If someone were to ask exactly when we knew we were going to open a business, or what it would look like, or what was our business plan, or our S.W.O.T. (strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats), or yada yada yada; we simply would have replied, "I don't know". Creating the shop wasn't really a planned thing. Momma always says that she just wanted us to break even, as long as we did that, all was well.
See, there's no set time of when this particular shop was started. Some may say it started when Daddy was just a little boy learning magic and selling bunches of green onions for a nickel so he could buy a Coca-Cola. If you were to ask me, I'd tell you it was when my big brother started creating scrimshaw. This was when I was a little girl, my brother, (who is very talented is so many ways but that would take another blog post to list all he has accomplished) presented our Father with a piece he had scrimshawed. I can't remember what the picture was or on what type of ivory he used to create his art but that sparked an idea. Sharon, a long time family friend and manager of our shop, instantly recognized Taylor's talent and encouraged him to start selling his scrimshaw, and thus began a business.
I remember our first booth at a local craft show. We had a white tent, just a small tent like you would see at any craft show, and we sold a handful of items but the biggest attraction was out front. My brother had a table that he would sit at and scrimshaw and people would stop to watch what he was doing. Momma had painted a sign for the front of the table that simply said "Scrimshaw" in big colorful scrolly (is that even a word?) letters. My brother had a box that he would carry with him that contained all of his tools of the trade. He had his drawing pencils and eraser for the first layer of the artwork, various sizes of ivory handled knives and then his chisel and ink to breathe life into these amazing little pieces of artwork. It was amazing! I could never figure out how he did it. He would spend what seemed like hours bent over his table looking through this huge magnifying glass and drawing on what seemed like nothing. All I could see was white ivory, vast plains of white ivory. And then he would take the ink and pour it over the ivory, clean it up with a well worn rag and then there, magically, would be a beautiful picture of a deer standing in a field, looking right at you, with a tiny tiny cabin in the back of a large field surrounded by trees. It was beautiful, and it is what inspired Catalpa.