This craftsman finds solace in transforming raw material into individual productive ends.
Wood creations built by Nick Shigouri, Shigouri Woodworking, are pieces of art holding personality and individuality in each nail, screw, hinge or slab of wood.
In 2012, Shigouri decided to take the leap and make what was originally a way of battling stress into his livelihood.
“I always found the process of transforming raw material into a productive end allowed me singular focus, and in that moment, I could be totally present,” he says. “That appeal has been life-long. One day, I decided to make something out of wood, and I did. I liked it, and I made something else. Each time I finished a new work, I would expand and repeat. I came upon woodworking through a response I was having to the way it was making me feel, though I didn’t recognize that at the time. While I was working, I wasn’t stressed, I wasn’t thinking about anything else than what was in front of me.”
Shigouri grew up in Fairway, Kansas, attending Westwood View Elementary, Indian Hills Middle School and Shawnee Mission East. He attended KU, dual-majoring in literature and public administration, then earned a master’s degree in public administration. He studied at Vermont Woodworking School to hone his skills.
He currently lives in Mission, Kansas, with fiancée, Andrea, and their three dogs, Casper, age 3, Teddy, age 9 and Rosie, age 2.
“Right now, I work out of my house, which I am trying hard to make into more of a home and less of a shop that also has an adjacent bedroom and kitchen,” he says.
Psychologically, he found inspiration from his 10-year-old self, explaining he thinks about what that “self” would have told him when he held his traditional jobs.
“He would have seen right through me and known this was all fueled by fear. I think fear of ‘geographically comparative status placement’ drove me for a long time. One day I realized what I was doing and why, and that realization inspires what I do now,” he says.
Those “traditional” jobs have included, since age 12, Better Cheddar in Prairie Village, busboy at Kiki’s Bonton, Kansas City Country Club, assistant to the city administrator for the City of Mission Hills, personal assistant to a regional manager for UBS and a stint in the real estate arena.
“If I were to break it down to one thing, I love the opportunity for small details. Each piece I make has several small, subtle detail points, which I always like to imagine getting noticed after years the owner has had with the piece, similar to hearing some new, small eccentricity in a song or an album you’ve heard 100 times before,” he says. “I think elements like that elevate the things I make beyond their basic utility. A smart man once told me that ‘life is all about the stories we tell ourselves.’ I am infinitely thankful I told myself a different one.”
Visit shigouri.com, and the Maker Village website, kcur.org, to enroll in classes Nick teaches.