Meet the Maker: John Quinsey

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John Quinsey is one of our treasured Makespace community members. Always willing to lend a helping hand, or share his wealth of knowledge with other makers in the space, John is an important and valued member of Yukonstruct. Whether it’s offering advice on wood joinery, or sharing his off-grid adventures at the coffee machine, John is always a pleasure to bump into at Yukonstruct!

How did you get involved with Yukonstruct?

After the custom design and manufacturing cabinet business I worked for, Treeline Woodworks Ltd., closed its doors, I was on the search for an affordable place to do my own thing.  

Yukonstruct had just moved into its new and current location.  After my initial tour of the facilities, I was impressed by the innovative and creative spirit of the Yukonstruct community.  Although the woodshop is not ideally set up for the kind of production work I did at Treeline, I was able to adjust to smaller scale work in my semi-retired stage of life.  Plus, the cost of membership is a small fraction of the cost to rent/setup a shop of my own. 

What is your favourite thing to make?

I have always loved working with solid wood, cherry and walnut being my favourites. Building things that can show off the beauty of the wood, i.e. tables, jewelry boxes, give me pleasure as a maker. But my favourite thing is completing a project for a client that pleases them and enhances their day-to-day life in a small way.

What do you like most about being a member here? 

The Yukonstruct community is my favourite part of being a member here. The membership is full of people who are always sharing their ideas, and interesting problem solving methods.  I find the vast experience and knowledge amongst the community exciting and inspiring. And then there is the wide range of tools and equipment available that make working on projects at Makespace really accessible. It’s a fun space and community to be a part of!

What skill or project are you most proud of?

There have been many over the years but I would say the Hall of Innovators is at the top of the list. I’m really pleased with how it turned out. There were some technical challenges with combining the design and construction within the physical space of the hall. It was really satisfying to problem solve and make it work. I received many compliments and was pleased to know the positive effect this project had on what was previously a bland, mundane space.

John Quinsey with Mark Preston (artist who designed Hall of Innovators Installation)

Do you remember the first thing you made that you felt proud of?

I built desks for my kids when they were little and we first moved to the Yukon. The desks were some of my first woodworking projects and I still remember them very clearly. I was really proud to have built those mainly because they were for my kids.

When you aren’t making things, what other interests take up your time?

I have a peaceful solitary life in a cabin south of town. I spend a lot of time walking and snowshoeing in the bush. I have creative pursuits mostly in oil painting, my subjects being landscapes with surreal elements. I am also learning to play keyboard and regularly play music with a few friends. We cover tunes by Pink Floyd, Allman Brothers, John Hiat, Beatles, Stones, etc. We aspire to one day perform live somewhere.