Isaac Chatterton is creating artisan furniture
9
patrons
In April 2018 I packed up shop, sold most of my belongings, and moved to New York to pursue a career as a professional woodworker. Crazy, right? 
So far, it has been a wild ride...

Some context...

After making furniture using skills gleaned from self-education over the past 4 years, (see my work at: www.mysttree.com), I came to the realisation that I really need to be trained by someone, as I just "didn’t know what I didn’t know". So, after pursuing this training through a carpentry apprenticeship, I found that it was so far removed from what I wanted to be doing, (even though a lot of the skills were transferable) that I decided to pursue training in the actual field of artisan furniture. I find it can be a common misperception that ‘furniture making’ is the same as carpentry, or cabinet making, which is not the case. The reason I am here in the U.S. is largely due to the lack of accessible training available in the field of fine furniture craftsmanship in Australia. It has been on the decline largely since the industrial revolution and the rise of giants like IKEA. 

But while it has been a dying trade, it is slowly being revived. In Australia, there are courses you can do but they cost an arm and a leg: some are upwards of $25,000 AUD to complete a fine woodworking course, and sadly totally unsubsidised by the government. The other path is to become an apprentice to someone or work for a company already operating in this niche market. Most of these companies are small, at least in Australia, and it is unusual that they would have need of more than a handful of employees. This makes it difficult to break in to the trade without close connections. The bigger companies are generally more mechanised and can be more closely related to warehouse ‘line jobs' rather than the notion of craftsmanship.

North America currently has a vibrant fine woodworking scene, probably due to a larger market, and therefore companies have the means to train people in ways that the smaller companies back home may not have. So, when I wrote to the company I’m now working for in New York State and they offered me to come and ‘apprentice’ with them I naturally jumped at the opportunity. The guy who started it, Joshua Vogel, has been a woodworking hero of mine for a couple of years and is quite a well known figure in the woodworking world for his wood sculpture of colossal proportions, and his wooden spoons (he published a book called The Artful Wooden Spoon). Since I began at Josh's company, Blackcreek Mercantile and Trading Co., (blackcreekmt.com) they've offered me a permanent position and have agreed to sponsor me for a Traineeship visa.

The visa process...

The visa process is quite complicated, and seems to have become less accessible in recent years. Ideally, I would have applied for a work visa but the only category I am eligible for is what’s called an H-3 Trainee visa. This would allow me to live and work here for up to 2 years but not be paid in the normal way - only a stipend of board and lodging. So essentially I can’t earn any money on the books, but I am obviously keen as mustard to pursue this amazing opportunity, in one of the design capitals of the world.

Financial needs...

So, as you may have surmised by now, money is tight. It is definitely an 'artists life' and I can assure you I wasn't under any illusions that it would all be smooth sailing when I set off. The steps of faith I have taken just get here seemed to have been rewarded by many things falling into place.  Blackcreek and I are splitting the legal and administrative fees for the visa which come to around $4000 US dollars (just to apply, mind you!). So I have a bill of $2000 US dollars which I need to pay off in the next few months. So if I could be so bold, I am asking for you partnership in this if what you've read sounds like something you would like to support. While all donations are welcomed with feelings of great gratitude, ongoing support is what I really need.

Patrons of the arts...

You may well be wondering what you would get in return (besides the reciprocal release of dopamine).. Well, I thought perhaps I could offer some tokens of the learning that you would be supporting. I can offer you a hand carved wooden spoon by yours truly sent to you by snail mail, or a digital photographic print of your choice of any of my 35mm work (Instagram @perennialpie). Or both!

If you've read this far, well done and thank you.

x
Isaac.

Tiers
Good vibes
$2 or more per month
General feelings of mutuality and love x
Perennial provision
$5 or more per month
A lo-res print of your choice from @perennialpie or @chaisaac, sent digitally
Perennial print
$10 or more per month
A hi-res print of your choice from @perennialpie (colour shots)
Small wooden spoon
$20 or more per month
A small wooden spoon carved lovingly for you
Large wooden spoon
$50 or more per month
A large wooden spoon carved lovingly for you
Patron of the arts
$200 or more per month
Credit towards a custom piece of furniture for your home in the future - when I have completed my 10,000 hours
In April 2018 I packed up shop, sold most of my belongings, and moved to New York to pursue a career as a professional woodworker. Crazy, right? 
So far, it has been a wild ride...

Some context...

After making furniture using skills gleaned from self-education over the past 4 years, (see my work at: www.mysttree.com), I came to the realisation that I really need to be trained by someone, as I just "didn’t know what I didn’t know". So, after pursuing this training through a carpentry apprenticeship, I found that it was so far removed from what I wanted to be doing, (even though a lot of the skills were transferable) that I decided to pursue training in the actual field of artisan furniture. I find it can be a common misperception that ‘furniture making’ is the same as carpentry, or cabinet making, which is not the case. The reason I am here in the U.S. is largely due to the lack of accessible training available in the field of fine furniture craftsmanship in Australia. It has been on the decline largely since the industrial revolution and the rise of giants like IKEA. 

But while it has been a dying trade, it is slowly being revived. In Australia, there are courses you can do but they cost an arm and a leg: some are upwards of $25,000 AUD to complete a fine woodworking course, and sadly totally unsubsidised by the government. The other path is to become an apprentice to someone or work for a company already operating in this niche market. Most of these companies are small, at least in Australia, and it is unusual that they would have need of more than a handful of employees. This makes it difficult to break in to the trade without close connections. The bigger companies are generally more mechanised and can be more closely related to warehouse ‘line jobs' rather than the notion of craftsmanship.

North America currently has a vibrant fine woodworking scene, probably due to a larger market, and therefore companies have the means to train people in ways that the smaller companies back home may not have. So, when I wrote to the company I’m now working for in New York State and they offered me to come and ‘apprentice’ with them I naturally jumped at the opportunity. The guy who started it, Joshua Vogel, has been a woodworking hero of mine for a couple of years and is quite a well known figure in the woodworking world for his wood sculpture of colossal proportions, and his wooden spoons (he published a book called The Artful Wooden Spoon). Since I began at Josh's company, Blackcreek Mercantile and Trading Co., (blackcreekmt.com) they've offered me a permanent position and have agreed to sponsor me for a Traineeship visa.

The visa process...

The visa process is quite complicated, and seems to have become less accessible in recent years. Ideally, I would have applied for a work visa but the only category I am eligible for is what’s called an H-3 Trainee visa. This would allow me to live and work here for up to 2 years but not be paid in the normal way - only a stipend of board and lodging. So essentially I can’t earn any money on the books, but I am obviously keen as mustard to pursue this amazing opportunity, in one of the design capitals of the world.

Financial needs...

So, as you may have surmised by now, money is tight. It is definitely an 'artists life' and I can assure you I wasn't under any illusions that it would all be smooth sailing when I set off. The steps of faith I have taken just get here seemed to have been rewarded by many things falling into place.  Blackcreek and I are splitting the legal and administrative fees for the visa which come to around $4000 US dollars (just to apply, mind you!). So I have a bill of $2000 US dollars which I need to pay off in the next few months. So if I could be so bold, I am asking for you partnership in this if what you've read sounds like something you would like to support. While all donations are welcomed with feelings of great gratitude, ongoing support is what I really need.

Patrons of the arts...

You may well be wondering what you would get in return (besides the reciprocal release of dopamine).. Well, I thought perhaps I could offer some tokens of the learning that you would be supporting. I can offer you a hand carved wooden spoon by yours truly sent to you by snail mail, or a digital photographic print of your choice of any of my 35mm work (Instagram @perennialpie). Or both!

If you've read this far, well done and thank you.

x
Isaac.

Recent posts by Isaac Chatterton

Tiers
Good vibes
$2 or more per month
General feelings of mutuality and love x
Perennial provision
$5 or more per month
A lo-res print of your choice from @perennialpie or @chaisaac, sent digitally
Perennial print
$10 or more per month
A hi-res print of your choice from @perennialpie (colour shots)
Small wooden spoon
$20 or more per month
A small wooden spoon carved lovingly for you
Large wooden spoon
$50 or more per month
A large wooden spoon carved lovingly for you
Patron of the arts
$200 or more per month
Credit towards a custom piece of furniture for your home in the future - when I have completed my 10,000 hours