Tony Giglio's handcrafted walking sticks
photo: anthony giglio

Anthony Giglio, a regular contributor to ‘the improvised life’ — his wine-friendly grape “ice cubes” remain a perpetual hit — recently posted on his website about his dad Tony Giglio’s unexpected, found ‘career’ in retirement. He makes walking sticks, and his story is pure ‘improvised life’:

About a year ago my father found inspiration in a friend-of-a-friend’s collection of hand-carved walking sticks and had a thought: “I could make those! And I could make ’em even better!”

And so his journey began, walking all over town, in and out of parks, neighbors’ yards, scavenging and harvesting enormous fallen branches, and then figuring out the process day by day.

It’s actually pretty amazing what he’s accomplished without formal training. My Dad has been working with his hands since he was a carpenter’s assistant at age 12. A skilled craftsman, he (more or less) ran his own Home Improvement business until he retired nine years ago.

Dad intuitively, methodically and lovingly breathes new life into each branch as he handcrafts these gifts of nature into walking sticks that are functional works of art and unique treasures.

First, he carefully strips off the bark and allows the branches to dry in the sun for up to two weeks. Then he feels his way into sanding and shaping each stick before intuitively carving it. This allows each design to speak for itself — and to tell its unique story. In many ways, each stick is a total improvisation…

The painstaking lacquering process takes about eight hours, as my dad carefully applies four coats of varnish by hand. Then he finishes each stick with handles, footings, straps, and, sometimes, beads.

Most finishes are interchangeable, depending on the type of wood. And his walking sticks are easily modified for height and comfort once you have chosen the stick that speaks to you.

What we love most about this is Tony G’s listening to his response to something he say and saying to himself:  Why don’t I try that? (The big WHY NOT?) And then he felt his way — discovered his way — toward creating something unique.

Anthony’s dad has gotten so much positive feedback — and demand for sticks — that he appears to have a burgeoning business. If your interested in one, email Anthony at [email protected].

Related posts: d-i-y music: trees, almonds and other found instruments + ‘the beat goes on’
tree trunks and rocks as display cases + stools
stylish makeshift toilet roll holder (made of rocks)
ice texts: words of ice (molded like a popsicle)
tree trunks and rocks as display cases + stools

If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *