Hey there, I’m Holly Bidlake, designer and woodworker of The Shed Design. We design and create timeless, thoughtful pieces of handcrafted furniture using locally-sourced materials. We strive to pay homage to the rich, local history of our hometown, the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada.
History of The Shed Design
The Shed Design was born in 2014, but the beginning of my love for craft can be found in some of my earliest memories of childhood. When I started preschool, my arrival each day consisted of a ritual visit to the costume bin where I would hastily grab the prized construction hat. I wouldn’t take it off - even for school photos.
Even earlier, my mother recalls the days of early home renos where she would find me, three years old, hammer in hand. I’d walk along the joists 10 feet in the air trying to hammer down the nails that weren’t flush. She didn’t doubt for a second that I would be working with my hands one day, most likely in the residential sector.
She was right. Fast forward to the present day, at 30 years old I have stayed true to my 3-year-old construction cap roots. Distant memories of a belt sander swallowing up my shorts on a job-site filled with only men are the kinds of humbling moments I was happy to leave in the past as I began building my own little pie slice of work. A place where my passion for construction and design could collide and make rainbows in the form of beautiful and intentional furniture of course.
Women in Woodworking
The Shed Design started as a one-woman show with some basic hand tools and a dream and has since evolved into a full-service woodworking and design company celebrating women in trades, cementing our place in an industry that is often falsely synonymous with masculinity.
People are often shocked to find out that my own hands are the ones behind the craftsmanship of each piece built at The Shed Design. There’s an air of disbelief and surprise that a woman has built a business in woodworking. I never understand why, and constantly strive to remove the stereotypes and gender roles of the trades industry.
This is why it is so important to me to usher more women into the space throughmentorship and apprenticeship at The Shed Design. There’s often between 2-3 women working in the shop at one time and I couldn’t be more proud of that. Women are just as capable as men in the trades. In my experience, women have an incredible eye for detail and the poise for meticulous projects. I am so grateful to be able to offer opportunities to like-minded, talented women. A place to create freely, a space I wish had been available to me as I began my journey in woodworking.
A Vision for The Shed Design’s Future
My vision for the future is to be the owner and operator of a multi-faceted design shop with a large capacity to support local artists. This maker space would allow those with a craft to build and design their own unique pieces. All while continuing to encourage more females to get into the woodworking trade.
I’m passionate about sharing my knowledge and expertise with those with similar interests and have recently started creating how-to blogs to help others transform their spaces into something they are proud of.
Working with wood is a sacred experience. You will be brought to your knees in frustration one day, only to be jumping in the air with elation the next. There’s something incredibly rewarding, grounding, and inventive about the process. The possibilities are truly endless. Whatever you can envision with your mind, you can bring into fruition with the right tools to create pieces that last a lifetime. No two days in the shop at the Shed Design are ever the same, and that’s what keeps us coming back for more every single day.
Cheers to many more years of feminity, laughter, and creativity.