Loren, Daniel Calleri start Etsy shop, bond over woodworking

Junior Loren Calleri makes knives, hooks, cheeseboards and more through woodwork and metalwork with his dad. These are sold on his Etsy shop, Driftless Metal Works

Loren Calleri

Junior Loren Calleri makes knives, hooks, cheeseboards and more through woodwork and metalwork with his dad. These are sold on his Etsy shop, Driftless Metal Works

Téa Tamburo, Content Manager

One of Loren Calleri’s fondest memories is building a treehouse in Wisconsin and shadowing his dad on woodworking projects. 

“I would help my dad hold the nail while he hammers it in,” Loren said. “He would invite me into his woodworking things and I would help him out and watch.”

At age 2, his dad, science teacher Daniel Calleri, would give Loren electronic items to disassemble. They would deconstruct these items together, and Loren really enjoyed it. 

For Loren, the deconstruction of electronics with his dad was just the start of a metal and woodworking hobby. 

Now a U-High junior, Loren dons protective glasses, work gloves and a blacksmith’s apron to protect himself from any flames, heat or sparks. It sounds like it could be a scene from a movie set in the open air of Wisconsin, but it isn’t. Metalworking is something Loren and his dad have lifelong experience with.

For the Calleri family, creativity is a central value, and it’s this value for creativity that inspired working together on metal art.

“My brother and my mom do a lot of pottery, and me and my dad do a lot of the woodworking and the metalworking,” Loren said. 

Dr. Calleri said it’s important to do something creative. He said his father is a photographer by training, so he grew up surrounded by creative influences. Loren has been metalworking alongside his dad for as long as he can remember. 

The creativity started when Loren and Dr. Calleri built Loren’s bed when he was little. Later, the two attended a workshop on foraging and craftsmanship, which set Loren on the path of foraging his own materials.

Loren’s family has a cabin in Mineral Point, Wisconsin, where they do a lot of metal and woodworking and foraging. 

“Right across the street there’s Shake Rag Alley, and there’s these little super-old cottages where people will do old-fashioned arts,” Loren said. “We went to one of those classes about foraging a riddling knife.” 

Since that class, Loren started foraging all his own materials. This has been successful, but it results in him getting dirty. 

“We haven’t blown anything up; no excessive flames,” Dr. Calleri said. “It gets dirty. Like, he’ll come in from a day of forging and I’ll be like, ‘Dude, if you touch that light switch it’s all over man.’”

After about four years working on projects in the woods of Wisconsin, the projects started piling up. Dr. Calleri helped Loren start an Etsy site to sell his creations: Driftless Metal Works

“It was a way to make a little bit of money, but it was my dad’s idea and he was like, ‘I was mowing lawns at that age, you should do something,’” Loren said. “He got my Etsy site started for me.” 

Through his Etsy site, Loren sells items he’s already created, and he takes commissions. These sophisticated skills have been refined after years of practice and collaboration with his dad. 

As parents, anytime you get a chance to work with your kid it just makes the relationship have more than it would otherwise.”

— Daniel Calleri

“As parents, anytime you get a chance to work with your kid it just makes the relationship have more than it would otherwise,” Dr. Calleri said. “It keeps people close, and it’s done that for us — given us a chance to work together, given us a chance to do something that’s not just school and grades and whatever other parenting things you need to do with your kids.” 

According to Loren, he and his dad share a bond that allows them to communicate with a special language only they understand. 

“We share a way of thinking, like a language. Like, we can communicate with things you wouldn’t really understand if you just heard us talking about them,” Loren said. “We can say things like ‘You know, the thing,’ and we’ll both know what we’re talking about ’cause we’ve been doing it for so long.”