Hello and welcome to the Minnesotamade Holidays series where we’ll be spending the better part of a month getting acquainted with some local artisans. If you’re new here, be sure to glance over the introductory post to get up to speed on what’s happening and check out other interviews. If you’re a returning reader (thank you!), grab a comfortably warm cup of something and read on. And don’t forget to peruse the accompanying slideshow- its chock full of images of each participant’s work and an occasional glimpse of their studio.
Now let’s have a warm welcome for Keith Moore of Pilot Design.
Please introduce yourself and your work.
My name is Keith Moore, and I design and build modern home accessories. My work is heavily influenced by my background in graphic design, and a love of typography and color. I’m also a big fan of technology, so that plays a big part in my process.
Where can I purchase your work?
My main point of sale is pilotdesign.etsy.com. I’m also selling locally at Manufactory, next to the SOOVAC gallery here in Minneapolis, and Gallery 360. I usually have stuff in W7 Collective pop-up shows, too. I’ll have a booth in the No Coast Craft-o-Rama show in the Midtown Global Market December 3rd and 4th.
Is this your full time job? If no, what else do you do?
Not yet. By day, I’m an interactive designer. I’ve spent most of my career designing websites after having starting in print design.
What is a typical day like for you as an artisan? Which parts of managing your enterprise give you the most energy and which parts do you least look forward to?
I come home from my day job at 5:30 and get into my grubbies, then head out to the shop most nights. I share a shop space with other woodworkers about 3 miles from my house by the U of M. I usually start by painting parts or laminating some MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) and warming up the CNC (programmable router) while I wait for things to dry. I try to be efficient with my time by doing finishing and assembly while the CNC is cutting parts. My process varies slightly depending on my orders, but it can be sanding, gluing, painting, assembly, applying vinyl or packing. When I get home I print labels and write thank you cards so shipments can go out in the morning on my way to work. I often spend my lunches responding to emails or ordering supplies. (full disclosure: No, I don’t have kids, and yes, my wife is an Etsy widow).
The part that gives me the most energy is when I have a new design. I spend time fleshing out ideas in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, so actually seeing the physical piece come to life is very gratifying. I used to design and build furniture, and it could take 2-3 months to see the final piece. With clocks and lighting, I can see it finished in a few hours.
The thing I least look forward to is doing shows and fairs. They’re a lot of work, and very hit-or-miss. But they’re good for marketing and building awareness, so I often see fruits later on.
What would you make Santa for Christmas?
Tough question, since he has a whole workshop full of elves. I guess I’d make him a drink to enjoy after his long night of hard work.
Is there anything I forgot to ask?
How did I come up with the name of my company, Pilot Design? I had the idea in college of creating a company that would touch all facets of design; product, fashion, graphic, etc. Pilot came to me because it has so many great and wide-ranging meanings. A pilot is a skilled professional who takes people places they may not have been before. A pilot light is a small flame that ignites a larger fire, and pilot programs are testing grounds for the viability of ideas. Granted, it’s a far cry from what I envisioned, but I’m not dead, yet.