Through CLyons Creations, Chris Lyons creates everyday wooden items for your health and home made in Minneapolis. Each piece is created to cater to your unique taste and style. Items include cutting trays, scoops, razors, combs, gifts and more. See more of his work at https://www.clyonscreations.com/. To meet Chris and learn more about his work in person, be sure to stop by the upcoming Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand on June 3rd, 2017.
Talk about the beginnings of CLyons Creations. What inspired you to begin this endeavor?
The beginnings of it all started as a teenager. I'd say I was a tinker-er, spending a lot of time in the garage, most of the time without a focus. As I got older I started getting into woodworking, as I had learned some from my grandfather by that point. I started getting into making guitars in high school and dabbled in it throughout College. In the last few years I started making more gifts for people and other random items. I knew I wanted to learn new skills and try new techniques, but didn't want or have the space to keep all of the experiments around. This became a away for me to do the new experiments and still bring joy to those around me with what I could create. It's always been about me being able to try new things to reach the point where I would like to be as a maker, but not have to keep every piece that I make.
Have you always been creative? What choices or steps have led up to your current creative projects?
I've been creating since I was little, it's the medium and final products that have changed over the years. As a young teen I created a lot of bicycles, weird creations, then I moved into music which got me into Guitar Building. Those two have been the main creative forces for 12 years now, and I can't see the end in sight either. By day I'm a shop teacher, and that has allowed me to surround myself in areas where I'm constantly striving to learn more. Everyone's creativity is a relative item and can take so many different forms, I'm just enjoying mine at the moment.
In terms of living and making in Minnesota, do you feel connected to this place?
I feel that Minnesota is the central part of the Midwest, acting as the middle ground. People are proud to live here and it definitely rubs off on anyone who comes through the area. How can anyone miss or dislike all of the Minnesota shaped goods on all shelves. I've really enjoyed living and making in this state since arriving here.
Where in the process of making do you find fulfillment?
Some people find fulfillment in one step or area, but I found that I truly love every step. From cutting lumber, to shaping, sanding, finishing, trying new techniques and machines. Seeing someone else's reaction to a piece that I have a different connection or experience with is all fulfilling to me.
In terms of the growing DIY or craft trend happening right now, do you think that some quality artisans and craftspeople could sprout out of the pool of hobbyists?
I think those people have always been present within this field. The fact that it's a growing trend at the moment only helps to bring certain Crafts People out of the woodwork. I only hope that the trend is for those with truly unique crafts and skills to be recognized for what they've put into their work. Most people start these type these forms of work through hobbyist intentions, but as more people recognize their skills it turns into their work.
I think a lot of people yearn to make things, utilize their hands for tasks beyond their laptop/smart phone, and dream of becoming more self sufficient. What advice would you give to people who have a desire to make, but don't really know how to satiate that desire?
I read a quote today but don't remember who said it. It said,"you don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great."
Are experimentation and trying to new techniques important to your vision and execution?
Trying new techniques and experimenting is what CLyons Creations has been about the whole time. The main reason for me creating most of the things I do is out of the desire to learn a specific skill or technique. I created my serving trays out of wanting to reuse elements from guitars I built and practicing bending wood. My small turnings have come from blending to use small amounts of wood to create something useful. Recently I started casting scraps and unusable pieces in resin, which allows me to use every piece possible and give my pieces a whole new look. This helps keep it interesting for me and each piece I make is individual and unique.
Do you feel like making and creating through your business allows you to contribute to something larger than yourself? Mostly I'm just trying to supply my friends with things they can use everyday. I don't know if I would consider it larger than myself, but hopefully contributes to the idea that we don't need to buy things from large corporations and companies that produce lots of waste. Also, the want to show people that you shouldn't have to buy something multiple times in your lifetime, why not be able to buy something one time and use it forever. I get really bummed out on the mindset of throw something away if it's broke to buy a new one. Most of the wood I'm using I've gotten from scrounging, friends and family. Very rarely do I buy wood, and if I do I typically have a specific project or look I'm trying to accomplish.
Have you participated in MSP Mini Maker Faire before? What will you be sharing there on June 3rd?
This is my first time participating in MSP Mini Maker Faire. I will be sharing how I create my hybrid wood and resin wood-turning blanks and how to get started on a wood lathe. My goal is to inspire people to learn to make their own creation, and show that it's easier to get started than most think. I will also have my usual array cutting boards, razor handles, brushes, combs, and coffee scoops. I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and having some great conversations. Please stop by and say hello!