Hobo Homage

We have a piece going into the new shop that I will respectably title now, The Hobo Homage (let’s hope that sticks, otherwise I’m in trouble). It is a series made by Jennifer Jennings, who seemed to romanticize, along with Joe of course, the idea of the hobo. The artwork that consists of a her own special technique of developing old photos using bichromate and silver gelatin in her at home dark room is gorgeous, truly capturing the bleak and discouraging lifestyle of the hobo. But why romanticize or idealize… bums?

For one, hobos aren’t just bums. Bums refused to work. Hobos, by definition were traveling workers. Men who were impoverished and traveled freely by freight car to find work on the road. I did a little research and found the hobo way of life one that should be exemplified and idolized. Yes, they were poor, and back then looked on as people of lesser value. In reality, they seemed to have more values and more honor and respect than most people I know today.

What inspired Joe and Jennifer to create these pieces was the hobo language—a way they would let each other know if a house was a kind and safe place, or if the house had work, or when to protect yourself because the owner had a gun. They were a tight knit community that truly looked to assist in the well being of each other.

What I found even more interesting is hobos had their own ethical code—a code literally voted on at National Hobo Convention (crazy, right?!) This code is why I’m tempted to drop everything and become a freight train dwelling, bindle wheeling, on the road, working man.

Here are a few of my favorite codes that I feel reflect their true ideology:

— Always respect the local law and officials, and try and be a gentleman at all times.

— Don’t take advantage of someone who is in a vulnerable situation, locals or hobos.

— Always try and find work, even if temporary, and always seek out jobs nobody else wants. Doing so, you not only help a business along, butensure employment should you return.

— When no employment is available, make your own work by using your added talents and crafts.

My favorite by far, and their number one rule is: Decide your own life, don’t let another person run or rule you.

The hobo way of life is fascinating and more importantly, honorable. They lived impoverished, but free. They lived on the road, traveling from train to train, from town to town, house to house. They saw more of the country than most men who had stable jobs could ever see. They lived unattached and uninhibited, truly living simplistically.

They decided their own lives, and didn’t let anyone run or rule them. How beautiful is that?  

Events at the Studio

It’s here! Our first official event as a prominent and promising venue for all sorts of shenanigans. And you can’t get more shenaniganny than a photoshoot with a bunch of pups. It sounds like a dream, I know, but it’s our reality. Numerous sweet and lovable little cuddle monsters are coming crawling to our Studio in Willow Glen to be hams for a good cause with Terra Amico, Silicon Valley Pet Project, and Shutter Divas all ganging up and raising money for man’s best friend. Sadly, we are all booked up Saturday, November 5th. We are going to leave all of the props out on Sunday, November 6th if prospective participants want to bring their pups and take pics in our space (a donation to SVPP for the foster pets would be a great “thank you”). Either way, if you’re a dog lover, and want to get your hands on some furry friends if only for a couple hours, come visit Terra Amico’s Studio.

With our grand opening only shortly behind us and a handful of small events since then, we’ve been told time and time again, we need to rent out our beautiful space located in the old Art Mercantile in Willow Glen. We hadn’t thought about using our ambiance-induced showroom as a venue for events, parties, or photoshoots until we received a resounding flurry of inquiries. Our Studio Is perfect for any formal or informal event. It lends itself as a host to your next dream event, allowing for entertainment, good times, and lasting memories. With one-of-a-kind refurbished wood art and furniture, the Studio is almost apart of the party, admixing itself into the atmosphere that will create the ideal feel for your big event. So, if you’re looking for a unique and spacious venue, let us know. We’d love to be the host to your fun! 

How and Why to Repurpose

The best way to describe today’s world is to call it a disposable world because we use everything from bottles to ice-cream cups and then throw it away. The concept of recycling, repurposing or reusing has long been forgotten. We all have a lot of things and materials that are lying in the garage or the storeroom since ages because they are no longer of any use. However, getting rid of such things is very difficult firstly, because you think they might come handy sometime in future and secondly because you cannot simply throw it away. This discarded stuff may include broken or worn out chairs, old dressing tables, wooden tables, ladders or various boxes.

Advantages of Reusing and Repurposing

Repurposing and reusing old things is more advantageous than you might think. Here are a few reasons that make such practices worth trying:

1.    Saves a lot of money

If you use your old and worn out furniture or other items to create new furniture or something more useful, then it saves you a lot of costs. You can save the costs incurred both on raw materials as well as labor because you mostly do the reusing by yourself.

2.    Helps make storage space

All the discarded stuff in your garage takes up so much of the useful space where you can easily store your garden tools and other instruments. So by utilizing these items, you can conveniently free that space so you have additional storage space. Furthermore, recycling helps you produce products like shelves and drawers which also provide you with extra storage space. Thus, reusing the old items is very useful for increasing storage space in your house.

3.    Environmental Uses

By reusing the wasted materials helps reduce the amount if waste discarded which helps keep the environment clean and healthy. Thus, it is a very beneficial help that helps reduce land pollution. It helps save energy as lesser energy is needed to put the old items to use instead of producing something from scratch which means energy is conserved which not only helps are present generations but also the future generations that are yet to come. When products are produced in a factory, it emits greenhouse gasses that have contributed to global warming which is hitting the world we live in, really hard. By reusing the old materials we can greatly lower down the rate of greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, the environment around us can be saved by the adoption of just one simple step called repurposing.   

4.    Help Others in Need

You can contribute such worn-out, useless and old items to different centers that can use these materials to make newer and useful items that can be used by the less privileged classes who cannot afford to buy newer items. Thus, you become a more responsible member of the society by helping others in need this way.

Useful and Creative Ways to Reuse and Repurpose Various Products

After acknowledging the various benefits of repurposing and reusing goods that you have thrown away in the garage or elsewhere, you need some really useful tips to help you reuse the stuff in a very creative and unique manner. Here are some very useful ideas that can help you recycle wood products because wood is an expensive material and by reusing old things to make a new one, you can actually increase your savings:

1.    Using a Ladder to make a Book Shelf

If you are interested in having an amazing bookshelf in your house, then the best way to do so is to utilize an old and useless wooden ladder to make one. The ladder can be painted to give it a shinier and newer look. Then you can fix the ladder into the wall of your study room and place books on it vertically. You can place all kinds of books whether they are thin or thick and the ladders different rungs will easily support them. If the ladder is too long you can cut it to adjust it on two different walls.

2.    Restoring a Wooden Table

A good wooden table never becomes useless until and unless you discard it. If it looks shabby with chipped off paint or broken legs, you can always restore it with few simple steps. You can first mend the broken legs and then scratch off the old paint with a scrub. Then smoothen the rough surface of the table and apply different coatings of paint. Let it dry in the sun for few hours and then it is again ready for use. You can use it in whatever way you like for example a picnic table in the garden for hosting barbecues and outdoor dinners.

3.    Chairs to be used as Closets

Don’t have enough space in the cupboards? Recently got married and your wife took over the entire closet? In both the cases, the discarded chairs can easily help you.  You can pierce a hole in the back of the chair and hang it there with the help of a strong support. These chairs can be used as an alternative for your closets as you can put your jeans, shorts, and other folded items on the seat whereas you can hang your shirts and coats from the arm rests. You can also add an additional shelf at the bottom of the chair to increase storage space.

4.    Cabinet Doors to Make Kitchen or Bathroom Shelves

Has the cabinet door just fallen off? You can simply use the door to make a shelf by sticking it to the wall horizontally. You can paint these doors into funky colors and use them to put the different jars in the kitchen and if you want to use them in the bathroom, then you can easily use them to put your shampoos, conditioners or face washes. Thus, these cabinet door shelves can be used for multiple purposes.


Thus, you can think of millions of unique ideas to repurpose or reuse the old stuff that you deem useless. This will have a positive impact not only on your pocket and the décor of your house but also helps preserve the environment around you.  

Studio Grand Opening

It’s here! It’s finally here! The Studio has arrived and it did so in style. To call Thursday a grand opening just wouldn’t do it justice. It was grandiose grandeur, grandly conceived with a magnificent magnitude of glorious splendor—to say the least. Partnered with the grand opening of the Midtown’s Art Mercantile as a whole, it was an absolute success. Mayor Sam Liccardo came to inaugurate and celebrate the monumental commencement along with hundreds of others who understand the significance of what this means for the community. There was wine tasting, artisan pizza, fancy hors d’oeuvres, the wonderful and talented live band, Pepper and Pine, beer, a whole lot of great conversation, and even more laughs. Family, friends, and strangers that became family and friends, all came and supported us in our colossal step toward becoming a bigger… us! We appreciate all those that came to support and continue to support in our drive to bring people together through the art of woodworking. If you missed our big event (shame on you), be sure to keep an eye on upcoming events. We have classes teaching all kinds of crafts from sewing, to welding, to different types of woodworking. We also will find reasons to have more celebration in the near future. Don’t miss out! 

The Terra Amico Metal Shop

The metal shop is scary—mind you that’s coming from a woodworker (who one day would like to become a welder). With what little time I’ve spent popping in and out of the metal shop we have here at Terra Amico, I’ve learned one thing—metal work is a completely different beast. Sparks are flying! Metal screeching against metal, whining! The men wear heavy duty masks that borderline look like serial killing equipment. Horrifying!

Wood is tough, but forgiving. It’s much more pliable than metal. Wood feels good, smells good, and works with you. Metal is the opposite. When you weld or burn it, it smells terrible. You have to work it to bend it, to cut it, to do anything with it! It fights you. It battles every movement you make to fit a certain way. The cuts and the welds have to be exact, where as wood is compliant. You can work it down to make it fit. Metal is absolute.

That’s why I have major respect for our iron workers that, day in and day out, turn out amazing pieces of functional art. Before getting into this beautiful job of woodworking, I thought welding and metal work was a cinch—not the case. I took a shot at welding. You can’t see, it’s hot, makes loud noises, and overall it’s a terrifying experience.

Terra Amico takes pride in being one of the view woodworking companies that has their own metal shop on site that works so closely with our wood shop. I personally take pride in the fact that these guys do what they do. It’s hard work that they make look easy. Major respect to all welders (but more specifically to our welders!)

The Design Studio

Why have a website entitled Studio if we don’t talk about the progression of the grand opening of our Design Studio in Willow Glen?  With all the excitement and preparation and work and trials and tribulations and man-power (and… and… and…), we still don’t have an opening date.  But! we do promise it will be more than worth the wait.

Expanding into this new arena has not been without its obstacles – some of our own making. We have been tripped up more than once, falling a bit behind schedule. The main reason is, like everything else we do here at Terra Amico, we want it to be absolutely perfect. And because we whole-heartedly believe in the idea of a strong community, we are also helping out with the fabrication of furnishings and fixtures for the entire complex including some truly unique rolling barn doors for each of our neighbors.   We’ve even been asked to help with the exterior façade of the building including planters and reclaimed wood wall panels that add zing and pop to Midtown.

We are bringing in piece after piece of furniture and art to reveal the true nature of what we do in a fresh new location. At the same time, we are gathering up local artists, wood workers, and people wanting to learn the craft of what we and others like us do. The Studio to us isn’t just for the retail world, it is going to be an extension of ourselves. We refuse to sit there, stagnant, waiting like so many dormant businesses do with a sole intention of making money as their driving force. No—we want to bring something new to the table (get it? We make tables). We want to create and in the process inspire and teach others to create. We want a world that thinks with their hearts and minds instead of with their wallets. We are not a business, we are a family.

And like family, we are not always on time—but we’ll be open soon!  

Wood Working

To work with wood is to work with nature. To work with nature is simply intoxicating. As you transform wood into art, it transforms you. Even when you’re doing something as menial as sanding away flaking paint off an old abandoned board, you feel connected. You can see, with every jagged paper stroke, a revelation of beauty. You uncover the uniquely swirling lines of grain—mother nature’s fingerprint. In that moment, that brief and minuscule moment, you’re lost in it. You’ve abandoned the world around you and given yourself to it as it has given itself to you.

There is no greater feeling than seeing your creation come to fruition, no matter how basic or complex it is. There is a sense of accomplishment. You get to see it, feel it, even smell it (and taste it if you’re not careful). You can run your hands over it and experience something tangible, something that will last for years to come. 

To cut, nail, screw, drill, slice, sand, and build is to simplify. Working with wood retracts you from the fast pace modern world of today and takes you back to yesterday. A time when things made sense. A time that wasn’t building websites, but building homes, small towns, local stores. A time when people weren’t writing code, but writing out plans for architectural masterpieces. A time that didn’t overcomplicate things for the sake of it. It worked hard and did what it needed to do to survive and be content. That’s what wood working brings you—a wave of calm from a time lost in time.

There is truly nothing greater or more rewarding.


What’s nice about old things is… they’re old. They’ve lasted. They were made to last. The materials used and the techniques that have seemingly fallen by the wayside were what made things great. In this day and age of, it’s broken—throw it out mentality, we’ve begun to accept these trinkets of plastic that last as long as their battery life, and forgotten what it means to own something of worth. Something that means something. 

The beauty of repurposing is you get to take the old and find its magnificence (sometimes easier said than done) and bring it to life again. It’s not simply taking something old and making it new, but making anew.  It’s a resurrection through reusing. 

You can take rusty metal, warped wood, or an old door and sand away the years it has been forgotten, get under the superficial of the aged surface and accept its imperfections while perfecting them by highlighting everything it has weathered. It is almost an appreciation of time. You get to see what it has done and work with it. Time and nature come together to give you something that has only gotten better with age and you get to make it even greater. It’s almost like a gift. A rusty warped gift of potential. 

Not only are you creating pieces of art, you are making the world a better place (not because you’re art is making the world a better place—relax). Because you are reusing something that was once seen as garbage. You are recycling and repurposing. A desk made of old fence posts. Stairs made of old railway beams. Rusted forgotten metal to make desks, tables, or lamps. The possibilities are endless and when it is done well, it illuminates the fact that things don’t necessarily have to be thrown away. Things of old aren’t garbage—they are a project in the making. 

They are your next art piece.