Monday, February 04, 2013

The AMAZING La Maga Lupe

In this blog post, the word "amazing" comes up so many times, it's almost embarrassing. I was going to pull out my old thesaurus, to try and find a word to substitute for it. But - it's the best way I can describe Lupe - so ....  my apologies. When you're done reading this - I'm betting you'll agree there's no better adjective for her. 


The other day, I was telling someone that I could start a blog about all the amazing people I've met here, and I would probably never run out of people to write about. Honestly, there are some amazing stories here!

I've met animal trainers and game designers, acrobats and inventors, gold barons, poker stars and pianists, madams and magicians, and more.

Speaking of magicians, Lupe took her first class with me in the spring of 2011. Here's the first box she completed

She is one of the most appreciative and energetic students in the shop - and ends every class with a donation to the shop. 

Here is one of my favorites!

When she puts her mind to something, she commits herself 100% to it. When she decided it was time to learn how to build a rocking chair, she made an amazing one in Cherry. 

In fact, she built this printer table almost at the same as she built the rocker. Yes, she's a multi-tasker. Actually, that's an understatement - she has an amazing amount of energy.

Even more incredible is the story of the tables that she decided to build. A little bit of background first - Lupe and her husband are well known in the world of magic - both as performers and suppliers.  

They have travelled the world with their craft - and now run a fascinating company designing, building and selling magic props and reproduction posters to magicians. Their collection is one of the most comprehensive magic poster collections in the world. 

Last summer, I had the opportunity to see their poster collection when they hosted a small brunch at their house, following their weekly bicycle excursion - and what a treat it was! Great people, wonderful connections. 

 Even more amazing, their poster collection includes an extremely rare original poster promoting an 1895 magic show by the well known magician, Kellar. This poster is one of eight known to exist, 

and featured on the poster is a lectern table, holding a book. The table is unique and recognizable, at least in the world of magic!

When Lupe mentioned to another magician that she was studying woodworking, it was suggested that she attempt to build one of these tables, and if successful - market them to other magicians. 

If nothing else - Lupe is one hell of a business woman, and she did just that - coming up with a couple of prototypes until she nailed down all of the details. This was no small feat, and she completely dedicated herself to the task, even finding a CNC shop to help with the machining of the legs, which are quite ornate. 

Lupe decided to make a limited edition of twelve of these tables, and as of this writing, she's sold seven. 

I highly suspect that when she gets down to the last one or two, they will be snapped up!

Here's her latest creation - a towering walnut bookcase. 

This bookcase was a challenge from start to finish, and she never once soured on the piece, even though she hit a couple of rough spots on it. In my mind - that's the sign of someone who is going to be a good woodworker - how well they recover from the little slip-ups that we all experience. 

After five coats of Watco and a final coat of wax, this piece looks amazing. No wonder she looks proud. And exhausted!

But - even though I've known her for almost two years now, I didn't know some of the amazing things about her life - such as the fact that she was a child star and regularly performed on TV. See! I told you she had a pretty interesting story - from being a child star to a star in the woodshop!

The February, 2013 issue of Magic Magazine featured an amazing seven page article about Lupe, and I couldn't be more proud to know her both as a student, and as a good friend. I scanned the article, and uploaded it as a PDF. You can download Lupe's article here - it's a rather large file, but offers a fascinating glimpse into her evolution from child star to woodworker. 

Honestly - I couldn't be more proud of what she's accomplished! 

Amazing, right?


Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

Great work, Lupe! You've been fortunate to find such a good teacher.

Vegas Lupe said...

OMG!!! I am blushing right now... My deepest appreciation go to Jamie for the wonderful blog post. It was been a magnificent ride so far. Woodworking has made me grow as a human being, and I have found talents I didn’t even know I had (like unconditional patience...). As a woodworking student, I hope that one day I can reach the level of skill and perfection that my teacher, Jamie, has attained. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have found her, not only because she is a remarkable teacher and skillful with wood, but because there is “soul” and a very special feeling to her work that only true artists have.

I do believe people meet each other and get together for a reason. Thank you for being an inspiration, Jamie. In the meantime, I will try to come up with yet another challenging project, and you can be the president of my fan club as well, ‘cause I am already the president of yours. :-D

John said...

Excellent, wood brings out the best in both Jamie and Lupe. Just a winning combination and WoodItIs is a great school here in Las Vegas. Jamie brings out her students "inner woodworker" !

Acabados Profesionales McLeod said...

La maga Lupe de Panamá. .. te veía los sábados en el show de Victor MartineZ Blanco.
Siempre te recuerdo .... y admiraba tu arte y destreza siendo una pelaita. Me preguntaba que seria de ti; me alegra saber q estas bien un abrazo desde Panama.