Tuning into a new hobby

SHS student makes guitar picks after pandemic


Senior Izaiah Ritter drops the guitar picks he made for an artsy picture. Ritter make each of these picks out of wood.

It all started during the pandemic. After being isolated from the world, senior Izaiah Ritter found himself alone with his guitar. Although the rest of the world seemed to be shut down, his inspiration still sparked and led to a creative hobby, making his own guitar picks.
“I feel like the guitar picks led to my drawing, my music and other ways,” Ritter said.
His newly found hobby is his own way of contributing to the community and impacting others in small ways.
“I’d like for it to go somewhere someday,” Ritter said. “You know, being able to use my hands for some type of way.”
Ritter was hugely influenced by his grandfather in multiple ways. His grandfather motivated him into experimenting new ways with wood as well as influencing him in his journey
Ritter’s grandfather was a woodworker and seeing him create many beautiful pieces, inspired him to make some of his own. Since he also had the ability to get the materials he needed, he was able to make new picks whenever he wanted.
His love for wood allowed Ritter to begin investing in crafting woodwork, or in his case, guitar picks.
He started off with pair limbs, a type of wood and drew the shape of the pick out on the limb. Afterwards, Ritter cut them into different sizes and shapes for the picks. After a long process of drilling, sanding and staining the wood, his newly crafted picks were finished. Ritter was able to create sentimental and beautiful pieces to share with those who are close to him.
“I made a couple that had meanings to them,” Ritter said. “ A few letters or what not I’d play with for different people.”
However, his hobby is currently not a business.
Due to his passion for creating art via woodworking, he plans to continue and find ways to put his artwork out there for others to enjoy. He wishes to find ways to impact someone’s day through his art, even if it is simple as making their day or just gaining confidence by playing the guitar.
“It would make me feel better,” Ritter said. “It’s really just a way to affect the community in a good way.”
Alonna Hickman, a mutual friend of Ritter, received picks from him. She would describe Ritter as a generous and giving person. She keeps her picks from Ritter in a guitar case and expresses her fondness for the picks.
“I loved them, they were super cool and very well done,” Hickman said.
Although there were times when Ritter felt like giving up on his hobby, he always stayed true to his passions and pushed through.
“In times where you don’t believe you will succeed and you just keep pushing through is when you actually succeed,” Ritter said.
Even before making guitar picks, Ritter was widely known as artistic and creative by his peers. Social studies teacher Joe Leonard, often saw Ritter’s creativity during class. He was often spotted drawing or doing something creative. Both of them also relieve their stress by confining themselves to guitars and music. Upon knowing that Leonard plays the guitar, Ritter gave him a guitar pick to use.
“Quarantine was terrible,” Leonard said. “I played the guitar a little bit, and that was one way I relieve stress.”
Ritter is a big believer in “going with the flow.” Even though he plans to keep his new hobby as just a way to enjoy it in his free time, if he doesn’t plan to follow through with college, he plans to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and join the military.
“I’m a lone wolf type of guy,” Ritter said.