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Get to Know Katie Freeman

Katie Freeman on her passion for sharing the stories of people traditionally not included in the trades, along with practical advice on “mastering” woodworking!


What inspired you to get into woodworking?

I grew up with a home filled with pieces of furniture made by my great-great-grandfather and I felt deeply connected them. I started experimenting with woodworking in my early 20’s and then took it more seriously by taking woodworking and design classes as a hobby and it took off from there.

What do you like most about being a woman in woodworking and design build generally?

I love that it allows me to constantly learn new skills and have complete agency over my body and my choices. It is a constant journey of problem solving and the end result is based just on my skills and learning process.

What professional skill do you use in your day-to-day most?

Power carving is by far what I do the most of these days, though I do regularly keep my fine furniture making skills honed through teaching classes and mentoring people locally.

What projects are you taking on in your own time?

Yes, I do create projects for my own home, though they tend to be slow going. Right now, I am working on transforming our basement into a gamer paradise through wall mounting a television and creating a custom Nintendo themed cabinet system for holding all the gaming consoles.

How do you inspire more women to get into the trades?

Through sharing both my project successes and failures on social media while being unapologetically myself. I also host and produce a podcast focused on interviewing makers, artists, and tradespeople that identify as female, trans, or nonbinary. 

(Check out Katie’s “Crafting a Revolution” podcast here!)

What tools do you think every household should have?

Circular saw, jigsaw, drill, impact driver – you can create pretty much anything with these four tools.

When did you feel like you mastered your trade?

I do not feel like I have mastered it. That is what I love, even as I get more years and skills under my belt, I don’t think you can ever truly “master” this trade.

What are you most proud of accomplishing in your career thus far?

I am most proud about helping break down the fear of getting started [in the trades] for other women and those in traditionally marginalized communities.

What are three tips for young folks looking to get into woodworking?

  1. When you buy a new tool, read the full tool manual and find all the videos you can about how to use it.
  2. Try to find a maker space or cooperative shop space so you can try out a bunch of different tools before you decide to buy them, especially the big expensive kind of tools.
  3. We learn from failure, so don’t be afraid to mess the project up.

Who do you want to shout out? Another woman in the trade?

I feel like there are so many I could name here, truly. I have had the honor with my podcast of talking with almost 300 women, trans, and nonbinary people who are creating a world I can believe in. However, I feel like there is one that completely changed my trajectory and that is Char Miller-King. I tell her often that she is changing the world for the better. She has inspired so many already and will inspire so many more.

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