Wyatt Severs grew up in our neck of the woods and attended Murray State University. He is an accomplished woodworker and is conducting a wood turning workshop this month at WKCTC. He sees the endless possibilities in trees and passes that knowledge on to others. iMeet this wood turning magic man.
Welcome to iMeet, Wyatt. Tell us about yourself...
I was born and spent my early childhood in the rural southern Illinois area. I moved to Murray when I was eight and started at Murray State University (MSU)after high school.
Tell us about your journey as an artist and a woodworker...
I started woodworking at MSU under Professor Paul Sasso in 2005, and from him, I was exposed to the great craft schools throughout our country. I studied under some of the best woodworkers in America schools and art centers including: Peters Valley School of Craft in Layton, New Jersey, Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina, Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village, Colorado, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina.
Do you think woodworking is a lost art?
I think that the understanding of woodworking and general knowledge of wood is a dying craft. It’s important to me to help expose people interested to its function, the characteristics and endless possibilities of trees.
What is your favorite type of wood to work with and why?
I build most of my furniture from cherry & maple. I really enjoy the contrast between the two yet very similar characteristics in their feel and appearance.
Do you sell your furniture online? Is it all one-of-a-kind?
My work is all one-of-a-kind; I do commission works; my work can be seen on my website wyattsevers.com
Has woodworking always been your passion?
I have always been passionate about creating things and I found woodworking when I was 23. One of the things I enjoy most about woodworking is the teaching aspect that has become part of my career. Passing on uncommon knowledge about trees, and how many things in our lives are constructed from them, brings me a great deal of joy & satisfaction.
You are conducting a workshop at WKCTC. Tell us about that...
Yes, I am teaching Fundamentals of Green Wood Turning at the Paducah School of Art & Design July 13-15. In the class we will cover spindle and bowl turning. You can sign up here.
Do you have to have any experience to attend?
This is a great class for the absolute beginner. Though I have taught many of these workshops at various locations it will be the first one I have taught at WKCTC.
You've traveled extensively across the states. What's your favorite place you've ever visited?
It is hard to really pick a favorite, I love many places for many reasons. In recent years I find myself spending most of my time out of Kentucky at the Penland School of Art & Crafts in the mountains of North Carolina. I visit the school for teaching, residencies and working with friends in the field.
What do you like to do in your free time?
For the last few years much of my free time has been spent helping my partner, who is a wood fire ceramic artist, fire her work in a wood kiln. This involves lots of cutting and splitting of firewood and running multiple night shifts during the firing.
I imagine that there is the possibility of accidents or injuries while turning wood - or is a relatively safe experience?
Wood turning is as safe as driving a car! If you're not paying attention to what you're doing and taking proper safety precautions there is always a chance for injury. With that being said, I have been teaching woodturning to eight year olds and up for over eight years without an accident.
Today is the 4th of July...any plans to watch fireworks tonight?
I will be spending the 4th of July teaching a wood turning camp at Penland in North Carolina. In the class we will create something to carry in the youth camp section of Penland's 4th of July parade followed by a wonderful fireworks display.