Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Meet the Maker - Scott Gipson, Gipson's Wand

Today, we get to know Scott from Gipson Wands!  GipsonWands makes Harry Potter inspired "Magic" wands, crochet hooks, carved bookmarks and other products including Wizarding Clue. All Wands are handmade from naturally dried locally sourced trees or salvaged lumber with a hand rubbed oil finish.

Q: What brought you to Kansas City? A: I'm a Kc native, born and raised. Went to school here till college at UCM (CMSU at the time) where I got my Fine Arts Degree.
Q: What makes you stay? A: I actually really like it here, it’s a big town with a small town feel. Plus my immediate family are all still here. I love my day job.
Q: Original career plan? A: I got a BFA with an emphasis on graphic design in College, I’ve always been an Artistic person.
Q: What do you make and when did you start? A: Around 2004 the city did some tree work on my Sycamore and since I have a fireplace I asked to keep the wood to burn. I wasn't thinking about wood work at the time but I was a pretty big Harry Potter fan and wanted my own wand. They sell these Resin cast replicas online but that's not what I wanted. I only had hand tools at the time so I literally whittled down this large sycamore log to make a wand for myself. That led to me making wands for my family members out of other local woods. Eventually someone told me that I should be selling them... It was all by hand in the beginning. It wasn't until (2008) I inherited my Grandfather's lathe that it really started taking off.

Wizarding Clue 
Q: Tell me about your creative process, what is your inspiration? A: This is going to sound super corny. I hardly ever have a plan for a wand in the beginning. I select a wand blank put it on my lathe and let it tell me what it wants to be.

Q: Hardest lesson learned? A: When I first started I was doing 100% custom wands, I had no social media, and my own website that I built myself, looking back, not a great business model. Since I didn't have that big of a back catalog it was really hard for customers to tell if I could do what they wanted and I had no way to direct people to my work. My first year I had 1 person buy a wand which is amazing because they just found me via Google or something. I didn't give up. I shifted models and just started making wands to list. Just E-bay listings at first, then added Facebook, Storenvy, Twitter, Instagram, craft shows.

Crochet Hook

Q: What motivates you to keep going when things get tough? A: I've had some dry spells, where nothing was selling. It was discouraging for sure. I didn't take it to heart because I believed in what I was doing, using only local sourced or salvaged lumber. I diversified what I sold, added more wood types, hoop art, art prints, key chains, and bookmarks.
Q: What are you currently working on in the studio? A: I got a Comic Con coming and there's always a stack of wood that needs milled into wand blanks. Comic Con is a huge motivation though, last year was my first and I loved it.

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