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Here is my newest interview with Etsy bestseller; this time, I want to show you something completely different. Usually, I do interviews with crochet pattern designers (you can read them here), but today I want to introduce Bryan Nelson and his shop NELSONWOOD.
In his shop, I found the most incredible handcrafted Crochet Hooks, Bowls, and Turnings from Wood I have ever seen. I must admit I love wood, and in Bryan’s shop, you can find items from more than 160 different kinds of wood. The crochet hooks not only look absolutely amazing, but they are ergonomic too. Isn’t that the best news for all of us who like to crochet as long as we can?
And not only you can get unique hooks, but stands and yarn bowls too. Just imagine how beautiful your craft room will be!
You must check out his shop; I have my hooks picked out. And one for my friend too (the one with Seed Pods), I know she will love her birthday gift. If my children also become crocheters, I can imagine that passing my handcrafted hooks to them would be a fantastic present and an unforgettable memory.
I think that all of us who love to crochet is probably flirting with the idea of treating ourselves and getting our own unique handcrafted hooks. That is such a wonderful feeling when you admire not only your work but also a hook.
Bryan Nelson says, he’s kinda of a private guy from Arlington, Texas, United States. He is a full-time woodwork/turner. He has an assistant, and her name is Patches. She keeps track of the comings and goings and lets him know when the postman arrives. He says that those with Dachshunds knows what he is talking about.
1. How did it all begin? Tell us your story. How did you get the idea to start making crochet hooks?
I was first exposed to woodworking in my Junior High School years. It was just a class I took with my friends. I did turn a bowl, which I still have, but it was one of the scariest things I ever done at that age.
That was really the extent of it till around the year 1998, I was given 45 solid oak church pews. Thus it began. With the purchase of a surface planer, a second-hand radial arm saw and a few hand tools I built bookcases, beds, benches, and tables for friends and family. I found that I have a knack. I acquired all my knowledge and skill through trial and error and many hours of reading.
Over the years, I did Big and small projects. It was about this time I started doing items that required “turned items” mainly legs. I didn’t own a lathe, so I had to have them turned for me, and it wasn’t cheap. But I found my true love (well second) when I purchased my first lathe a 14″ Jet. It sat in the box for 6 months while I relived the Jr High years and the fears I guess I still had. I did eventually get it out of the box and set up, and I never looked back.
After a year, I bought a bigger lathe, Oneway 2436, and started pushing the limits. A day usually doesn’t go by without something being turned. On a normal day (after my full-time job), I’ll produce 3-10 turned items. I have over 6,500 bowls sold to customers all over the world (I do sign, date, and number each bowl). Woodturning is what I spend most of my woodworking time on.
To jump forward in time around 2014. I’m now working full time as a woodturner/woodworker. I have a niece who wanted a crochet hook and asked if I had ever done any. Well, I hadn’t, so after a few attempts, I came up with a crochet hook.
I have a background in manufacturing and was always dealing with the wrist and arm problem from the repetitive movement in my employees. So I was always seeking and ergonomically solution to each job in my plant. So when I designed the crochet hook, I had this in mind, and from the reviews, I believe I got it right.
My hook has a large diameter handle, which is key to “opening up” the hand and expanding the joints. Once this is done and you are not fighting the hand pain, the wrist and arm follow. Now I don’t claim I found the cure, just that my hook is helping some folks with their discomfort through it’s ergonomic design.
Once I had the design, I thought now let’s do something more pleasing for the eyes, with years of experience with exotic woods, I expanded the line to about every wood you could think of. If I don’t have it ask, I can probably get it.
I’ve also incorporated a cast product that I use for the crochet hook body, which allows me to use many non-wood colors, pine cones, and flowers to a real sunning effect.
I’ve also expanded the options on my website, nelsonwood.net so that when you purchase a hook, you can really make it your own!
2. What inspires you?
There is a lot of gratification in creating an item with your hands that also help others to create with their own hands. Also the many kind words from all my customers keep me turning. Some even share photos with me on what they’ve created.
3. Your work is so fascinating. I don’t know anything about it. Can you explain to us how do you make hooks? Do you use some kind of sketch, or do you improvise?
I have turned thousands of hooks. They are all turned by hand, I do not use a duplicator, CNC or templates. So these hand turned hooks can vary slightly. They do all have the ergonomic design needed for your hands.
I can see the hook before its turned so that does help in knowing where to cut and remove wood. Hooks are turned and finished on the lathe, the hook is then “sized” and notched and if it’s the size is to be marked, that’s done last.
My hooks are an inline hook if you are needing a tapered hook I do have a metal tipped version that I can do. Metal tip hooks which have the same handle as a wood hook, are used to get the really small sizes and of course the tapered version.
4. What about hooks with flowers inside them? What are they made from? Do you make it on your own from the beginning? Do you pick and dry flowers too? How did you get the idea to use this? The hooks look amazing.
The flower hooks are new to the line up. They are real flowers that are dried and then cast in Alumilite. I don’t pick and dry flowers to busy turning! I’m always looking for the next hook for Nelsonwood, flowers are just one step. The next step in coming so stay tuned.
5. How does your every day look like?
I usually spend a bit of time first thing in the morning to go over orders received during the night. Then it’s off to the shop to turn. I turn almost everyday but, do like to try and take off one day a week for honey dos, etc. After turning enough hooks to keep up with orders I either turn other items, work on other projects or box up orders for mail pick up.
6. Do you have any advice for other sellers?
The internet has given the world as your store front. Do not limit yourself to a small market. And never sell yourself short have confidence in what you make.
I love meeting new people and finding out what they do for a living, especially if they are doing something unique like Bryan Nelson. I am so grateful he took time in his busy schedule to answer all my questions. I know I was very curious.
I wish I could post more of his fantastic work here, so if you want to be even more amazed, visit his woodworking site here: http://www.nelsonwood.com see his Crochet Hooks here: http://www.nelsonwood.net and of course, visit his Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/NELSONWOOD.
And if you want to see all the newest creations, you can also follow him on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/bryan_tyler_nelson/
Nelsonwood Crochet Hooks are unique designs that will help with cramping and fatigued hands. Allowing us to crochet longer and with greater comfort. They are ergonomic and a pleasure to hold, being soft and warm to the touch (compared to metal hooks). They are a beautiful sight for the eyes, a handcrafted treasure that will be passed on for generations.
Which one of his work do you like best? Wooden hooks, hooks with flowers, stands, or bowls? Please share it with me in the comments below.
Have a beautiful day, and enjoy crocheting with your new hooks. 🙂