This summer I met a talented and personable young woodworker named Ashley Joseph Martin and his girlfriend, Paige at the first summer edition of Crafts Gone Wild. Our booths were next to each other’s so we struck up a conversation. We found out we had all kinds of things in common and I was totally in awe of the gorgeous items he had for sale. I asked him if he would like to be one of my featured emerging artists and he was stoked to do this. So, here we go!
Like me, he was born in Pittsburgh, PA. Although he was raised in the small town of Prosperity, PA, part of a large and caring family. The rural environment there laid the foundation for a profound relationship with nature which continues to influence both his work and personal philosophy.
His introduction to woodworking began when he received his first pocket knife, a gift from his father. The influence of that small knife will stay with him throughout his life. I was thoroughly amazed to hear that he has been primarily self-taught and believes in learning from each failure as much as each success. Each new experience has made him realize how much one can accomplish with a few tools, and plenty of patience.
Another thing we have in common is that we both attended Ohio University (of course, he graduated much more recently than I did!!!!) This was getting eerie! Of course, that led to a conversation about Athens and all the things that have changed over the years. Anyway, he majored in Aviation and Meteorology. Post graduation, he moved to Columbus where he worked for a short time as a flight instructor at the Ohio State University Airport. Currently, he works part-time at The Bottle Shop (“Best cocktails in town” -Everyone), and full-time as a craftsman. His current goal is to focus his efforts on his craft, developing his skills as an artist, and improving himself as a small business owner.
As to why he left aviation for now…
I decided to leave my position as a flight instructor because of frustrations with how poor the compensation was and how many hours they expected us to dedicate among other related problems in the industry. I believe life is to short and I was tired of wasting time in a position I wasn’t happy with. I love flying and plan to continue the advancement of my aviation career when I decide exactly how to approach it so I don’t encounter the same problems.
Ash Woodworking Company is a manifestation of his desire to push himself creatively, beginning this endeavor to learn something ‘about myself and hopefully improve my creative skills in the process.’
In his experience, creative ingenuity thrives in a scenario with limited resources. I strive to do more than seems possible with what materials I am given rather than seeking ways to reduce the labor involved. I believe this is a relevant and applicable skill considering today’s ever changing environment. I have made it my mission to apply this simple philosophy to my work and personal life. Hopefully this will inspire others to do the same.
As for the future, he says:
Be sure to follow my evolving story via Instagram and Facebook, and check out what I have for sale in the shop section of this site.
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