Our newest Featured Artist is woodworker John Welch! You’ve seen his beautiful work, now learn a little bit about the man behind John Francis Designs!
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. Where are you from? Where did you study? How long have you been an artist?
A: I am a native Lowellian and still live in Lowell with my wife Kara. I’ve always been a maker and doer of sorts, though the type of woodworking I’m doing now has developed over the past few years. My interest in carving began with making cooking spoons in our garage. I enjoy cooking and I thought it would be great to be able to cook with a spoon I made by hand. It grew from there, until I ran out of room in the garage and rented a studio at Western Ave in September 2014.
Q: What is the first thing you remember making/creating by hand?
A: I am fortunate to have grown up in a very hands on environment. I remember making Christmas ornaments with my parents when I was about 5 year old. They saved the metal lids of frozen juice containers, my mother would make dots with a marker in the shape of snowflakes, trees, etc, and I’d use a hammer and nail to punch out the pattern. That was one of the many creative activities my family would do together. I’ve been told a lot of family and friends still hang them on their trees!
A: I would have to say time! I have more ideas kicking around than I have time to make. I try to work as efficiently as possible, and I’m slowly working my way down the list. I’m always discovering new techniques and directions I’d like to take my work, but my biggest obstacle is always time.
Q: Describe a typical art creativity session. What is it like? For example, do you work in silence, or do you work to music? Do you prefer to be alone, or do you need people around?
A: I typically work alone, but I almost never work in silence. I listen to a lot of audio books and podcasts which sometimes help inspire my creativity. If I am doing any work that requires measurements or I’m feeling a little burnt out, I’ll switch over to music to help me zone in…or out.
Q: What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an artist?
A: Start making art! It doesn’t matter what your medium is, just start creating. Chances are it won’t be great to start, that’s OK! That is good, that shows you that there is room to grow. For me that is where the fun is, growing from one piece to the next.
Q: Tell us about some of your goals for the next 6-12 months.
A: Currently I tend to make functional pieces. I’m planning on dedicating some time for purely sculptural pieces. I really want to explore some free form carving and experiment with different carved textures and see where that leads me.
*You can meet John in his Studio 102 on First Saturday Open Studios. Stop by and say Hello!!