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As the story goes, way back in 2000 I was a Freshman at Furman University pledging the Sigma Chi Fraternity. As a part of our pledge program we were each required to make a replica of our badge. During the last week of our pledge period, we would carry the badge we made everywhere we went...a creative lesson in accountability demonstrating that we would always be seen not just as a student but a representative of the fraternity.
Generally the pledges would get a sheet of plywood, and, using a stencil, would outline and cut out however many badges were needed for the class and the paint them. Some spent the extra money to buy pre-cut letters and designs from the local Greek shop to make things easier.
Being me and often feeling the need to be different or go the extra, often unnecessary step, I took a little trip to my toy store...HOME DEPOT. There I found medium density fiberboard or MDF. This extremely dense material seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. I took home a piece and carved for days using only an exacto knife. The finished product was fairly imperfect, but it was a creation and I carried it proudly knowing the sweat and blood (literally) that I had poured into it.
A seed had been planted. Although it was years before I really focused on carving, I had seen what I was capable of, and took kindly to my new hobby.