Fort Langley Woodworker Pursues His Dream
The latest trend is real and it’s cool. You might simply call it authenticity. However, in a rock star world of in-your-face, bleached-out repetition, how does one find their way?
Look no further than JP of Claterpult who has effortlessly done just that. With the confidence to boldly pursue the life he wants all with a laid-back attitude, JP has leaned into his passion for woodworking. His curiosity and his eagerness to learn have been his steadfast compass. JP isn’t trying to impress anyone – he has meaning and purpose in life, and quite frankly, nothing is going to stand in his path.
After a stint of living in Europe, following his beloved around as she pursued a career in professional volleyball, JP arrived home with an arsenal of inspiration. The old world and its abundance of museums had imprinted his soul.
“They take old buildings and make them modern … [this idea] pushes me,” JP reveals.
This momentum of insight drove JP to chase his dreams.
JP became a technology education teacher, created a family with his wife, and built some beds. Then, after one of his tables cracked from a rollicking card game of Spoons, JP embarked on a self-led tutorial of ‘how to’ YouTube videos and a motivating design course at Emily Carr. JP had learned a valuable lesson: wood must be cured or acclimatized before construction.
The skills required to create with his hands weren’t simply the result of his educational pursuits – they were inherently in his veins. JP’s grandfather was a machinist, and from an early age JP was surrounded by a family who chose to make or fix the things they needed, rather than paying someone else to do it.
Their presence is palpable. Hung proudly on one of his studio walls is a large photograph of his mother and grandfather. The effect is much like a temple and its guru.
What else inspires him? His son, Charlie. When Charlie was three, he used to say claterpult instead of catapult and the light came on for JP: Claterpult would be the business he always hoped for. JP was hearing a clatter of ideas he unquestionably could not ignore.
One of those ideas is to shorten the supply chain. JP has noticed a trend: clients are asking, where did this tree come from? As more and more clients are demanding to feel part of the creative process, JP has responded with more Instagram snaps and the initiative to provide his clients with photographs of their slab furniture as he works on them. Like in his own life, JP wants to take his clients on an intimate journey, from concept to product.
As far as concepts, they are developed on paper.
“They are lines that become something,” JP explains.
Indeed, those lines are becoming stunning live edge furniture, all made from local slabs. JP is flipping common practise upside down and making functional details like the Bowtie (a joint used to hold two pieces of wood together) a spotlight. He wants to celebrate the imperfections rather than mask them. Much like his kitchen table where, in his eyes, the spoon dents are patina.
Following what pushes him makes JP feel grounded, even when it’s not the norm. To illustrate this, JP tells a story about how he has been climbing trees – twice, in one month. His family has a new cat named Bob. Get it? Bobcat.
“I climb trees man. As a young kid I always wanted to be a firefighter, so I feel that’s the closest I’m going to get, getting a cat out of a tree. Surprisingly I am not comfortable with heights. But there’s something about being connected with my hands and my feet that it doesn’t bug me,” JP expresses.
JP might be up in the trees chasing a cat these days, but his heart is firmly planted in his woodworking studio. Walking around his work space reveals his passions. There are photographs of family members. There is a dartboard and beer fridge indicating good times with friends. There is Blue Boy the guitar hanging proudly on the wall, along with skateboards built by his own hands. There is Star Wars paraphernalia scattered about. Then there are the stacks of slabs and an array of tools. It’s the way JP’s hands trail over all of their surfaces like an undeniable magnetic force that says, he is home.
Just like one of JP’s favourite musical artists Amos Lee puts it: “We all need a place that we can go and feel over the rainbow.”
Discover more about JP and Claterpult here: www.claterpult.com