Deborah Groenheyde is a Multi-Media Artist and creator of the Hand & Paw Project™ who began her “Artisan Journey”, as a wood turner.
The story is wonderfully amazing and is worth sharing. I am sure it will warm your heart.
Please watch the video below to hear Deborah’s story in her own words.
She and her husband decided to take a class to learn how to make a wooden bowl back in 2003. As Deborah entered the class she was not intimidated by being the only female, and instead went straight to the wood pile to select her piece of wood that she would create into a beautiful bowl.
As she listened to Jack Wayne, the instructor, explain how the lathe operates, Deborah realized that this was a machine that was to be respected. The 3800 RPM of the Power-Matic lathe could rip your arm off if you were not paying attention and the hand tools could catch an edge and cause severe injury. So it was important to pay attention and be diligent.
As she attached the piece of Cherry to the lathe, she started to create her first piece of art and her journey as an artist began. As she worked through the steps to make the bowl, she was overcome with emotion and started to cry. You see the piece of wood had beautiful markings. It was curly and highly figured and it was the first species of wood she was introduced to as a young child.
When she realized the figure in the wood was in the shape of a V, she could not help but stop and take a moment. You see her mother’s name is Vera.
She was anxious to complete the bowl, and as she did, Jack, the instructor asked if he could come along side of her, and observed how she was working with the hand tools. He turned the lathe off and asked her how long had she been turning. When Deborah responded and said that this was the first time she had ever used a lathe, his response was the same as her husbands.
“I can’t help but witness that you are using the tools as a seasoned wood turner”, an old school wood worker, and if Jack had not known anything different, he assumed she had been working on the lathe for over a year.
He suggested that she embrace the gift that she had been blessed with, as he had only ever witnessed this gift a few times with the hundreds of students he had shared his skill with. The rest is history. Needless to say, her mom has the first bowl she made.
Her father is a very well respected wood worker, from London, England, and trained as an apprentice at the young age of 9. His work and craftsmanship have been shared with many around the world for over 80 years.
Her father shared his love of wood with her as a young gal and she loved the aromas that came from the wood working shop, as she watched her father bring wood to life.
As I spoke to her about her woodworking, she shared about the day when her Dad came for a visit. She was able to share the lathe with her father and as they worked on a project together, her husband was in the background watching, and was amazed at how they both used the wood working tools the same.
As they maneuvered their way around the piece of wood, and as her father turned his first bowl, the similarities were profound, and they all took a moment and smiled. These are fond memories.
In 2006, Deborah started playing with Semi-Precious stones and Semi-Precious metals. She loved all the beautiful stones and findings and began a collection that she sourced from around the world.
Her work is Asymmetrical, very unique and interesting, no two pieces are alike, and she did this for a reason. They are “Wearable Works of Art”, and they command attention when worn.
As she became known for making unique jewelry, and as her client base grew around the world, she realized that she wanted to make components from Sterling and other semi-precious metals that would compliment the fabulous assortment of gems.
Hence, the “Healing Heart Series”, which is a fabulous Hand Forged Sterling Heart, which encompasses Two hearts. This was a very personal series Deborah designed and captures the true essence of love.
When Deborah mentioned to her father that she was hammering Sterling and other precious metals, he reminded her of her Grandfather who was a Ferrier for the British Army back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The artistic talents from generations before her, flow through her in a profound way. It is very obvious that she was blessed with her Father and Grandfather’s talents.
Deborah is self-taught in Hand Forged Metals, Wood Turning and Leather Crafting. Her beautiful hand-forged Sterling Hearts are available by custom order along with all the other wonderful Semi-Precious jewelry and fine wood working.
Deborah’s ability to capture her feelings in her art can now be realized in the Hand and Paw icon.
Her dogs Moka and Java, were a great inspiration to her.
She rescued them when they were 7.5 weeks old from a shelter on Maui. Their unconditional love flowed through her, and thus the vision for this magnificent piece of art came to life.
It was first produced as a bracelet and keychain and has evolved into a full line of Leather and Vegan leashes and collars.
“Wearable Works of Art for You and Your Pet”™.
A portion of every sale is given to shelters and rescues around the world, as well, many products are donated to assist these organizations through their auctions.
This beautiful work acknowledges the connection and relationship that humans have with our animals.
The symbol is of her hand and her dog Moka’s Paw.
Moka passed over Rainbow Bridge back in Jan 2015, and so her brother, Java, has become the Ambassador for the Hand and Paw Project. “Helping One Paw at a Time”.™
If you know of an organization that requires assistance, please contact the Hand & Paw Project™ by filling out the contact form on this website.