I have always been an artist. As a young adult I made thousands of drawings, paintings and sculptures. I went on to art school at CMU in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where I eventually met my wife, Laura. While studying the habits of master painters, I discovered the practice of “sacred geometry,” or measurement and proportion in nature used to create symmetry. I became so excited about this process that I forgot entirely about painting. Along the way, Laura and I had two children and to support my new family I began making prints of my geometry work and selling them after dance parties, making a few hundred bucks at a time.
With the opening of TechShop in Pittsburgh I gained access to a laser cutter. I was the first student to learn how to use it and demonstrated the laser to President Obama when he visited. The laser cutter changed my process and how I make art, now my new work focuses on design that showcases the unique qualities of each piece of woodgrain. I have made countless pieces of jewelry, art and housewares with this technology. I’ve built a network of people who appreciate my work and supply dead-fall lumber and scrap wood to my shop. This new work includes landscapes of wood-grain, individual framed pieces of grain as jewelry, more traditional parquetry technique for boxes & coasters, and high end modern furniture.
After years of struggling to get by, my business has finally turned the corner. I’ve hired a business manager and with the addition of manufacturing space, industrial scale tools and employees we will continue to grow sustainably. My life is finally to the point where I am realizing my lifelong dream of a marriage between woodworking, geometry and art – all within an environmentally friendly community based business.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Naked Geometry creates functional design, using geometry and woodworking to craft everything from end tables to lamps to pendants. While most designers rely heavily on either the aesthetic, symbolic or mathematical aspects of the work, we focus on all three, adding an additional awareness of our primary material, wood.
While we have only been operating for a few years we already are selling our products all over the country in brick-and-mortar locations like the Museum of Mathematics in NYC. In addition to wholesale commerce we retail directly online to our over 70,000 followers on various social media platforms. And we are just as popular in the festival circuit and the art scene where we maintain a strong following year after year.
As the business has grown, so have our needs. We have an endless supply of sustainably sourced deadfall wood but limited access to storage. In order to continue to grow we need to move into a larger space where we can store our materials and tools in a humidity-free environment, as well as kiln and mill our own lumber. We have most of the major equipment to expand our business infrastructure already, including planers and drum sanders to process the boards. We need a professional band-saw for “re-sawing” sheets for later use in laser and CNC routers along with additional supplies to turn a generous donation of two shipping containers into solar heated wood kilns.
We are on track for continued growth and are committed to expanding while not sacrificing any of our core values of environmental sustainability and local production. After 3 years of refining our business model we are ready to move into larger scale development.
What is the purpose of this loan?
With the Kiva loan we will be able to use $1000 to retrofit two large shipping containers to serve as solar powered kilns for the wood we collect. This will allow us to dry the deadfall wood we find without having to use any external power or fuel source. With the addition of the $5,555 MiniMax S600P 24″ Bandsaw, we will be able to mill all of our found wood into usable lumber sheets. The addition of these two components reduces our materials and production cost to nearly zero, along with making our process nearly 100% environmentally friendly and sustainable. By a conservative estimate, this will allow us to nearly triple our production output and easily create new larger scale products. The remaining $3,445 will be used to procure a space that will allow us to consolidate all of our tools and materials into one, humidity controlled environment. Having a central location for design, manufacture, and shipping should further increase our efficiency, allowing us to spend more time on marketing and sales.
Years in operation: 3 years – 5 years
A loan of $10,000 helps James buy tools, equipment, and space to increase production of Naked Geometry’s functional designs.