OAC
Organic Artisans Collective

Journal

Welcome, Artisans

Creativity, Connection, Empowerment, and the Farmhouse Table

It's my great honor and privilege to introduce the first journal entry from our OAC community.  This woman continually teaches me from example that growing, exploring, learning, and staying curious are lifelong aspirations that shouldn't end in childhood.  Cindy Scarborough is a gifted teacher who values the process as much as the product of her craft and I LOVE that she's now offering classes (see below).  This woman also happens to be my mother, for which I am eternally grateful.

It all started with a farmhouse table. Four years ago we moved to Redding, CA to be hands on grandparents. In the new house, we realized none of our old furniture fit. And I wanted a farmhouse table really, really badly. Like obsessive stalker badly. The first farmhouse table I found online was $5,000 (cue hysterical laughter.) Then I found a table at Pottery Barn for $2,000. Still ridiculous, but the obsession was strong. On a trip to Pottery Barn I decided to check out the object of my obsession in person. It was pretty, but for that price I thought it would at least sing, and maybe do the dishes. Looking closely at the finish and construction, I just wasn’t $2,000 impressed. But I still neeeeeded a farmhouse table. 

The new house had some old raised beds that were falling apart. The old beds needed to be demoed and new ones built. Husband Brent’s new job was understandably consuming, and I have always loved the idea of working with power tools. I knew if I wanted those raised beds, I would need to build them myself. Mind you, at 57 I had never used power tools, even though they always fascinated me. I started looking for ideas on Pinterest.

I found plans for the raised beds that required two tools we already had: a miter saw and a drill. I started to get excited; maybe I could pull this off. The first time I cut a piece of lumber I felt empowered, like Eowyn when she slays the witch king in Return of the King, “I am no man.” I am a MAKER! I was hooked.

I discovered there were free plans online for all kinds of wood projects: everything from rustic, chippy serving trays, to wall art, to FARMHOUSE TABLES! Estimated cost of said farmhouse table: $100-$200. My creative, economical heart was about to burst. My Pinterest boards multiplied faster than rabbits. 

For me, learning to work with wood has required the courage to try new and challenging things. The process of woodworking is creative and contemplative, focusing quietly on one thing at a time. This process allows me to face my own perfectionism and practice letting it go. I’m learning when things go wrong, it’s really not failure. Instead, I’m learning to take a deep breath and start again, without shame or judgment. I’m learning the importance of process and experiencing the Father’s presence with me in that process.

Over the past three years, I’ve narrowed my focus with woodworking. I enjoy working with reclaimed wood to make practical and pretty pieces for my friends and me. I love making simple pieces of furniture for my home. I collect reclaimed wood from anyone who offers. My garage is full of funky, old wood, and I feel wealthy.

The one thing missing for me in this process is community. I would love to build an online, and occasional in person, community of like-minded friends who can share ideas and support one another. To that end, I am offering classes for women focused on exposure to basic woodworking skills. These classes require NO EXPERIENCE with tools. Participants will have the opportunity to use power tools to build a project together, and will go home with a project of their own. In some classes we will talk about paints and finishes. I’ll share all the resources I’ve discovered over the past few years. There will be a new skill introduced in each class. You can check out and sign up for the first two classes here:

Woodworking Basics: Wood Sign

Woodworking Basics: Chalkboard Serving Tray

Oh, and that farmhouse table? It’s in process in the garage. It’s a husband and wife project, and a 40-year marriage test. But in the meantime, I’ve built two console tables, two coffee tables, an end table, shelves, signs, chalkboards, lanterns, mirrors, and more. There’s always something new to learn. Anyone want to play?