Geoffrey Butler

Matt Hunter
FURNITURE MAKER
Photography GEOFFREY BUTLER
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My dad thought the advertising world was a good fit for me. Secretly, he was pleased I wound up there, so I knew I had to have a pretty airtight escape plan. I said, Here's what's going on: I'm not very happy with what I'm doing at work, so I'm going to go to school in Nelson for furniture design. And to pay for it, I’m going to go back to tree planting; I leave next week. He was a bit panicky, but pretty good. And in the morning as I'm leaving, there's an envelope at my door with my name on it.
My first night, I’m back in a tent after living in the city for two and a half years in a nice apartment with a car, and I’d just basically burned it all right to the ground. And friends are being fucking responsible and doing the right thing and getting their CFAs, and I'm in a sleeping bag in minus five in the woods going, What the shit have I just done?

And then I open the letter.

He said that he supported me and he would continue to support me whatever I wanted to do. He appreciated my planning, and said I stitched it all together to get where I needed to be. It was pretty emotional.
I was never drawn to the contracting side of it. I wanted to be in the shop, in the studio, on a smaller, tighter scale. That always appealed to me more. When you work on your own, you're only answering to yourself. If you're having a tough morning, you just go out and walk around for 20 minutes and get some fresh air and go back. And if that means staying at the shop an extra hour, that's what it means. For me it's never been the nine to five thing where I had to be somewhere. If you have any kind of work ethic and you take pride in your work, you just get it done.
I rant and rave about the frustration of scheduling, but at the end of the day, it just means I have to say no to somebody. And to be honest, I need some time off because I need to build a fence here. I need to build a wardrobe in our bedroom. I never have the time for that stuff. I did when I was first starting because I had gaps in the projects. It's hard to find that time, but if that's my biggest problem, that I'm too busy, then that's fine.
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