Kickstartin' the Dream with Collin Garrity
In a brief Q+A, Collin Garrity tells us about the inspiration behind his current Kickstarter campaign, featuring The Everyday Folding Table.
Hey Collin. Let’s kick this thing off with the question everyone loves… Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a 26-year-old maker based in St Louis, MO. I sell my spinning tops, bowls, desk objects, lamps and vases in 40+ stores, and offer my weaving and pottery tools to makers though my Etsy store. Since leaving the well-stocked wood shop of Warren Wilson College, I've had the classic garage beginnings, buying one tool at a time, and slowly growing, using each pay check to buy more wood and new tools. I geek out about architecture, music, illustration and big trees, I live in a small house with my partner, Shannon (she is journalist and writer for a creative agency) and our dog, Walter, and our cat, Fat. I work in Ugg boots in the winter time and converse in the summer. When I'm not working on orders, I love designing practical objects: hoping to make everyday pieces that people look at in a new way.
How did your woodworking journey begin?
I started woodworking when I was a freshman at Warren Wilson College. I wanted to repair a smashed electric guitar, and so I wandered into the school's wood shop one day and never left. They have a campus wide work/study program, and in my second year, the school was putting together a work-crew to focus on building classical guitars (mostly with hand tools). I spent my nights and weekends in the shop as well, and by my senior year I was selling spinning tops in a few stores, and Lemaire, the Paris fashion house, had contacted me about collaborating. Once I left school, I decided to keep woodworking, even though I didn't own a single tool. It took 3 years and a lot of part time jobs, but I'm now doing it full-time, and I'm designing new pieces faster than I can build them.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your Everyday Folding Table.
I wanted to design a table for young creatives: the type of people who want a beautiful, inspiring home or office, but because they rent and might want to relocate, they avoid buying furniture that will tie them down. The Everyday Folding table is everything you might want in a desk or table, but you can hide it in a closet, under your bed, or lean it against the wall: so you can have it in a cabin or apartment without getting claustrophobic.
I imagine you have a couple of these kicking around your place?
Yes - I have three floating around my house.
How are they being used?
One’s my desk, one is our dining room table (it's more narrow than most dining tables, but we only ever have one or two guests at a time, so it's perfect). I take this one with me to craft shows (it fits in our station wagon), and I recently pulled it outside for a picnic potluck. The third table is in my wood shop; when I am doing glue-ups and need a flat space, I set it up, otherwise it leans against the wall with my raw lumber.
How long have you been working away at this product?
I've been interested in folding furniture for a few years; I had a good idea what I wanted in a folding table, but I didn't come up with a good design until I discovered the spring mechanism the table uses. It was on a terrible, ugly, painted table, but the beauty and simplicity of the mechanics gave me the inspiration I needed to finish my own design. I only added the last few details to this table in April, which were hidden handle slots, and a slight redesign to the bracing to shave 1/2" off the folded thickness.
As makers, the process is just as important as the finished product. Can you walk us through the key steps in the woodworking process that brought this table to life?
Having started out building classical guitars, I spent a lot of time practicing complex joinery: the kind of glue-up that can't be a hair off, or the instrument is useless. One of the biggest processes I've gone through in getting to this table, was becoming comfortable with using simple processes, and recognizing that sometimes it's okay to use screws. It isn't cheating. But you have to know the rules before you can break them.
What do you hope to accomplish with your Kickstarter campaign?
This Kickstarter is my chance to move out of my 10 x 20 foot garage and build the larger furniture that I've been designing. I'm also hoping that this will give me the opportunity to add a member to my team. I miss working alongside people, but I also am jogging to keep up with orders and need a, well, kickstart to get ahead of everything, and to start growing my collection while keeping the quality high.
WILDCARD! Tell us a fun/strange/funny fact about yourself that the average joe wouldn’t know!
I studied poetry in college, and I get published in the occasional journal. I recently finished my first collection. It's mostly abstract, and after worrying about angles and toll-sharpening all day, it's nice to have a hobby that doesn't have any rules. Click here for a taste.
Thanks for your time, Collin!
Hop over to Collin Garrity's Kickstarter campaign, The Everyday Folding Table. There's various rewards for funding starting as low as $5 to $300+. Let's show our support for a fellow maker!