This year as part of our Father’s Day celebration, we asked some of our male sellers to share stories about their grandfathers, fathers or children. Here, members of the Men of Etsy Team talk to Team Leader Giani (a.k.a. GalleriaDiGiani) about their personal father-related sources of inspiration.
Patrick Sikes of norskwoodshop‘s grandfather was a furniture maker, along with his father. After his grandfather passed, Patrick would spend hours in his workshop surrounded by wood, tools and equipment. He took comfort and peace from the family trade, waiting for some new inspiration to hit him. “Mountain living, military service, oil fields and family were the hallmarks of my grandfather’s life,” recalls Patrick. “From his legacy I learned the importance of patience and ingenuity with any project in life.”
Patrick remembered hearing many stories of projects his grandfather started but didn’t finish. There was the desk that was too big to fit through the shop door, and the time his grandfather destroyed his grandmother’s cooking pots by boiling wood to make his own water skis. Failures are character-building, Patrick would be told, accompanied by a thump on the head. His father’s philosophy was not much different. “If someone gives you a challenge, you have to give it a try at least once in your life. Even if you might not like it, you have to try.”
Growing up with four brothers on a sheep station in New Zealand, Marcus Gaylor of Toacarving loved the time he got to spend with his dad away from the rest of his family. Sometimes it would take 4 or 5 days to muster all the sheep in for shearing. Although there were other farm hands, and occasionally neighbors that would join them, since none of his brothers went along Marcus thought of these trips as his alone time with dad. There was one time when they had done all the mustering they could on horseback and had to do the rest on foot. As a child Marcus felt like his dad had the fastest walk in the world, and it was often a struggle just to keep up with him. As fast as he thought his dad walked on flat land, he seemed to move even more quickly when going uphill. Marcus once asked his father how this was possible. His dad replied, “Boy, when the road becomes hard, give it everything you got. The view from the top is better.”
William Matheson, a.k.a. MathesonGemWorks, discussed learning his trade from his grandfather. At 5 years old, William would follow his grandfather anywhere. If he was fishing, so was William. If he was in his lapidary shop, so was William. William can still recall the smells, the sounds, even the technique of work in the shop. He originally started out as a race car mechanic but after an injury forced him out of that line of work, William came home to his grandfather’s profession. He started by cabbing and eventually moved on to faceting and carving stones, which is now his favorite thing to do. Jewelry design followed naturally from there.
William says his grandfather is still cutting to this day, and he finds it very special to be able to talk shop with him as a contemporary. “I am extremely grateful to him for all he has given me,” William says. “The gift of an art that is fun and fulfilling is one of the greatest gifts you can receive. If more of our fathers, and grandfathers, were to hand these dying arts down to their children and grandchildren, they wouldn’t be dying arts. His legacy will live on long after he is gone. I hope I can do him justice, and make him proud.”
Photo from William Matheson.
Karl of cabbingrough expands on William’s concept of passing down the trade. In Karl’s case though, he isn’t just inspiring his own children, he is inspiring a neighborhood. Karl had his own successful flooring company for years. However, due to multiple factors including the current economy and his wife Laura’s health, he closed the business two years ago. Laura started making jewelry as a way to help bring money into the house. One night, while looking at rock collections with the kids, he got the idea that he might be able to turn one of those stones into something Laura could use to make jewelry from. From that moment, their new business was born.
The kids have greatly benefited from having two stay-at-home parents. It has allowed Karl to take a more active role in their lives, and enabled them to be more involved in his life and business. Their five-year-old daughter can already identify many rocks and can even cut them herself. A few times a year, their ten- and eleven-year-old sons have a rock cutting party for their friends. The neighborhood kids now know Karl as “The Rock Man.” Laura shares this final thought: “I think the most amazing thing about my husband is, even when things were the hardest, he always stayed positive and upbeat. He is so patient and giving, and always finds something positive when things are at their worst. He has a way of talking to our kids so that they respect him, without even raising his voice. I think every kid in the world would be lucky to have a father like him.”
From these wonderful men and from the many other wonderful men of the Men of Etsy Team, we wish each and every father out there the happiest of Father’s Days.
Does your Team have any fatherly stories to share? Let us know in the comments.