We’re interviewing makers from all 50 states. Today we’re featuring Loni LaCour, a designer and woodworker from Missouri.
How did you get started woodworking? Who were your mentors?
It’s an interesting story. I had never thought I would make a career or even a hobby out of woodworking. My father was a carpenter and worked with wood. I remember building simple things like doll houses or wooden hearts when I was a kid, but that was all my experience with working with wood. It wasn’t until he passed away 5 years ago and I was given what remained of his tool collection that I actually started experimenting on my own. It started with small things, like wood signs or planter boxes. I have since moved onto larger art pieces or pieces of furniture. I would say my dad was my mentor. He was great at his work and as a businessman. When I’m thinking of efficiency, designing, and building, I like to imagine what advice he would be giving me. I use woodworking as a way to still feel connected to him.
What do you think is your best or favorite work? What kind of work do you do the most?
It sounds silly, but one of my favorite things I’ve made so far was a blanket ladder out of old furring strips I had no use for. It’s the simplest thing to make but I was so happy because I hate wasting any type of material. Now the pieces I make the most are wood mosaics, I love the versatility mosaics offer and being a part of others homes with my wall art.
What advice would you give to someone that wants to start woodworking or pursue it as a profession?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re just starting out. As a young woman in woodworking, it can get discouraging- you feel as if your work is constantly being compared to the work of men. I often get so frustrated with myself, some projects take me extra long because of the mistakes I make. It makes it easier when you speak up and ask other woodworkers for their tips and tricks. No question is too simple and Youtube tutorials are extremely helpful.
What’s your best hands-on tip or woodworking technique?
I like to think my best technique is giving everything the good old “LaCour blueprint.” I don’t ever really start with a full-proof plan but somehow it all works it. Don’t overthink your designs, sometimes your best work comes from less planning and more doing!
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