Artist Profile: Nick Rosato

Nick RosatoWoodturner Nick Rosato of  The Sculpted Tree presents his stunning portfolio and talks about the business of craft.



ABI:  What inspired you to start wholesaling your work?

NR:  I started wholesaling my work to build a foundation for income. I figured I had two options: work a regular job or work in the woodshop making lots of cutting boards and cheese boards. I designed a serving platter that could be reproduced consistently, yet have enough variation to make each piece unique.


Butternut Cookie Jar


I didn’t want to go to the wholesale marketplace with a product other woodworkers produced, even if I could beat their price or produce a better quality. I wanted to offer something a bit different, yet similar. The design of the platter was just the right hook. I called it the Star Serving Platter, even though my friends say it’s not really a star shape.


Star Serving Platter in Yellow Birch


ABI:  What direction will be you taking next?

NR:  While producing the same products over and over again, my skills advanced significantly and in unexpected ways. I have developed other products that I can reproduce quickly, but are higher-end because they are much more difficult to make. I want to focus on higher price point items.


Black Walnut Centerpiece


I’m going to wean myself away from the Star Serving Platter and produce other items that are not available in the marketplace. I’m also going to teach the craft out of my shop. Woodturning has become more accessible because of advancements in machinery and tools. I love turning wood and want to share not only the products I produce, but turning itself.


Original Chess Set and Board


ABI:  How would you describe your signature style?

NR:  Most of my work is turned on a lathe. My signature style is what I call the star platter. It’s basically a square with concave sides. I make it in a platter and cutting board. Because I’m changing my direction a bit, I see my new style as using complicated parts of a tree.


Cutting Boards


There’s a section of most trees called crotchwood. It is the section where the trunk splits into two branches, or when a branch splits into two or more branches. It’s an extremely unreliable section of tree to use, but the rewards are worth it. I have developed a few ways to reveal crotchwood grain patterns and textures. I look forward to focusing in this direction.


Crotch Walnut Vase


ABI:  What business lessons have you learned through mistakes you’ve made?

NR:  Woodworking requires a lot of machinery, which is expensive and takes up a lot of space. Shop rent and bills can swallow your income pretty fast. I shared space with others, but they were not as committed so they got ‘real jobs’ and left me to cover the full cost of rent and bills. My rent increased and I had to work with fewer dollars.


Walnut Bowls

I had to be savvy to find ways to make ends meet but dedication and perseverance are important. Managing money is difficult, especially when you have the creative mind of a crafter.


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  1. Thanks for your candor about the challenges of earning a living at your craft/art. I’ve only just arrived at a similar conclusion: I can either go back to my desk job or figure out how to do the difficult task you managed: make reproducible products that maintains it’s artistic integrity. Admittedly this realization has not settled in well. But what I hadn’t counted on was the positive effect of creating in that way could have in advancing my skills and gaining new insights. This gives me renewed hope and I thank you for sharing.

    • Alice, you should follow your passions because no matter what you do there will be struggles. I know people who have taken a ‘real job’ because of uncertainty with money and consistent work. Be smart about your craft business and it will take you places you never knew and make you think in ways you never did before. Best of luck to you!

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