Cameron Porter, a professional animator, turned woodworker, makes stunning creations right out of his garage. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, he now calls Columbia, South Carolina home. He’s enjoyed making art from a young age, often helping his parents with home improvement projects.
After leaving his career as an animator, he realized he had a passion for woodworking, especially the lathe. A woodturning lathe helps shape wood by rotating the piece around a stationary cutting tool. It’s mainly used for removing unwanted portions of wood to create the desired shape. Everyday items made using a lathe include cylindrical or circular objects like furniture legs, lamp posts, baseball bats, and bowls.
Using this tool, Cameron creates art in many forms for his home business known as Cammie’s Garage. While he makes mostly decorative items, he also crafts bespoke functional pieces, such as bowls, stools, and even a chess set. He sells some of his work on Etsy, where many buyers have given him five-star ratings.
Here’s more about how this professional animator became a talented woodworker, making magic in his garage.
“I’m a full-time studio artist; I have what I consider a very meager workshop with a limited amount of tools. In reality, you don’t need tools to make art – you just need your hands and some imagination,” Cameron says.
He’s always been a creator but didn’t begin his woodworking career until later in life. However, it’s never too late to follow your passions, as Cameron shows us. Sometimes, you need a reset in life to reignite that spark within you.
“I’ve been an artist since I was a child, but I didn’t start doing it for a career until I was in my late 20s. I had a 20-year career in the animation industry, including working on The Simpsons TV show and movie,” Cameron explained.
Now, the animator turned woodworker creates masterpieces in his garage.
“Life took me in a different direction, and when I was about 40 years old, I went to university and got a Studio Arts degree. While I was going to university, I discovered that I really enjoyed working with wood.”
The animator reveals some of the woodworking process on his YouTube channel. He shows viewers how to make certain items like tables, spoons, bowls, and even a wooden race car! Cammie’s Garage is now thriving, all because Cameron took a chance and followed his heart. While he mainly creates this wood art as a hobby, he makes custom pieces upon request as well.
“Art can mean a lot of things to different people. I like to make art that hopefully will enrich people’s lives. So, in my opinion, a home without art is empty,” he says.
Like most artists, he doesn’t create art with any specific result in mind. Instead, he lets his imagination take over and sees where it leads him. After all, art is all about letting go and creating what inspires you. It’s very much an intuitive process, which doesn’t follow rhyme or reason.
“I often start with an idea or notion and make things up as I go along. I know it’s finished if I get to a place where I feel like it meets the idea that I had in my head. And really, a piece is done when the artist says it’s done,” Cameron explains.
When he’s only working for himself, it might take him a while to finish a project. However, if he’s doing work for a client, he must meet specific deadlines. This timeframe helps speed up the process and puts his creative juices into overdrive.
Behind the scenes of the woodworking process
“Motivation is sometimes difficult to come by. For me, just staring at a blank canvas is the most daunting barrier to starting a piece. Having a purpose or a deadline, or a commission is usually the best motivation I get,” he says.
Cameron believes that art means something different for everyone. Some people want beautiful decorations to adorn their home with, while others desire functional art. Some people enjoy abstract art, while others prefer more realistic pieces. To each their own, right? That’s what makes life beautiful – the diversity in all existence.
“I think many artists would argue that your work should have a meaning or a message. I don’t necessarily agree with that. Sometimes it’s okay just to make things that are nice to look at. I try to create things that I believe are visually compelling, I hope,” Cameron says.
He offers the following advice for anyone wanting to get started with woodworking:
“If you want to make art, just go make art! You don’t need tools – all you need is your hands and some imagination. When I encourage people to go make art, I tell them: ‘Now go make something beautiful, or ugly.’”
The professional animator proves that you can always change directions in life, no matter your circumstances. Sure, it will take hard work and dedication, like anything, but you hold all the power you need. If you remain persistent and allow your intuition to guide you, there’s nothing you cannot accomplish.
Tips on getting started with woodworking
- Gather any necessary tools. While you don’t need anything fancy to start, simple tools like a tape measure, chisel, and sander will come in handy.
- Learn about different wood species to ensure you have the suitable wood for your project.
- Gather resources from industry experts or blogs.
- Start small. After learning about woodworking, set your sights on a small project to learn the ropes. Once you’ve mastered making something simple, like a cutting board or wall shelf, you can move on to larger projects.
Final thoughts on the professional animator now making wooden masterpieces
At some point in life, we all begin to question our purpose. Most of us follow the safe path in life, but that can get pretty boring after a while. As they say, life begins when we break out of our comfort zone, and that’s exactly what Cameron did.
After a 20-year career as an animator, he decided to get a degree in Studio Art. While in school, he found his true calling: woodworking. Now, he creates beautiful art made from wood right in his garage. If you’d like to check out his work, make sure to visit his Etsy or YouTube page.