Call us sentimental or ‘old brain’ but Jake and I have a certain appreciation for hand crafted works of art. Like many of you, we depend on modern culinary conveniences such as our Kitchen Aid mixer or Keurig coffee machine but when it comes to tableware we prefer a one of a kind product any day over a current trending china pattern. So, while on a quest to endorse natural products we stumbled across Grigg Fine Wood Works through Amy Griggs’ Instagram. At first glance we were captured by the ornate yet classic designs of the wooden spoons, then we noticed the quality and grain running through the wood. Immediately I thought “these would make fine earthy touches to aid in our recipe pictures” and was sold.
Upon receiving the products we were more than pleased to see the true beauty and organic nature of the wooden bowls and spoons and we knew that we could be confident in endorsing Grigg Wood Works. Both bowls and the spoons are buffed perfectly smooth with softened edges. The large dish is made of spalted maple, the small bowl of maple, and the spoons are made from ash. All of the wooden ware has Grigg 2014 engraved as well as the type of wood. On the small bowl is a touch of character through a simple set of engraved ridges, and the side of the large dish has clean finished edge cut in. It’s those individual design statements that make us proud to own and display the wood ware. The products can be cleaned with wet soapy sponge and dried with a towel, they should never be run through the dishwasher, and direct prolonged exposure to sunlight can rapidly change the color of the finishes.
Getting to know Grigg Fine Wood Works
Through much contact back and forth with Amy Grigg we became well acquainted and absolutely admired the ardor that resonates while she speaks of her craft. It’s almost hard to believe that all of our contact was through email because her ease of heart-felt words makes you feel like an old friend. Here’s a sneak peek into our conversations.
When did you start working with wood?
“Short answer, 2001
The whole story:
As a young girl I would wander down cellar where my dad had his tools and table saw. I wondered at the different tools with their strange shapes, their cold metal and their mysterious uses. If I heard the sound of the saw and smelled the saw dust I couldn’t help but go investigate. He would hike me way up on his shop stool at his work bench and show me how to use tools properly and encourage my creativity. That was when I was introduced to wood and given the confidence to use a few simple tools and use them properly.
As an adult I had a natural ability to construct basic furniture from dimensional lumber. I call it “common sense carpentry”. If I needed a table, a loft bed, a platform to store things under, whatever, I just built it. I figured everyone knew how to do that kind of thing. Just borrow a few basic tools and buy some screws. No problem. They weren’t gallery quality, but they weren’t too shabby.
In 2001 after working as a book binder’s apprentice for a few years I decided I wanted to work for myself. I rented a beautiful loft space in an old mill building in the town I lived in Massachusetts. My intention was to start my own bindery. I needed benches, carts, sets of drawers, tool stands etc. I again borrowed some tools and a vintage table saw and started building. Artists in the surrounding loft spaces of the four floor brick building would drop by to introduce themselves and some asked me to build things they needed in their studio. Word got around that I was handy. Before long the one woodworker in the building asked if I could give him a hand for a couple of weeks as his assistant had just been let go. I was having a blast working with wood and was happy to see what I could learn working with him for a little while.
My passion for wood working was immediate and intense. Being in a real shop and learning about exotic and domestic hardwood had me totally enthralled. That two-week job lasted over four years. My idea to start a bindery had turned into an unwaivering desire to make woodworking my career. By 2003 I had my own wood shop and was designing a line of items that I sold to craft galleries.
The craft market has changed quite a lot since then and so have I. I prefer to sell directly to my customer and the Internet has given me that opportunity.”
Where do you sell your products? (online, farmers markets?)
“I sell most of my work through private connections made online. Customers and clients will email me after seeing one of my pieces online or having been referred by a friend.
I also do a couple of craft shows per year here in Rochester.
Some of my time is occupied making wooden boxes for small, high-end craft businesses that want a handmade wooden box as the packaging for their products. I love a small production run!”
How can consumers contact you for purchase?
“[Email] grigg3@gmail is the best way to contact me. If you are interested in staying current on what I am making the best way to do that is on Instagram where I post pictures daily. My website is almost complete and can be viewed at amygrigg.com“
What is your favorite thing to create?
“That is a tough question. I don’t have any one favorite. The variety keeps me interested in each different discipline. If I have been making nothing but boxes for a few weeks then I notice a strong urge to make spoons or to turn wood on the lathe. If I have been turning for days on end I miss the measurements and consistency of making boxes and so on. I am so grateful that I have such variety. Some days are all chainsawing and log hauling! I love it all!”
What new type of product might you have goals to master? (i.e. cutting boards, chairs, cabinetry, etc)
“I don’t actually aim to master any product or skill set. My interests naturally guide me toward what I work on. Mastery develops as it will, over time.
I love the advice of Joseph Campbell when he said “follow your bliss”. For me, a finished product serves as a reminder of the time I spent making it. Each piece is like a time capsule. My practice is to stay with the process, to work with a feeling of freedom, and to maintain the joyful curiosity that brings me back to woodworking every day.”
What big dreams do you have for your business?
“Good question. For so long my dream has been to simply continue making a living doing what I love. It is no small feat! Only recently have I noticed my dreams for the future expanding beyond that.
Still now, my dreams are simple. I would love to teach on a small-scale. I would love to be known for the quality of my work. I would love to travel and teach workshops in other countries. Or take workshops in other countries! It would be nice to have disposable income and some financial security. And of course, no matter what, to continue loving what I do.”
“Wood, once a living, breathing tree, holds within it infinite creative potential. Exploring that potential is one of the great joys in my life.” -Amy Grigg
Our new Wood Ware.
Our working with Amy has been a truly enjoyed experience. Her words and craft are so passionate and alive, we only wish we knew her in person. You can bet if we ever make it to Rochester we will be stopping by to shake her hand and hear a little more about her story.
Ordering Grigg Fine Wood Works
_amy_grigg_ on Instagram
Rochester, New York