We had the good fortune of connecting with Jim Nottke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jim, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
I do, actually. I have it tattooed on the inside of my left arm. The quote is by Einstein and it says, “It is impossible to solve significant problems using the same knowledge that created them.” From the moment I first read that, it resonated with me. Its profound simplicity can be applied in any number of disciplines and custom woodworking and design is no exception. Thinking outside of the box is the foundation of what I do. No two projects are the same and they all have their unique obstacles however, it’s been my experience that the most formidable hurdle standing in your way, is typically yourself and I believe that’s what Einstein was eluding to. Allow your creativity to take the front seat from time to time. You might surprise yourself.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a woodworker, and the founder and owner of SoPaw Design Co. At SoPaw we strive to build one of a kind home decor, wall art and furniture pieces that are tailored to our customers’ taste. In 2014, after my mom’s passing, and after an intensive introspection, I left the family business that my mother founded in search for my passion, and I found it in woodworking. Aside from the fact that woodworking satiates my longing for creativity, there is a kind of joy and solace in woodworking that I can only compare to that of meditation. In that, as a woodworker you are dealing with a natural element whose magnificent origin urges you to maintain and replicate its inherent beauty through your craft. Yet, the limited malleability of wood leaves little to no room for error, which humbles you as a woodworker, and demands you to perfect your craft through perseverance. I think what I’m most proud of is that I never say no to a challenging project. As a matter of fact, I welcome it. Not only is every challenge an opportunity to get creative, but also it is very fulfilling to see the smile on the face of a satisfied customer, at the end.
Well, of course it was not easy to learn a craft and start a business on my own. At times it was daunting, but as I said, I enjoy challenging myself, so eventually it became rewarding.
The most important lessons I learned through woodworking are patience, concentration, and commitment to creativity and quality, which I have incorporated into my business. And it is what I aspire my brand to be known for.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would love to meet people to show us around. My wife and I moved to Houston in October, with our dogs. We have been exploring the city, and found a few cool spots. But Houston is a big city, and we would love to meet the locals and learn from them all about the fun events, and interesting places to visit.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to begin by giving a big shoutout to you guys for affording the opportunity for the small business owners and artists, to be seen and heard, when we live in a world that is dominated by large corporations. I would be remiss if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to mention the one person that saved me at the threshold of a tragedy unraveled my world as I knew it. In the beginning of 2014, my family and I were hit by the unexpected suicide of my mother. She was the matriarch, a very strong woman, who shielded us from her pain until she could not endure any longer. In the wake of that tragedy which left me hurt and distraught I found myself contemplating what I truly value in life. I was in a dark place, and as luck would have it, that’s when I came across the professor, clinical psychologist and author Jordan Peterson. Through listening to his online lectures and later reading his books, I was able to find myself and build my new reality, through reigniting the creative spark that I always carried within.