Robin G. Dalziel is a woodturner, with a CPA, and an MBA. A retired university professor and municipal CAO, he took a decade off from climbing the corporate ladder to make a full time living as an artisan. Robin has participated in 3 art gallery shows, and sold his work at farmer’s markets, and juried craft shows. He is the owner of JoybileeFarm.com and TurningForProfit.com.
Robin lives with his wife, Chris, on 140 acres of wilderness paradise, in the mountain forests of southern British Columbia. They have 3 adult children and 3 granddaughters.
What’s in it for you?
The Turning for Profit blog and website offers you, the woodturner, inspiration for spending time at the lathe and skills for marketing the work that you make. You’ll learn the techniques for proficient production work, how to organize your shop for safety and efficiency, marketing savvy, and how to position your work in the artisan market to get noticed. You’ll also find woodturning projects to prompt your time at the lathe.
Turning for Profit speaks to the beginning woodturner who has set up his lathe for the first time, offering the foundational turning skills needed to build a thriving woodturning practice that leads to a side hustle business. It also speaks to the experienced hobbyist who is looking for ways to pay for the craft through selling his or her work. It also speaks to the advanced artisan who wants to better position his work in the marketplace and build greater prestige and reputation, which commands more dollars.
The Craft Economy
Satish Kumar of Resurgence Magazine wrote,
Being an artist is not a hobby: it is a livelihood. Moreover, a craft economy is a truly sustainable and resilient economy: indeed a peace economy.
The sooner we embrace the arts and crafts as an integral part of our daily lives, the sooner we will be able to address the economic, environmental and spiritual issues of our time. The industrial economy is a growth economy- never enough and never satisfied- whereas the craft economy is a dancing economy- always active and always joyful.
The way to a fulfilled life is through the arts and crafts. They lead us out of consumerism. The practice of arts and crafts is a spiritual practice through which we honour the material world, and while we do that we develop a sense of beauty and generosity in our lives. (Satish Kumar, Resurgence Magazine)
The craft economy is a sustainable economy that is resilient, and will help us to weather all economic conditions. It will help move us from being consumers to being makers and producers. It is a path of productivity and prosperity. It is an ancient practice that feeds the soulful yearning for beauty and culture in every home.
The economics of craft are often overlooked. You see, craft is not a big business employing thousands of robots or exporting shiploads of product. Craft sidesteps the industrial economy, where every widget is exactly the same and quality is defined as the lowest common denominator. Craft is not a government subsidy where reward is earmarked by demographics . Craftsmen and artisans quietly go about their business meeting the material needs of individuals with beautiful and artful work that satisfies not just a need, but a soul.
The impact of craft is threefold. The supply acquisition market is worth about 20 billion dollars in the US alone. There are about 50 million American crafters. The artisan products market is worth about $10 billion in sales from 5 million full and part-time artisan businesses. And that’s just the US market.
Woodworking ranks within the top 5 artisan crafts. The American Association of Woodturners has seen a 64% increase in membership in only 10 years, the highest growth rate reported of any craft association. (CODA 2011 report)
But the reality is that few professional artisans are also trained in business and marketing. While you may be highly skilled and talented in your artisan work, you may not be seeing the return on your time that you are worthy of. Turning for Profit offers marketing wisdom that is tailored to the creative entrepeneur in today’s market place. You’ll also find a community where you can engage with other woodturners and dig deeper into what’s working and what’s not, saving you hundred’s of hours in failed selling attempts and wasted time in the woodshop.
The New Economy
The rules have changed. Twenty or thirty years ago the artisan relied on books and magazines for instruction. He was limited to local venues for selling. Farmer’s markets, craft fairs, gift stores, museums, art galleries, and his own studio were his main retail venues. Well-known artisans would receive commissions for one-off work. There were gate keepers who would judge your work and determine if you were “good enough”. If your work was too risky the local network would reject it, limiting your creativity or your influence. But things have changed. Today the internet connects you with a broader audience for your work. It lets you discover and connect to your true fans. But to take advantage of the opportunity you need a brand new set of skills. Turning for Profit has your back.
How to get started?
I’ve got two things for you to do right now.
Discover what kind of woodturner you are by taking this quizz. (coming soon)
Join the Woodturner’s Hub Facebook Group where we can get to know each other better.