Crafts·man [ˈkraf(t)smən] — noun: a person who is skilled in a particular craft. artisan, artist, skilled worker, expert, master. Just as Tigermoth is passionate about crafting stories, we admire and are inspired by craftsmen of all descriptions.

Craftsman Series:

Ian Balding, Surfboard Shaper

Director of Video Production David Wilson is hard at work on a project featuring North Carolina artisans. David’s “Craftsman Series” will take viewers behind the scenes with a variety of talented artists from Greensboro and around the state. Currently, he is editing footage and storyboarding a piece on surfboard shaper Ian Balding.


How did Dave discover Ian and his work? He was visiting a friend at Hyco Lake, North Carolina, when something caught his eye. “A beautiful paddleboard was mounted on the wall. When he’s not in the water, my friend hangs the board there, to display like a piece of art. I could see why; it’s gorgeous. I wanted to learn the story behind it.”

The board was the work of Ian Balding. Balding has a shop in Wilmington, where he builds all of his boards – wood, foam, surf and even paddleboards – with incredible attention to detail. His lifelong background in carpentry and art allows him to build his boards with the skillful techniques of Old World craftsmanship. In fact, his work is fit for a champion; Balding has shaped two boards for a world champion big wave surfer in Hawaii.

“The work of a craftsman is something you can touch and hold and pass down for generations. I want to capture what goes into that kind of a process.”

One day, while on a trip to Wilmington, Dave paid Balding a visit. He asked if he would share his story as a craftsman, and Balding agreed.

“His work is art,” Dave says. “It involves talent. I want to create this series to share with others who have an appreciation of the handcrafted.”

Stay tuned for David’s video, which we’ll post on the Tigermoth site along with others from the series. From surfboard shaping to bartending to letterpress printing, each video will capture the story of – and Tigermoth’s appreciation for – unique, local artisans.


Andrea Crossley Spencer is Co-founder and Director of Creative Writing at Tigermoth Creative. Her 20-year copywriting career spans advertising agencies and higher education. A fiction writer, Andrea is represented by Maria Carvainis Agency. She teaches writing workshops to young writers in local schools.