Husband-wife duo create intricate woodwork, jewelry at GoCreate

 
  • Jim and Kim Swisher make wood cutting boards and jewelry at GoCreate.
  • Kim Swisher's jewelry features several Wichita State and Shocker designs.
  • The equipment and cooperative spirit at GoCreate help the Swishers with their projects.

The Swishers keep their clothes in a highboy dresser, a 1975 wood-working project from shop class at East High School, shaped from walnut by Jim Swisher.

"That was my senior project," he said. "I had done some other projects in my shop class that didn't turn out very well. This one did."

When Swisher retired from the aircraft industry three years ago, he revived his wood-working skills at GoCreate, a Koch Collaborative. He makes intricately designed cutting boards from walnut, maple, cherry, oak, padauk and others. Kim Swisher, his wife and a mentor in GoCreate's textiles area, makes jewelry, some with cross or flower designs and several featuring Wichita State basketball designs.

For both, GoCreate's tools are working to turn a hobby into something more, and the collaborative environment adds to the potential returns. Their work will be featured at GoCreate's Final Friday on Sept. 28.

"(GoCreate) came along at the perfect time for me," Jim Swisher said. "The tools that I use in the wood shop I couldn't possibly afford. That's really whole idea behind GoCreate." 

wichita Alex Haro

Jim Swisher makes custom cutting boards at GoCreate.


 

"We've got like 40 designs now," Kim Swisher said. "We started doing it for fun. And then we liked seeing the products through to creation."

GoCreate's collaborative emphasis is important to her. She had not thought of adding keychains to her work until a friend at GoCreate suggested it. Someone else suggested she use hand sanitizer to remove shadows on the wood created by laser-cutting.

"New people give you a different idea," she said. "It's fun to brain-storm."

Jim Swisher is an inhabitant of GoCreate's wood shop, where he uses tools to create the designs that rely on small pieces of woods fit together, some in 3-dimensional designs. He started using purchased plans for the boards.

wichita Alex Haro

One of Jim Swisher's intricate cutting boards.


 

"The sky's the limit for different designs," he said. "I want to try to take it to the next level. I'm thumbing through quilting books looking for different patterns I can use. Then it comes down to the operations side – how do you cut it to make those corners square and get them glued up and tight."

The work with the belt sanders tests his patience.

"It allows me to take wood down 5,000th of an inch at a time," he said. "There's a lot of cutting, a lot of measuring, a lot of sanding. Everything I do in there, it's all me. I'm not relying on anybody else to do anything. I don't have anybody to blame but myself if I screw it up." 

Reach the Swishers