Today, we had the chance to ask some questions to Wesley Marien, Crafter from Belgium who made all kind of gorgeous furniture from recycled wooden pallets. If you think you deserve to be featured in the next interview, please, drop us an email.
Tell us a little more about you? Who you are? Where are you from?
My name is Wesley Marien. I live in Belgium, am 31 years old, married to a fantastic wife, a little son (from a former relationship). I’m kind of a rebel. At 20 years old, I started to D.J., but got into music in general when I started playing at age 11. I like to be as versatile as possible. I’m always looking for practical solutions at home or when people ask for my help or skills, and it makes me happy when they ask me. It’s hard to obtain a job though because I’m not the easiest guy to work with, so I want to start on my own business. I can quickly add to my skills, so I want to start something small - on my own and be my own boss. I do like to providing a service to people, so what better way to do it than with some creativity?
Why do you craft?
The urge to create things is greater than ever. Everything I make, I make with pride!
How did you learn to do wood crafts?
I have a basic education in woodcraft from school but never properly finished school. I like to challenge myself because I know I can learn anything if I put my mind to it. My father took me along to do some jobs with family or anyone who paid him when I was only 11 - 12 years old. Ever since I left school I became my father as my friends always could rely on me to do a job no matter what it was. I know a bit of everything... woodwork, electricity, metal, plumbing, and renovation in general, and I’m glad of it!
How long have you been working with pallets?
Since last summer.
Why did you choose to work with pallets instead of purchased wood?
I think we have all the wood we need in the world to recycle. There’s no need for cutting down new trees for mass production. :)
What are your can’t-live-without essentials?
My wife & my son!!! My music!!! My wood!!!
Are there any brands that are your favorites?
I’m not a brand type of guy.
How would you describe your crafting style?
Not perfect at all but solid and playful; unorthodox and maybe a little stubborn.
Are there any crafters/artists/designers that you particularly look up to?
Not really. You can learn from anybody and anything.
Where do you do your wood crafts? How would you describe your workspace?
In my shed and its well organized, otherwise it’s impossible to do a decent job. I always work organized, but never with a plan.
How did you make your workspace more functional and/or inspiring?
I made my own workbench, toolbox, shelves and I know a thing or two about electricity so that’s all well provided. If you create your own workspace then the morale and respect for your equipment is so much greater then when it’s all store-bought.
What types of things inspire you?
Inspiration is like love… you never know from which corner it lurks – like finding a site like 1001pallets.com for example.
Where do you look for inspiration for a new woodcraft?
It all depends… since I’m stubborn I like to do as little inspiration as possible. Not that I don’t do research, but I only need to see something once and then my brain starts to work.
When do you feel the most creative?
All day long!! But it never hurts to let your mind rest every now and then :)
We live in such a mass-produced, buy-it-now society. Why should people continue to make things by hand?
To put a hold on mass production! It’s hard to answer this particular question since I’m not happy with society the way it is. Cutting wood on a massive scale is one thing but what about all the animals that live in and around the trees!? Cut a tree here or there but not the horrible clear-cutting. That’s sad as hell!!
What is your favorite medium to work in (other than pallets)?
Any wood will do as long as it’s not rotten. :)
What are your tips for people who'd like to start crafting?
Push the limit always little by little. Never be afraid to try something new, and watch your fingers.
What are your most important safety tips when woodworking?
Train a steady hand and logic is your friend. Also there’s no need for rushing things while working with wood and be sure to use sharp tools.
What is your guilty pleasure?
What are some of your other hobbies or favorite things to do (other than crafting)?
Electronic music plays a big part in my life. I’ve played it for 20 years now and also recently into producing tracks and sounds. It’s my ultimate anti-stress, cure against society… music is always with me :) I also like to cook for my family since I’ve worked in several restaurant kitchens and picked up a thing or two from the experience. I make the best salads according to my wife!
Growing crops is also a thing we do in our garden and I have an indoor greenhouse where I spend every day an hour or two. Another thing that I just absolutely love is Western horseback riding. I’m not the best rider, but unafraid and they all say I have the talent for it. My wife says I have golden hands because everything I touch ends up well or turns into gold :)
What are some of your best tips for breaking down, prepping, and cleaning pallets before you build with them?
Take your time, inspect your pieces you want to use and decide where they all go in the project. If there are flaws in the wood, leave them in and give them a strategic place so like it’s meant to be there. Sanding is something you love or hate. I kinda love it because it reveals your end product so train yourself to sand, sand, sand and then sand some more. When the wood is to beat up throw it in the stove :)
Have you designed any special tools or jigs for wood crafts?
Not really but that will change soon.
What are some wood working skills you really want to learn?
Carving and sculpturing.
What is the one project you’re the proudest of so far?
For the moment it must be my famous (local) cathouse.
What else would you like to share with the pallet community?
No project can be bigger than the wood you have!
Editor’s Note: Thank you for your time and for sharing your story with us, and with our fellow Crafters. Your work is beautiful and inspiring to all of us, and we truly look forward to more from you in the future! Keep those gorgeous pieces coming!
Thanks Wesley for this interview :)
To find more on Wesley:
- check his profile on 1001Pallets