My name is Mac McElwain. This is a picture of me at work. The phrase "happier than a pig in shit" would be an accurate description of how I feel about my job most days.
I love the outdoors, and I love shaping the Earth's natural resources into beautiful, useful objects. After bouncing around between various restaurant and manual labor jobs, as well as a sputtering and uninspired career as a graphic designer and photographer, I've finally found a way to do what I love for a living.
"Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Carpentry is not always enjoyable. Sometimes you have to roll around in porcupine shit under a house and grind holes in granite. But I'm still pretty sure I'm doing what I ought to be for a living. How do I know that? Because my free time is spent doing for myself and my family the same sorts of things I've been doing for our customers all week.
With the skills, tools, and scrap material from my day job, I work weekends to craft unique and functional items to sell at craft fairs or online, to give as gifts, or to enjoy for myself.
I started crafting with my mom Bonnie, and step-dad Barrett at their home on Cross Lake, in Aroostook County, Maine. Sometimes we'd get a production line going and crank out several items in an afternoon. Other times it would take us the day to craft one small item, because we both happened to be more interested in talking than working.
Group projects were never my thing. I was an arrogant person for most of my life, and thought that I could do anything better by myself. After several humbling life experiences, and some group projects with my friends and family, I've learned a thing or two about collaboration that I'd like to share:
Working together can be more or less productive, but it's always more fun than working alone.
Group projects require you to let other members have their way when you'd rather have yours. You all must give to take.
Group projects are greater than the sum of their parts. What I could make, and what you could make, don't add up to anything near what we could make together.
My arrogance manifested itself in a lone-wolf mentality that infected all of my entrepreneurial endeavors. I wanted to be the man, self made, never got no help from nobody! That attitude didn't get me far. And it cost me a lot of money. The Spit & Whittle Club is my call to others who want to forego the lone-wolf mentality, and work together towards that common goal that Mark Twain talked about. Let's find a way to make a living doing what we love. It might take a while to get there, but at least we'll keep each other company while we wait.