Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Making Connections for Dancing Trees and in Life

Lou Quallenberg with the rough cut mesquite slabs of his Dancing Trees
The Mesquite Screen Scaffold
As you can see Lou Quallenberg's latest project, the Dancing Trees are now up and standing.  He achieved this feat with the help of a scaffold built specifically for that purpose.

All kinds of neat things have been created for this very special project. The one I wanted to talk about this month are the Connections, the special mesquite hardware pieces, Lou created that will connect the mesquite slabs to each other. There will be twelve of these beauties and each one will be sized and specially sculpted for it's specific location.

The Connections are created from solid chunks of squared 4"x4"x12-18" mesquite blocks that were cut into thin 1/8th inch slices.  The slices were then organized into opposite grained sets for strength and taped together.  Next they are glued together using System Three epoxy. We use this more expensive epoxy because so far it is the strongest epoxy we have found on the market. Once glued up they are then clamped and left to dry for several days.

After the glued blocks are dry they are then trimmed and cut into blocks the specific size required. The blocks are very carefully measured for their spot and then sculpted using the band saw, spindle sander, grinders and sand paper  to achieve the desired look. The different colors of the mesquite slices and the opposite grains give the Connection its striped variations. Lou thinks of them as mini tree limbs and each is a sculpted treasure.
Glued and Clamped Block
Mesquite Slices
 Taped Set of Mesquite Slices

The groove is cut into the sculpted piece using a router and jig. The tongue for the Connection is made from maple and will be screwed into the slab opposite of the sculpted Connection.  The tongue portion of the Connection will not be visible. Mesquite can be brittle and in order to ensure the durability of these Connections another hard wood was chosen.  These will be long lasting Connections.

 Mesquite Connector & Maple Tongue
Mesquite Connector and Block
Speaking of Connections I wanted to talk a bit about connections in business and the connections that weave throughout our lives.  First I want to mention how important it is to connect and follow up with your clients according to Richard Koch in The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less  using Pareto's Principle eighty percent of your business comes from twenty percent of your clients (it seems to be pretty much true for  Lou Quallenberg Studios.)  That twenty percent is important to your success!

Wet Mesquite Connection
Call them, email them follow up make that connection. You cannot fake the connection but if you honestly love what you are doing then you probably have formed some form of connection with that client. Nurture that connection!  It's basic customer service and it seems to have gone by the wayside as more companies become corporate giants and lose the connection with their customers.  

This new client came to us through a former client, obviously a satisfied former client. We connected regularly with this former client on facebook, via email and by phone. 

We spend hours trying to learn and understand the best way to connect using social media and the internet.  We tweet on twitter, post updates on facebook, link up on Linked In, blog on blogger all for the sake of connecting to our clients and prospective clients.

We try to keep a close and open connection with our Galleries (Artisans, Circle & Riverbend ) and other Representatives. Our open and sharing connection is truly enjoyed with our many artist friends. By helping out where we can we try to keep a community connection. We keep the family connection going by sharing shop space with Steve A. Walker and working Shawn A. Walker to the bone in his spare time, on top of regular family gatherings. Oh and we can't forget about our Pet Family connection (BTW Barney is now 7 months old and 110 lbs! He's a BIG puppy!)

 We all make connections throughout our lives and I truly believe these connections are what life is really ALL about.  Whether it is a connection with family, friends, customers, employees or a stranger in the parking lot the important thing is to make the connection!
A big thank you to Susan Britton Seyler for writing this recent article on Examiner.com 
Mesquite Heirloom Furniture by Lou Quallenberg - National designer furniture | Examiner.com Award winning Mesquite Artist Lou Quallenberg creates sculpted live edge furniture in a contemporary style that reflects the flavor of the west.