In our next installment of the Eastern Shore Artist Corner, we sat down with the dynamic husband and wife duo, Matt and Autumn Kraemer. According to Matt’s Facebook page, he’s the “Head Cheese” at Dogwood Cabinetry & Furniture. Meanwhile, Autumn is the owner and sole proprietor of Autumn Kraemer Photography. We talked to Matt and Autumn about just what makes their respective trades so special.
Let’s start with Matt, of Dogwood Cabinetry & Furniture. Matt got his start in woodworking back in 2000 when his step-dad introduced him to the industry. He lived in Philly at the time and would drive back and forth between Philadelphia and the Eastern Shore quite frequently. After he’d had his fill of the long commute, Matt relocated back to the Eastern Shore where he worked for a fellow woodworker for 10 or 11 years, primarily doing custom cabinetry. Matt decided to take the leap of faith back in 2012 when the person he was working for encountered some financial difficulties. His step-dad’s shop in Berlin, sitting open, made for the perfect opportunity to branch out onto his own.
Today, Matt’s largest portion of business comes from building and installing custom cabinetry. However, he loves to harvest scrap wood from antique and unusual sources. Some people even donate their old wood furniture just to see what Matt will come up with next! Matt explained his love for “funky colors” and that he is always striving to make something he’s never seen before. When he doesn’t have paying work, Matt said he just pulls something out of their attic and cleans it up (he sure makes it seem awful easy!).
Matt told us, “I love working with local businesses in the area and I’ve actually gotten a lot of referrals from them.” Matt has designed some unique items for local businesses like Urban Nector and Bungalow Love and, from time-to-time, you can see a select offering of his pieces on display. He’s even made some one-of-a-kind iPad stands for Urban Nectar, Bungalow Love, and Baked to use as their POS holders out of all antique pieces of wood. Matt enjoys that these pieces get to sit front and center in these shops as conversation pieces and he told us he, “wants them to display their iPads in something funky.”
A few of Matt’s other creations include frames for all the artwork displayed at a recent art show at Burley Oak and an interesting reincarnation of an old headboard as a sign for the front of a local business. Matt’s other skills include furniture repair, custom kitchens, bathroom cabinets, and really anything else made out of wood. His latest design includes sealing photos onto wooden planks. Matt’s wife, Autumn, explained that this practice, as opposed to printing directly on the wood, helps “preserve the original quality of the print.” And, this is where their artistic skills collide.
Matt’s wife, Autumn Kraemer, is an artist of a different type – photographer – and what she does truly is art. Autumn’s love for photography started when Matt bought her a digital camera during her third, and final, pregnancy. With new camera in hand, she fell in love with taking pictures of her own kids. People saw the pictures she took of her children and wanted her to take pictures of theirs, too. She started off just taking pictures for friends and acquaintances on the side, free of charge. After two years of doing photo shoots as favors, Autumn got her first paying job. She couldn’t believe it at first that she could make money doing something she loved so much. Autumn still works full-time in the MRI and X-ray fields and doesn’t advertise at all. She simply relies on word of mouth and referrals.
Autumn’s forte is newborn photography. She explained that, “there is just something so sweet and innocent about children.” Also, being a mother herself, she understands how precious children are. Autumn has tried other types of photography, including weddings, and they just aren’t her thing. Autumn went on to explain that, “the best way to be successful is to find your thing.” She said she’d rather be really good at one style of photography than to continually jump around and just be “OK” at many styles.
Another exciting addition to Autumn’s résumé came in 2013 when she was hired by Medela (a leading manufacturer of breast pumps) to do a photoshoot. The company flew her out to Chicago for a four-day photoshoot. It was then that she realized that children were her “thing.”
Matt and Autumn truly are a dynamic duo; the couple even went antiquing on their honeymoon! Autumn also joked about their recent three-and-a-half hour journey into PA for barnwood she intends to use as a backdrop. Matt was a little less than enthused about the Craigslist find but was a good sport and decided to accompany his wife on the trip. Make sure to keeps tabs on these two on their Facebook pages here and here to see just what they’ll come up with next!