My art career began at the age of seven, at my grandparent’s home. I was drawing a picture of a tree from a book. Several relatives were there and were impressed that I was able to draw better than they could. The following summer, my mother enrolled me in private art lessons. My grandmother also had an interest in art, so she enrolled with me and the two of us took lessons together.
Since then, I have painted sporadically, sometimes going for years at a time without ever picking up a brush. It was not until 2001, at the age of 46 that I began to paint with any consistency. That is when I successfully painted my first portrait. Portrait painting has since become my primary focus in painting.
My woodworking career began in 1970. I was 16 at the time. I was fascinated with the architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans, often studying it in my spare time. I began designing and building furniture as a way to scratch my creative itch. I talked my father into allowing me to use a section of the family barn as a woodworking shop. I saved money from summer jobs and working on the family farm and bought a few basic tools. Then, I talked an uncle into wiring the shop and putting up lights. It was in that shop that I designed and built my first piece of furniture, a drop-leaf desk. These early beginnings were the start of a passion for art, design and woodworking that is still present today.
My first attempt at making cabinets for a paying customer was a disaster. I simply did not have the skills to do a quality job. The customer refused the work. That failure was one of my best lessons. I realized that if I was going to be successful at woodworking, I had to learn from someone or some place that had a high degree of skill. During the recession of the late ‘70’s, I discovered a business, Statesville Fixture Corporation that was one of the finest woodworking businesses in the Southeast. They were busy at the time, and because of my carpentry background, they hired me.
While at Statesville Fixture, I learned how to be a quality cabinetmaker. After three years, I wanted to expand my knowledge, so I went to work for another excellent woodworking business, Blanton and Moore, Inc. There I learned the machining side of the business.
Both of these businesses were very good at organization as well as the skills involved in fine woodworking. The six years I spent working at these two locations taught me to be an excellent artisan as well as teaching me the basics of the business side of woodworking.
Next, I struck out on my own, starting a cabinet making business in the basement of my home. After a few months, a man who wanted me to join him in a contract furniture manufacturing business approached me. I joined him, with a twenty percent share of ownership in a new corporation. I was ultimately in charge of engineering and plant management. In three years, we grew to about 35 employees. However, I was unhappy there. My business associate was making decisions that I believed would bankrupt the company. Ultimately, it did go under, nine months after I left. In the meantime, I accepted an offer to be a plant manager for Thonet Industries, a contract-seating manufacturer. After only a year there, the owner of that business consolidated two of his manufacturing plants and eliminated my position.
This was 1989. Most of the furniture industry was moving to China and other locations. There was little prospect of moving forward in furnituremanagement; but, that was fine, because I really did not enjoy management. I wanted to return to what I loved, designing and crafting fine furniture and cabinetry. I took the plunge and built a 2000 square foot woodworking shop.
For a while, I would grow sales, hire employees and then find that I was a manager again. Finally, since I knew that I would never enjoy being a manager, I made the decision to focus on being an artist and an artisan. That is why today D. F. Roseman Co. is a small woodworking shop specializing in designing and creating fine custom furniture and cabinetry. In addition, I paint, mostly portraits, as another way to express myself creatively.
In 1999, to serve my cabinetry customers more fully, I became a Licensed Contractor for the state of North Carolina. D. F. Roseman Co. now has the ability to perform a complete remodel of a kitchen or bathroom space as well as design and build the cabinets to fill that space.