A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Nichole Sheaffer

A La Porte County Life in the Spotlight: Nichole Sheaffer

Photo Credit: James Conlin

“Woodworking has thousands of years of rich history spanning as far back as humanity’s origins. The science of the craft and its mechanical aspects really draw me to learning more about it.”

This is what Nichole Sheaffer had to say about her experiences with learning woodworking. Together with her fiancé, Chris Grohs, she runs a shop in Michigan City called Terrawood Design & Custom Wood Craft. She states that she is currently still learning many things about the craft, but she has a lot of support helping her carry on.

“I’m really into creating things and utilizing the sciences,” Sheaffer said. “After my daughter was born, I became really interested in the arts, starting with oil painting. Then I met Chris, and he gave me the opportunity to go work with him refinishing a hardwood floor. It was an immensely enjoyable experience, and I wanted to learn more.”

Sheaffer stated that before becoming a woodsperson, she wanted to become a fashion designer. She states that both of these fields share similar philosophies in both mechanics and design.

“The thing with woodworking is that you have to get really creative with the materials and tools that you have,” Sheaffer explained. “In order to come up with woodworking protocols, you have to know how to get to Point A to Point B and how to make it something that can appeal to an audience. Wood can be used to create so many things like furniture, and the process of making something beautiful out of what you got is so fun and rewarding.”

Sheaffer states that the opportunity to learn more about the craft and about herself is what motivates her every day. Chances to add more to her curriculum and skillset are only going to further augment her functionality as a woodperson, so she’s always ready for a new challenge.

“The most important skills I learned in this job are patience and attention to detail, especially when things get tough,” Sheaffer said. “Being brave in the process really brings out the best woodperson in me.”

Currently, Terrawood is working on the buildout (putting the parts together) of a full 36"x 17" RAD lumber producing sawmill. In addition, the shop has been slowly producing furniture in the shop for some current clients and working on new lighting installation and carpentry of the rewiring at the beautiful and historic Barker Mansion. There are many bright things in the horizon.

“Do not take open doors for granted, there might be something on the other side that changes your life forever,” Sheaffer said.

Terrawood Design & Custom Wood Craft is located at 607 Franklin Street in Michigan City. For more information about the shop’s wood processes and various services, please visit http://terrawooddesign.com/.