We're counting down the days until GeekCraft Expo Seattle December 10 and 11 at the Seattle Center! We'll have amazing, handmade geeky craft items from Seattle's finest artisans. Want an inside peek? We interviewed Josh Edwards of Nerd Wood Designs about his journey from working retail to creating art inspired by Star Wars and more!
GeekCraft Expo: Which came first: the nerdiness or the woodcrafting?
Josh Edwards: Most definitely the nerdiness. Growing up I was huge into D&D, Nintendo, Star Wars, and the like. Stuff like that was never even close to being considered cool until recent years, which I have no problem with!
GCE: How did you get into woodcrafting?
JE: My dad did some woodworking in his shop/garage, but for me I didn't have any real training or introduction. At one point I rented a home with an actual garage, and I picked up a few basic tools for fixing things and whatnot. Beyond that, I just looked at a stack of wood in my garage and thought, "It would be cool to make some geeky stuff for my walls." I started using housepaint that was lying around, and just tinkered around and made a few things that I liked. Some friends saw it and suggested I bring it to a small art show they put on, and things just went from there. I realized I really enjoyed using wood as a medium not only for traditional wood projects, but how cool it looked when painted or stained as a sort of canvas. My work at the time was stressful and unfulfilling, so I spent more of my time off working on projects as a way to de-stress and be creative. Things have only grown from there!
GCE: When did you decide to go into business, and why?
JE: I was getting a really good response when showing my work at shows, and by this point I was completely sick of working retail, so long story short, after a year or so of doing the art thing, I took a complete leap of faith and struck out on my own. I had a few bucks saved up from selling my home, and didn't have a whole lot of other expenses, so I figured I would at least make an attempt at this thing for six months or so. If it didn't work, I had significant enough experience that I was confident I could re-enter the workforce if needed. But despite the struggle and non-glamorous lifestyle, I've been able to keep it going. I left retail a little over three years ago and haven't looked back.
GCE: What are your favorite type of pieces to make?
JE: Anything new is always fun to design see how the final piece takes shape, but really anything related to things that I'm into: geeky fan stuff like video games and Star Wars, but also projects involving geometric shapes, nature, rustic/salvaged stuff, anything like that.
GCE: When a lot of people think of science fiction, they picture metal or plastic. How do you translate this aesthetic to wood?
JE: I don't think science fiction or fantasy has a preferred raw material, but the whole "future" aspect of science fiction does suggest something less primitive than wood. But I think that's part of the fun, mixing themes and genres up. I love doing cross reference and mash up pieces: things like an old western wanted poster of Finn from the Force Awakens (on wood), or a Game of Thrones inspired house sigil for the Bluth family from Arrested Development. You can do anything, really, as long as the message comes across. Not everyone wants a sci-fi fan art piece that's shiny and metal and future looking, just as much as not everyone wants a fantasy piece that looks like an ancient artifact. It's fun mixing things up.
GCE: What types of things will you be bringing to GeekCraft Expo Seattle?
JE: Fun nerdy wall art, plenty of Star Wars stuff, some video game art, a bunch of fun drinkware crafts that feature things like Game of Thrones, Fallout 4 and Zelda, some treasure chest six-pack holders, Thor's Mjolnir/bottle opener, and a couple of cool LED lamps from Harry Potter and Legend of Zelda.
Thank you to Josh for sharing his inspirations with us! Don't forget to RSVP for GeekCraft Expo Seattle, as well as our epic GeekCraft Expo Kickoff party at Artful Dodger Tattoo and Comics December 9, with complimentary beer from Hop Valley Brewing and prizes from Dark Horse Comics, Gamma Ray Games, Northwest Press, and our own exhibitors! Both events are free to the public--see you there.