Craft artist Jim Dandy blends a combination of hard work and dedication when it comes to creating unique pieces for the Newark Senior Center Gift Shoppe. His passion for crafting began when he was 12 years old. When he was a child, he watched his father perfect crafts which led him to try it on his own. In 1984, he was also introduced into the crafting world by one of his co-workers. This particular colleague taught him how to carve wood, make speaker consoles, and create other carved products. By the 2000s, Jim started to take carving seriously and began crafting items on his own.

Jim has been in the carving business for over 30 years.  Some of his favorite items to make are pens, bottle/wine stoppers, bowls, and candlesticks. When creating crafts, Jim typically uses domestic wood such as oak or cherry. He also uses foreign woods depending on the item he is making. When planning and prioritizing his work, Jim likes to locate some of the best woods imported in the country. Some of the wood products that he uses typically come from Africa and South Asia. He then figures out what he wants to make and finds the right measurements for those items.  When asked how often research is involved when it comes to design inspiration, he stated “I don’t look too often. I typically like to do my own projects.”  Jim loves to use exotic woods to differentiate his work from other crafters. He typically uses these types of woods because of the colors involved.  Creating crafts doesn’t take as long as you think; in fact some only take a few hours. For example, a bowl typically takes about 4-5 hours to complete, where as a pen may only take 1 hour.  Although Jim enjoys crafting, there are some challenges that he faces while creating crafts.  According to Dandy, “There are mistakes that are made. Sometimes you notice different cracks in the wood when the project is almost complete.”  Although these obstacles are faced, Jim still continues to excel in what he does best, crafting.  For any individual looking to enter the crafting field, Jim offers some beneficial pieces of advice.  The first step is to invest in what you what to do, and pick a subject that you want to make.  Another important step is to find the right equipment along with someone who is skilled with operating the equipment.