Christmas Tree puzzle decor

Handmade for the Holidays

By Erin O'Donnell, CEO & Founder
Dovetail Community Workshop

What are the gifts you remember best? We're betting it wasn't a gift card. The holidays are a great time to try your hand at making gifts for loved ones -- just like when we were kids. In December, Dovetail Community Workshop offered the people of Albuquerque the opportunity to make something personal, for themselves or for someone special, at our Handmade Holiday pop-up workshop.

One of our fans shared our announcement of the event with this touching note:

The response to the event was wonderful. We were especially delighted that so many families with children turned out to make things together! Guests could choose from several projects, including adorable snowman and reindeer statuettes, a classic pegboard game, easy and elegant tealight holders, rustic ornaments,  and more.

And here's her final product -- a tree with tiny clothespins to hold Christmas cards. The little gold snowflakes were her personal touch.

Christmas card holder

Two local artisans joined us to offer unique gifts for those who preferred to leave the making to the experts. Holly von Winckel of The Ornatelier brought a selection of her beautifully handmade pens and knives. Don Dyer of The Naughty Plank creates incredible images on wood by burning and also carves spoons and plates with personality to spare.

Woodturner Micah Nauck of Big Creek Designs was wonderfully generous with his time and his lathe. Micah gave us a demonstration, then allowed guests to try their hand at shaping blanks of wood on the lathe. Which was totally fun.

 

We also supplied a bandsaw, compound miter saw, scroll saw, combination sander, spindle sander, and drill press for guests to use, plus a finishing room with stains, paints, hot glue, and embellishments. Each tool was attended by one of our volunteers, who did a spectacular job of ensuring everyone's safety and guiding the novices through their projects -- especially the young ones. (Thank you, Olive, Ros, Ed, Holly, and Tom for loaning us your tools and expertise! Extra thanks to Tom Kight for allowing us the use of his space.)

Those who attended got a taste of what Dovetail will be when it's a full-fledged, open-access workshop. I can't begin to describe how it felt to look around our temporary shop and really, finally, see our vision taking shape! The best part was watching someone try a machine for the first time and seeing his or her face light up with pride: "I made that!" Beaming kids squealed when they saw the reindeer emerge from the bandsaw blade. Moms made new holiday decor to brighten their homes -- and gained confidence in the process. And families got to spend time together being creative.

Snowmen statues

Here are a few more of our favorite scenes from the day:

Using the lathe
Using the compound miter saw
Using the bandsaw
Handmade pegboard game
Using the scroll saw
Using the bandsaw

From all of us at Dovetail Community Workshop, we wish you a holiday season filled with joy, wonder, and creativity. And a happy, makey new year!