When asked if becoming a carpenter was a part of her life plan, Christa responded with a resounding no, she said, “I always enjoyed building, but it wasn’t something I thought I could make into a career.”
A cashier at a local grocery store (Loblaws) for 15 years, Christa finally left her job in the hopes of pursuing something more suited to her ambitions. She went to an employment centre and from there she was able to enroll at George Brown in the course, First Level Carpentry. She couldn’t believe this opportunity was available to her. Christa did her placement at Furniture Bank and was hired as a Workshop Associate in September 2019.
A big part of Christa’s role at Furniture Bank is to upcycle existing pieces of furniture, sometimes dated and old, broken or missing from a set, these pieces of furniture transform into something completely different.
“I just love working here. There’s so much room for growth and change and constant learning.”
When asked about where her inspiration comes from, Christa says, “I see a piece of furniture that needs some love and then I just think up an idea and execute it. It just comes to me. Every product I work on is a little bit better than the one before it.”
She finds old materials around the showroom, something that calls out to her. Each project is different, taking around 1 – 4 days to complete. There’s nothing she can’t dream up.
When asked how it feels to see a piece she created on the showroom floor chosen by a client to take home and love, Christa says with a smile, “I feel joyous when my piece is selected – even when I just see it on the showroom floor I’m proud. Sometimes I’ll text a friend to let them know and within minutes when I go back to check, it’s gone. It makes me happy that I’m providing some sort of comfort to a family that’s less fortunate.”
Everyday Christa is improving her carpentry skills, having learned how to use a wood burner to etch designs into the wood, stencilling, and much more. Able to build a dining room table out of old table leafs, her next project to master is building a chair from scratch.
When thinking about everything she’s designed and created since joining the team, she can’t single out a favourite piece, Christa says, “I’m proud of everything I’ve made because I put my all into everything that I do.”