Work for Free?


               When I create something unique, I tend to know the people behind the piece, but not this time. The amazing part of being a “creative” is that you are opened to a world of entrepreneurs, simply trying to make it. It ranges from the whimsical art of calligraphy to seeing the world as a photographer. When you enter this society of people with various talents, you see opportunities that you would never have seen before. The opportunity was for my woodburnings to be brought to life through the exchanging of services with another “creative.” 

             We arranged for the photographer to have one of my woodburnings in exchange for pictures that would speak a story to those who see it. I did the same process that I normally do. Cutting, sanding, burning and staining the wood in preparation for this journey across a few states. Not only would it be shipped to an address unknown to me, but to a person I never met. Of course, you always have to keep the “worst case scenario” in your head when you start trusting people. “Are they going to say ‘thanks for the sign’ and never hold up to their end of the bargain?” “Will they completely forget about my little sign on the wedding day, among all the craziness of the moment?” “Do I need to give it my best work, considering that they may or may not do what I asked them to?” Forgive me for the negativity, but this could be a reality.

              I decided to do my best work and had to take the risk. After a few hours of work, I sent the photo and Heather Spencer (the photographer) loved it. She assured me (more than once) that she had not forgotten about me. It was shipped and it occurred to me that I just put time into something that may or may not work out! I just invested into someone I have never met! What was I thinking! I was now in limbo of waiting for the wedding day to occur. In the mean time, I wanted to learn more about the bride that the pictures would be taken with. 

            The photographer proceeded to tell me that the bride and groom met while in a canoe. That alone struck a cord with me. Jordan’s first date with me was centered around kayaking. The bride told the photographer of the groom’s kindness and the love he had for her. She told me of how they found love in the little things of holding hands. They dated for the same amount of time Jordan and I had dated. These moments were the ones where my faith in these people was reassured. They were real people, with a real story.

                As the wedding day drew near, I just kept hoping. I wanted pictures that would show the love between two people, while highlighting the artistic qualities in my sign. The words written were, “Go to the ends of the earth for you, to make you feel my love….” I opened the pictures and I could see the joy and happiness on their faces. Heather had beyond exceeded my hopes and put life to my art. It didn’t occur to me until that moment, but I had made a sign for a husband and wife to have as a memory of their wedding song. Every time they see it, they will remember to make everyday about going to the ends of the earth for the other. 

               I still haven’t met Heather and may never meet her, but she restored my faith in a stranger. She could’ve been part of my “worst case scenario” but instead she was my “best case scenario.” This project became much more than an exchange of services. Her photos made something amazing out of something so small, when compared to the love of this couple.                   

Commit your activities to the Lord, and your plans will be achieved.

— Proverbs 16:3

Surface Designer &  Wood Burning Artist

peachtree Corners, GA