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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Featured Artist Ken Koleszar

Oh, how I love Etsy!!!!
Today, I want to introduce you to
Ken Koleszar!

He is the owner of

Outside In Woodworks!
I saw Ken's work as I was looking around Etsy about a month ago. His workmanship caught my eye right away!
 My father, who is now 85 years old, used to be an amazing woodworker. When I saw Ken's craftsmanship it took me back to the days when workmanship, quality and passion for the art really took center stage! I just had to ask Ken for an interview! I am very excited to be able to share his Shop with you! Plus, as you all know... I love to find out what makes people tick!
 So, grab your coffee and get comfy! Here we go!!!
What do you sell?
I try to have a variety of items for sale. A lot of woodworking shops seem to have one strong point such as turning, scroll work, or boxes etc. I have been doing this a long time and have had the opportunity to refine my skills sets in most areas of woodworking. I sell everything from wine accessories to baking and cooking accessories to platter, bowls and quilt racks. About the only thing that I do not do is carve. I guess we all know what I’ll be learning next!
How did you get started with Etsy?
 I was first introduced to Etsy by doing research. I was looking for inspirational ideas for a Garlic and Wine festival and noticed that a lot of the pages I was landing on were at this place called Etsy. My wife and I just happened to be placed next to an ex-students parent’s booth, at that precise festival, and were talking about various ways and places to sell our goods. She brought up etsy since she has a shop here. Since then, I’ve been off and running!
When did you get interested in making your Art/Craft?
I can trace it back to elementary school. I remember, after watching Moby Dick, I wanted to make a harpoon., so I cut down a small tree, sharpened a point and started sanding away! Later, I took Industrial Arts classes all through school. My senior year I was in my woodworking room three periods a day, once for my class, once as a shop foreman and once out of study hall. I would present a project plan to my teacher, Mr. Lustig, and he would say, “Ken that looks too difficult”. I would go ahead and do it anyway and his response was always, ”Looks like you did it.”
Where does your inspiration come from?
Some of my inspiration comes from research, some from magazines and some from the material itself. Some items I design myself, always remembering that form follows function. If I’m going to a show I will obviously try to make fitting items. The item may be an everyday thing, such as a wine rack, so I try to take it up a notch or two. I took my Industrial Art classes to heart. I try to make “useful art”, something as beautiful as it is functional.
Who taught you or how did you learn your art form?
I learned the basics of woodworking in school. I learned a few techniques from magazines and the Internet, but mostly I am self-taught. An old Confucius saying goes, “I hear, I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.” There is no substitute for getting in there and trying something new.
Where do you see your Shop in 5 years from now?
I just started my shop five months ago. I am new to selling, let alone on line. Heck, I just joined Facebook a couple months ago, so I have a lot to learn about social networking and Etsy. I have been concentrating on getting a following and trying to be seen. Next to the quality of my products, I believe that this is my foundation to build upon. I have MANY ideas still rolling around in my head that I wish pursue. I see my shop expanding into new areas that will allow me to be even more creative. No matter where the years may lead me and my shop, quality of materials and craftsmanship will always be at the forefront, dictating what will be done.
 How do you manage your time between Etsy and the rest of your life?
I teach all of the Mechanical Drawing and woodworking classes at my local High School and have two young daughters, so it’s tough sometimes. It takes a lot of time to get an idea from my head to being an actual product and trying to build a following. I would say the biggest change has been, that now, I watch very little TV! That’s always a good thing. I try to do the computer stuff whenever I get a chance. As always, my wife is right there supporting me and our endeavor.
Is this a hobby, part-time job, or full-time job?
Unfortunately, I would have to say that today, it is a hobby. My aspirations have been to make it a part time job, but I’m not to that point in sales yet. I will keep on working toward that goal and I believe that at some point my answer would change.
Do you make or stock items you love, or what will sell?
I think that everyone makes items that they feel will sell or they wouldn’t be on Etsy. What I try to do is marry the two. I only produce items that I love and feel have the potential for a monetary reward.
Where else can we find you online?
Did you always want to have your own business?
I always thought that selling my woodworking would be an option. I’ve been collecting materials and tool my entire life and have come to the point where it has become a reality.
Any other thoughts you want to share with us?
Every year I have a cookout for the students I’ve had for their entire four years of High School. We eat, play games and give gag gifts but the main point is to show them that their dreams can become reality. They get to see my dream in real life. I explain that my father came off of the boat, from Hungary, with literally only the shirt on his back in 1956. He helped raise us four kids and is now retired. I wanted to become a teacher and raise a family in the country, which I’m doing with my wonderful wife Dawn. All of these things just didn’t happen. We had to make the right decisions. We had to make sacrifices and we had to stay focused. If you want something, work for it, make your own destiny. The people you surround yourself with matter.
I want to thank Ken and Dawn for letting us all peek into their lives!
And, did I not tell you that this was a fantastic shop!!!!!
Thank you so much Ken for allowing me to share your story, talent and your shop!
Run on over to Outside In Woodworks!
I only gave you a taste of what you will find there. Now, you all know where to go for that special wedding gift, housewarming gift and for all those birthday gifts! He has items in every price point. You surely can't go wrong with whatever you choose!
Oh, and Ken.....
                          give Dawn the night off...
                                                                   I know she deserves it!
Take care & thanks for reading!



  1. Beautiful work!!
    Thanks for sharing

  2. I am so happy you enjoy it! Thank you for stopping in!

  3. Wow, great interview. It truly shows Ken as he should be seen. I'm also glad that his work is being recognized because I've had the honor of seeing it first hand for many years.

  4. It's so nice to meet the artist behind the work. Ken's woodworking looks outstanding, I bet it's even more impressive to see it first hand. Very nice interview Kate!