Greta de Parry Interview with Cosmopolitan and Wood Talk online mention.


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While Greta is no nakashima she is still a sucsessfull woodworker/artist. The fact that she is an attractive young female in a world owned by predominantly older males is an interesting story. It is sad that in this day and age her sex is even a discussion.

Here is another attractive female who has risen some controversy in another world.post-7681-0-31000600-1364427574_thumb.jp

Ronda rousey

Wanna guess what she does?

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Well, I guess I'll say it...   What did people expect?   Marc asked his question inartfully (to his credit, he recognized that and changed his wording and his actual discussion wasn't offensive),

Personally, I find many of her pieces very well designed.  She works is mixed media!  She's obviously a pretty smart business woman on top of all that.  Let's try to be welcoming, as I think she may h

I think some old people run off at the mouth, because they are older they think they are wiser, and thus their opinions are more valid.    What does time & paying dues have to do with it? That sou

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To make a point already made in another stream, the things that jump out at me are the gross errors in judgement with regard to welding, chainsaw, and tablesaw safety in the original video. I am indifferent toward her finished works. They are neither ground breaking or shoddy.

I do ask this question: Would any video at all have been made if she were "ugly"? If not then the question is not one of craft at all.

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While Greta is no nakashima she is still a successful woodworker/artist.

So far, I've seen little evidence of any of that, other than her self-promotion. There are some fairly basic tables, stools, and cutting boards on her site. Her project list has only three clients.

As I asked before, can someone point me to more information about her, I have a feeling I'm missing something.

For example, where is her business located?

The fact that she is an attractive young female in a world owned by predominantly older males is an interesting story. It is sad that in this day and age her sex is even a discussion.

 

You'll notice that it's mostly her and other members of her gender making it such an issue. :) 

 

Years ago, I operated an auto repair shop. For a time, two women became one of my competitors. They opened up a shop cleverly named "Every Woman's Garage". They got a lot good printed and TV news coverage about their enterprise. Just as you say, females in a world normally dominated by males made a good story, I doubt that they ever paid a penny for advertising. Women flocked to their shop, knowing nothing about their abilities, only that they were women. I remember many women saying at the time that as women they were sure to be more honest, and much cleaner about their work.

 

As it turned out, they were only mediocre as mechanics and terrible at business. Even with all their faithful supporters and good press, their business only lasted a little over a year.

 

Yes, gender should never be an issue when judging someone's abilities, no matter which way the bias goes.

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So none of us has admited to tool envy? She has some great toys that we all would like to play with! And I am talking about machinery. She managed to afford a pretty nice collection of equipment to be able to build her projects. So none of her designs are extremely original or outstanding , but I do not see crude or poorly executed work either.

I think a lot of the controversy is the old double standard rearing it's ugly head. It's ok to have special attention to a minority class of any sort, even to the exclusion of others, but having a male white group is descriminatory even if they are actually a stastical minority. Maybe one day we will grow past it all and everyone will be judged on their own merits and all against the same standard.

Would any of us thumb our noses at the free press she has been blessed with? I sure wouldn't !

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I'm sensing some bitterness.  It's understandable to me, since many of us could build what she builds as well or better than she does, yet we wouldn't get a lick of attention for making the same pieces.  She has an advantage that has nothing to do with woodworking, and we find that unfair.  Is it unfair?  Yep.  It's also not her fault.  She's just lucky.  Some people are lucky, the rest of us are not.  Life ain't fair.

 

I could imagine the same exact conversation taking place on a forum of artists, discussing the recent success of a young painter whose father owns a big art gallery.  Or a musician whose father owns a record label.  Or worse...a cherry-picked pretty face that can dance...otherwise talentless, and built into a "music" icon by a team of producers and marketers.  Yeah, I'm talking about you Britney.  Or any of the now dozens of rich and famous nobodies churned out by that bowel movement we know as American Idol.  For every one of them I can name three musicians I've seen in a dim, smoky bar in Nashville with more talent in their little toe...but no one will ever know them.  Or any one of the millions of us "average" people who beat out a more qualified applicant for a job because of who we know instead of who we are.  That happens every single day.  Some guy just won a few hundred million dollars playing Powerball.  Life ain't fair.

 

She found herself in a fortuitous position, and she took advantage.  Should she turn down her sudden notoriety because she doesn't have the same caliber of talent as the best of the best, or even the best of the unknowns, or maybe even the most mediocre of the unknowns?  I think not.  I wouldn't.  She's trying to make a living, and she's using whatever asset she has at her disposal to increase her chances.  It's true that in this modern society it's far easier to gain wealth and fame, or simply unjustified attention before one has "paid their dues."  That's society's fault, a technological by-product, a symptom of our simple-mindedness as a culture.  That makes it hard for some of us to swallow...understandably.  But ultimately, that's our problem, we unlucky "average" people, whose talents will go largely unnoticed and unappreciated.  To suggest otherwise is just bitterness.  Life ain't fair.

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I'm sensing some bitterness.

 

Bitterness at our being portrayed at the bad guys by an irrelevant tabloid, more likely.

 

Again drawing an analogy with my day job field of classical music, sex appeal has been included in the marketing of stars for generations.  All the way back to Jenny Lind and her marketer P.T. Barnum, truly picking up with some cellist in the 1980's (Olga something-or-other?) and reaching epic proportions with all of the young female violinists from the Pacific rim.  Never mind the talentless frauds that pass on American Idol, most of these people can indeed play quite well.  To begrudge the musicians who profit from their appearance (or the producers who back them) is to miss the point:  Musical literacy has spiraled into the toilet for generations and band instruments and choir risers sit derelict today.

 

We woodworkers are in the same boat, perhaps even more so.  (At least musicians, in their desperation, can appeal to the "Mozart effect" and plead that music makes kids better at math.)  Is a strikingly beautiful face such as Ms. de Parry or Tommy Mac going to be a rallying point that brings the manual trades back to a point of esteem in our society?  I wouldn't hold my breath.  Suffice it to say that the manual trades aren't disappearing from life because of a shortage of pretty people.

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One other point I'd like to make - on a rather great discussion topic BTW - it that it's really irrelevant whether or not other workworkers think she (or anyone) holds to a standard or not (What are 'dues?' Who determines them? etc) What REALLY matters is what her *clients* think and how well she represents their tastes.

 

Trendy businesses like restaurants, bars and clubs aren't going to be too interested in shaker style, Norm or David Marks-like stuff (unless the style / business fits, of course...Club Norm sounds kinda fun). Whether or not we feel their tastes aren't 'evolved' is irrelevant: that stuff simply doesn't fit their business or the look they're trying to go after and nothing will change that. I certainly don't want a concrete stool in my house, but I can imagine a few businesses and clubs in the area where it would totally fit.

 

It reminds me of a discussion I had once with a few other graphic/web designers. There was one designer in business for themselves who was selling absolutely bland looking design / websites to clients...yet this person was pretty prosperous with their business. The question brought up was "Is this person good at what they do? Is this a successful designer? One sage person in the group made the argument that they absolutely were. That's because what we thought of the quality of work made absolutely no difference: that designer understood his client base, and what he provided was exactly the kind of fit his particular clients were looking for.

 

Kind of reminds of a true joke of "How many designers does it take to screw in a light bulb?" The answer being "Twelve...one to do it, with eleven others claiming 'they could do better.'" ;)

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The wide variety of opinions have certainly turned this into a very interesting discussion.

I think some old people run off at the mouth, because they are older they think they are wiser, and thus their opinions are more valid.

Anyone who doesn't grow wiser as they grow older just ain't paying attention. :) I'd feel pretty bad indeed if I didn't know more about life in general than most "twenty-somethings". Being old doesn't necessarily make one's opinion more important, or any less important than those of others. However, it is likely to be an opinion based on more experience.

I think living longer also makes one a little more skeptical about many things. And that's essentially how I feel about Greta.

Her website is extremely well designed. The layout and photography are very impressive. At first blush, most would get the impression that they are looking at a rising star that everyone is talking about. All in all a magnificent job of presentation and marketing.

But, when you click on the links you find little substance. Most of the articles at the end of those links don't even mention her.

One of the articles that is about her states that she has been "involved" in the making of every project shown. What does that mean? Did she build the projects, or help build them?

In the TV video we see quick clips of Greta holding a flaming torch, making sparks with a chop saw, driving a forklift out the door, carrying a chain saw down the road, etc., etc. But we never see more than a few seconds of her actually doing anything (except for mixing cement in a bucket). All very dramatic, making it a great piece for TV.

There's another video on Greta's site about her helping with the creation of some video art. Lots of quick clips, sparks and flames in dark rooms, a spinning drill press advancing slowly into something. All very dramatic and artsy, but once again, no one is shown actually building anything. Not many face shots either, mostly just arms. I can only assume the hairy arms with tattoos do not belong to Greta.

At this point I'm sensing that a whole lot of "image puffery" may be going on. A video showing Greta actually demonstrating some exceptional skills would change my mind completely. I'd apologize for what I've been thinking, and shut my skeptical, opinionated, old mouth. :)

What does time & paying dues have to do with it? That sounds like a line I would expect to hear some stuffy shirt union rep give to a new member.

Nothing to do with a union.

Few worthwhile skills are mastered in a day. Some take months, or even years to master.

There are those who find all that time and hard work an unnecessary nuisance. So, they just skim over the basics, and call themselves masters. I call it not paying their dues.

Yes she is model level pretty, and that helps her. Just like I'm sure Tommy MacDonald is helped by the fact that he is a good looking dude.

Good comparison. I'm sure Tommy's good looks didn't hurt in getting ahead either.

Of course, the difference is that Tommy isn't afraid to get in front of a camera and show what he can do, mistakes and all.

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Few worthwhile skills are mastered in a day. Some take months, or even years to master.

There are those who find all that time and hard work an unnecessary nuisance. So, they just skim over the basics, and call themselves masters. I call it not paying their dues.Good comparison. I'm sure Tommy's good looks didn't hurt in getting ahead either.

O god, you're one of those types. Go look at Vic's cradle project. If memory serves it was his first, and it was featured in FWW. By your logic, Vic hasn't payed his dues yet, and thus isn't worthy.

Also did you even look at any of the links I posted of her work?

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I'm sensing some bitterness.  It's understandable to me, since many of us could build what she builds as well or better than she does, yet we wouldn't get a lick of attention for making the same pieces.  She has an advantage that has nothing to do with woodworking, and we find that unfair.  Is it unfair?  Yep.  It's also not her fault.  She's just lucky.  Some people are lucky, the rest of us are not.  Life ain't fair.

 

I could imagine the same exact conversation taking place on a forum of artists, discussing the recent success of a young painter whose father owns a big art gallery.  Or a musician whose father owns a record label.  Or worse...a cherry-picked pretty face that can dance...otherwise talentless, and built into a "music" icon by a team of producers and marketers.  Yeah, I'm talking about you Britney.  Or any of the now dozens of rich and famous nobodies churned out by that bowel movement we know as American Idol.  For every one of them I can name three musicians I've seen in a dim, smoky bar in Nashville with more talent in their little toe...but no one will ever know them.  Or any one of the millions of us "average" people who beat out a more qualified applicant for a job because of who we know instead of who we are.  That happens every single day.  Some guy just won a few hundred million dollars playing Powerball.  Life ain't fair.

 

She found herself in a fortuitous position, and she took advantage.  Should she turn down her sudden notoriety because she doesn't have the same caliber of talent as the best of the best, or even the best of the unknowns, or maybe even the most mediocre of the unknowns?  I think not.  I wouldn't.  She's trying to make a living, and she's using whatever asset she has at her disposal to increase her chances.  It's true that in this modern society it's far easier to gain wealth and fame, or simply unjustified attention before one has "paid their dues."  That's society's fault, a technological by-product, a symptom of our simple-mindedness as a culture.  That makes it hard for some of us to swallow...understandably.  But ultimately, that's our problem, we unlucky "average" people, whose talents will go largely unnoticed and unappreciated.  To suggest otherwise is just bitterness.  Life ain't fair.

 

All very well said, Eric. I had to read your post twice, then sit back and think about it for a while.

 

I think I can honestly say that what I'm feeling is more frustration than bitterness.

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O god, you're one of those types. Go look at Vic's cradle project. If memory serves it was his first, and it was featured in FWW. By your logic, Vic hasn't payed his dues yet, and thus isn't worthy.

Also did you even look at any of the links I posted of her work?

 

What types? The type of guy who admires skilled people, and what it takes to get there? Guilty as charged.

 

Vic isn't worthy of what? I never said that beginners can't build some very nice stuff. I've seen a lot of what Vic can do, and I admire his talent. But I've not yet seen him claim to be a master craftsman. 

 

I've been in woodworking for many years, and I consider myself "pretty good" at many things, but when I attend workshops and classes I often see what I call masters at work. The ease and perfection with which they do things sometimes make me feel like a beginner. That doesn't bother me, I just become more determined to do what it takes to get where they are.

 

Sorry, I forgot to thank you for posting those links. However, I had already seen all of them. At this point, I think I've viewed or read just about everything by or about Greta that can be found on the Internet.  :)

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What types? The type of guy who admires skilled people, and what it takes to get there? Guilty as charged.

The type that puts all the emphasis on the actual act of building a piece of furniture.

Greta is coming at it from the opposite end of the spectrum. She is building/designing pieces to convey a very specific feeling or look. Again I'll point back to Marc's bed build, the client wanted a very specific look, but didn't really care about the joinery.

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I think I understand the frustration that John references. Finding either the right clientele or figuring out how to design the right pieces for the clientele that you are already familiar with and building a brand and business is damn hard work. It is often the main topi of discussion in the weekly #Woodchat held via Twitter and hosted by Chris Wong and Matt Gradwohl. The one aspect of marketing that has never really been discussed in depth is the builder persona. People really do end up buying from one person or another because that builder/designer has a look or personality that is appealing to the client. So, frustration is understandable when that little bit of a selling edge belongs naturally to someone. Someone like me has to work at that aspect of a business much harder than a person who is really good looking or has a lot of charisma. I think that frustration is common in every aspect of business, but the tools to compensate and get a more even playing field can be accomplished with enough effort and sometimes moving completely away from our comfort zones.

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So somewhat getting back on topic :)  sorry if this should have been inserted maybe 7 posts ago...

 

I'm compelled to point out that Norm had a long long run with a lot of publicity that you are weighing against what was probably a 5 minute perusal of Greta's site.

 

Greta builds designs predominately for trendy restaurants so there's a certain look that is, get this, dictated primarily by the client.  If you don't like the design or don't think it is 'difficult' enough to merit appreciating it, remember that she's building what the client wants, not what you want.  Also remember that a smart builder/business owner would pick high-profit designs over, say, hand-chiseled Dentil molding.  I happen to like the designs, but then I still go to trendy restaurants and night clubs.

 

In contrast to that, Norm 'built' videos... his products were videos that happened to have a by product of a project build/renovation; the projects naturally had to be interesting or nobody would watch the videos.  Greta seems to work primarily alone.  Norm had a well-stocked sponsor-driven shop, a crew of flunkies to do the boring setup an Tom Silva whom Norm personally credited over the recent Connect live stream with driving perfection and detail (Norm obviously did, too).  Oh, yeah, add Tom and you have two seasoned craftsman each with more years of experience than she has on the planet.  Add to that professional video editing being monitored by lawyers who make sure no violation slipped through.  If Greta shares a shop, so be it; reduces her cost.  Paul Schürch shares a shop; he seems kinda pro :)

 

Most of her photos are from photo shoots with a clothing sponsor; these could be called staged shots much like Marc's "laying on my flame-drenched PM tablesaw" shot (a favorite, BTW).

 

I appreciate that she works in mixed media much like a couple pros I know and admire for their designs.  I have unflattering staged photos of both of them that you'd likely shred for safety-police violations.  Truth is, Safety Week exists because we all cut safety corners.  Also the 'unsafe' threshold for a pro is much different than a hobbyist as seasoned pro Don (Particle Board formerly known as dwacker) has rightly pointed out.

 

Okay, back to kinda ignoring this thread :)

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The type that puts all the emphasis on the actual act of building a piece of furniture.

Greta is coming at it from the opposite end of the spectrum. She is building/designing pieces to convey a very specific feeling or look. Again I'll point back to Marc's bed build, the client wanted a very specific look, but didn't really care about the joinery.

Okay, I think we may be able to agree on something.

From what I've seen of Greta's work, the design and structure tends to be pretty simple, and there's not much chance to show off advanced woodworking skills (and not much need for them).

Most of the admiration Greta is getting is coming from people who don't know much about woodworking or welding, they just like what they see, and are amazed that a "pretty girl" can do that.

I'm also sure Marc's clients can't fully appreciate the thought and skill that went into building that bed (as his fellow woodworkers do). But they'll sure appreciate the resulting quality and durability for many years to come.

I guess I got frustrated (and irritated) because I suspect that Greta has taken some great marketing skills, an easily impressed public, some well crafted photos, and some carefully edited videos to build an image of herself that is far more than she actually is. I'd like to be proven wrong about that, then I could get down off my high horse. :) 

 

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