an existing garden shed and, with the help of our boys, I added a 14' x 14' addition to the existing 8' x 10' shed.  This was a new adventure for me.

I picked a design that looks like an old-fashioned chicken coop with 2 sloped roofs. The addition has a 12’ high sloped roof so there is no problem with maneuvering long pieces of wood or sheet material in the shop. I now have enough room for tools, wood storage and workspace. With lots of windows I feel like I am outdoors and the addition of effective  lighting (the garage was also pretty dark) creates an amazing place to work.  The bonus is I got to build it with my sons.

But best of all...the whole building is insulated, heated and has a good power supply. So now I put my tunes on and make frames and other stuff in the comfort of an awesome new workshop.  I would have never imagined this would be in my life without the partnership I have with Gillian.  We are a team.

Everyday I now look out into the woods and create. What could be better?  I even let Gillian in to staple her textile pieces onto the stretchers and paint or sand some of her pieces. This, of course, is dependent on whether or not she cleans up afterwards! Have a look at a recent piece that was created and stapled in my workshop.


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