Our makers never fail to motivate us, encourage our creativity, and fill us with inspiration. So, when a new design enters our assortment, we’re always excited to learn more about the people behind the product.
What gets an artist going and keeps them creating is certainly worth sharing, and every great connection starts with a simple introduction. Meet Aaron & Erin Nuland, creators of the Wooden Bus and the Wooden Baby Shower Gift Set.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist/maker?
Aaron has always been really good at working with his hands, very creative, and able to build just about anything. He spent much of his life in commercial construction, but one day he decided that that line of work didn’t leave him much time to spend with his family or allow him a proper creative outlet, so he started thinking about what else he could do. He had already made some wooden toys for our son, so we decided to see what would happen if he made some more and started selling them…and, A Summer Afternoon was born!
What was the most exciting thing about becoming a professional artist/maker?
Getting to design toys that help children play creatively and in a way that encourages their imaginations, as well as their fine and gross motor skills. Also, getting to involve our whole family in the process.
What does your typical day in the studio look like?
Generally just moving from machine to machine, completing each of the steps to make each toy as smooth as we can make it. Taking a break here and there to feed our goats and chickens or work on a chicken coop, play catch with our 6-year-old or bring to life one of our 4-year-old’s designs. No two days are the same around here!
Is there a trinket, talisman, or other inspirational object you keep near? If so, what is it and what does it mean to you?
No trinkets or talismans, but Aaron always likes working with the boys close by. They remind him of why he started doing this in the first place, and everything he hopes to accomplish.
Imagine you just showed your work to a kindergartner for the first time. What do you think they would say?
This one is easy to answer, since we have one finishing kindergarten, and one ready to start kindergarten this year. Whenever we show them a new prototype, they always want to try it out first, and then they want to know how it was made…what are the pieces that went into it? Then they usually go back to playing with it, determining all of the ways it can be used.
What quote or mantra keeps you motivated?
Chop wood, carry water…meaning work hard and stay humble!