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2439 36 St SW
Calgary, AB, T3E 2Z6

FROM OUR HANDS

 

 

words from the founder

John Fache

an interview from Market Collective 

CAMP & CITY IS AN INTERESTING COMPANY NAME, AND IT DEFINITELY CONJURES UP A SERIES OF EMOTIONS REGARDING RURAL AND URBAN LIVING. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME, AND HOW HAS YOUR DAILY LIVING INFLUENCED OR BEEN INFLUENCED BY IT?

GROWING UP IN CALGARY, LIFE IN THE CITY IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING I’M ACCUSTOMED TO, BUT MY FAMILY AND I WERE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO PACK OUR BAGS AND SPEND OUR SUMMERS AT THE LAKE. SOME OF MY FONDEST MEMORIES ARE SPENT AT THE CABIN, AND EVEN NOW—24 YEARS LATER—IT’S THE PLACE I GO WHEN I NEED A BREAK FROM RUSH HOUR TRAFFIC AND THE DAY-TO-DAY GRIND.

THE IDEA OF CAMP & CITY IS THAT THERE IS EQUAL VALUE IN BOTH RURAL AND URBAN LIFESTYLES. THERE’S SOMETHING POWERFUL ABOUT BEING JUST AS COMFORTABLE AT A SOCIAL EVENT IN A BUSTLING METROPOLIS, AS CLIMBING AND FISHING IN THE MOUNTAINS. THERE’S NO NEED TO COMPROMISE ONE LIFESTYLE FOR ANOTHER BUT INSTEAD WHY NOT DIP YOUR TOES IN THE LESSONS EACH HAVE TO OFFER.

WHAT IS CAMP & CITY, AND WHAT TYPES OF WORK DO YOU CREATE?

IF I WERE TO HAVE TO CLASSIFY CAMP & CITY, I WOULD CALL IT WOOD SHOP MEETS DESIGN STUDIO. I THINK THE FUNDAMENTAL GOAL IS TO BE CONTINUALLY DESIGNING AND REFINING CONCEPTS.

I GET THE SAME PLEASURE OUT OF BUILDING A 9-FOOT LONG TABLE AS I DO A SET OF PALETTE COASTERS. IT’S THE PRACTICE OF BEING IN THE SHOP DAY IN DAY OUT AND GETTING MY HANDS DIRTY THAT I LOVE MOST.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING WITH WOOD, AND WHAT WERE SOME OF THE INITIAL THINGS THAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN THIS TYPE OF ART?

I ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA OKANAGAN WHERE I STUDIED FINE ARTS. I HAD AN AMAZING WOODWORKING INSTRUCTOR THAT GAVE ME THE FREEDOM TO JUST PLAY—EVEN IF WHAT I WAS CREATING WAS SUB PAR AT BEST. SINCE I WAS YOUNG, I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WORK WITH MY HANDS, AND THESE YEARS DEFINITELY HEIGHTENED THAT DESIRE – I JUST SO HAPPENED TO BE A TERRIBLE PAINTER.

IN ALL HONESTY, SITTING DOWN TO WRITE THESE QUESTIONS IS A REAL STRUGGLE AND I THINK THAT REAFFIRMS IN ME WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT WOODWORKING. IN SCHOOL EVERYTHING NEEDED A DEEPER MEANING BUT WHEN YOU’RE DOING YOUR OWN THING YOU’RE ABLE TO DETERMINE VALIDITY AND VALUE ON YOUR OWN TERMS. THE FINAL PRODUCT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF AND REQUIRES VERY LITTLE EXPLANATION OR JUSTIFICATION.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE TYPES OF WOOD/OR MATERIAL TO WORK WITH?

I LIKE ANYTHING WITH A STORY. I’M NOT PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN WHAT’S TRADITIONAL OR EXPECTED, AND I THINK IT’S BEST WHEN THERE IS SOME FORM OF CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CLIENT AND THE CHOSEN MATERIAL. FOR EXAMPLE, LAST YEAR I BUILT A SIDE TABLE FOR MY BEST FRIEND AND HIS NEW WIFE. THE INLAY WAS WOOD I FOUND AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS THAT HELD SIGNIFICANCE THROUGHOUT THEIR RELATIONSHIP LEADING UP TO THEIR MARRIAGE. THERE’S A CERTAIN LEVEL OF RICHNESS WITH SUCH STORIES THAT DIFFERENTIATES CUSTOM WORK TO WHAT CAN BE PURCHASED IN A STORE.

NOW, DON’T GET ME WRONG—I GO WEAK IN THE KNEES FOR ANYTHING MADE OF BLACK WALNUT.

WHAT HAS THE JOURNEY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND CREATIVITY BEEN LIKE FOR YOU?

ENTREPRENEURSHIP HAS BECOME SOMEWHAT OF A BUZZWORD AND I THINK PEOPLE REALLY GLAMORIZE THE LIFESTYLE THAT COMES WITH OWNING YOUR OWN COMPANY. WHILE THERE’S NO DENYING THE HARD WORK IS FULFILLING IT’S STILL JUST THAT—HARD WORK. IT’S ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO COME BACK TO YOUR INITIAL PURPOSE AND STAY GROUNDED IN THAT REASON WHEN THINGS AREN’T QUITE SO FUN.

IN ADDITION TO CAMP & CITY, I WORK AS A DESIGNER AT AN ARCHITECTURE FIRM. MY SKILL SET AND KNOWLEDGE HAS CERTAINLY HELPED ME IN BOTH ROLES, BUT IT CAN BE DIFFICULT TO FIND TIME TO BE CREATIVE AFTER A LONG DAY IN THE OFFICE.

CREATIVITY OFTEN COMES WHEN I HAVE THE TIME TO DEVOTE TO GETTING NICE AND SAWDUSTY—TRIAL AND ERROR IS KEY.

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL ANY ASPIRING WOODWORKER IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE?

TAKE CARE OF YOUR FINGERS. THEY’RE YOUR 10 BEST TOOLS AND THERE ARE NO EXTRAS IN STOCK.

AND NOW…A LITTLE ABOUT YOU! WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE CAMPING SPOTS AND ACTIVITIES? WHAT GETS YOUR BLOOD RUSHING IN THE BIG OL’ OUTDOORS?

I’M SURE MOST PEOPLE WOULD EXPECT ME TO NAME SOME OBSCURE LOCATION DEEP IN THE WOODS BUT IN ALL HONESTY MY FONDEST CAMPING MEMORIES STEMS FROM SUMMERS WITH MY DAD. MY MOM WOULD ALWAYS LET US GO ON A BOYS WEEKEND AND EACH YEAR HE WOULD LET ME PICK OUR CAMPING DESTINATION. TIME AFTER TIME I PICKED WILLOW ROCK CAMPGROUND. I ALWAYS PICKED THE SITE CLOSEST TO THE HIGHWAY BECAUSE I LOVED HEARING THE SEMIS DRIVE BY. IT ALSO HAPPENED TO HAVE A HUGE FLUORESCENT LIGHT—NOT QUITE AS ALLURING AS A FULL MOON OR A SKY FULL OF STARS. I LIKE TO THINK MY TASTE HAS EVOLVED SINCE THEN.

I GREW UP FLY-FISHING AND I LOVE CLIMBING. EACH PROVIDES A VERY DIFFERENT CHALLENGE AND REQUIRES A LOT OF PATIENCE. THAT BEING SAID, SKIING WILL ALWAYS BE MY FAVOURITE ACTIVITY. I LOVE WHEN IT’S TIME TO TURN THE FURNACE ON.

DO YOU HAVE ANY EXCITING ADVENTURES PLANNED FOR THE SUMMER?

MY GIRLFRIEND AND I ARE HEADED ON A SURF TRIP DOWN THE OREGON AND CALIFORNIA COAST FOR THREE WEEKS IN SEPTEMBER. IT WILL BE A LOT OF RUBBER BOOTS AND RAINCOATS—I’VE NEVER BEEN BEFORE SO I’M REALLY EXCITED TO FINALLY SLOW DOWN AND ENJOY THAT AREA.

THERE’S A COUPLE BUCKET LIST ITEMS WHICH INCLUDE THE REDWOOD FOREST, SURFING THE COLD WATERS OR OREGON, CLIMBING IN JOSHUA TREE, AND OF COURSE SEVERAL STOPS AT IN-AND-OUT BURGER. FUEL IS KEY.

WHAT WILL YOU BE SHOWCASING AT THE AUGUST MARKET COLLECTIVE?

LATELY I’VE BEEN DOING A LOT OF LARGE CUSTOM WORK SO I’M EXCITED TO FOCUS ON SMALLER PROJECTS. EXPECT TO SEE SERVING BOARDS, RINGS, MINI TERRARIUM HOUSES, AND MORE. AFTER ALL, I NEED TO MAINTAIN SOME LEVEL OF MYSTERY!

Read more about other artist around YYC at www.marketcollective.ca