Monday, May 30, 2011


My grandfather is an amazing craftsman when it comes to anything wood. And one aspect of his talent that gives me an even higher regard for him is the art that he puts into his work.

This 90-year-old man is a modest, decorated WWII veteran from Kentucky whose beliefs and leanings tend to be very conservative. He built a long career on carpentry and is a pretty cut-and-dry, upstanding man. All of these traits aren't extraordinary when you consider other men of his generation. But one word that doesn't immediately come to mind when I think of Grandpa is "artistic."

And then I see the detail and the artistry in the pieces he builds, and I'm reminded that even though he may not fit in a typical "creative" mold, he definitely belongs there.

More than 10 years ago, I saw some wooden earrings I liked in a catalog or a magazine. I took the picture to him and asked if he could make some beads for me out of scraps of wood he had sitting around his workshop. He got right to work and gave me four pairs of wooden "beads" to work with.

My jewelry-crafting skills -- and my budget for nice hardware -- were limited, so I didn't wear the earrings much after I made them. But I've kept them all this time, safely tucked away and forgotten in a drawer.

This weekend, with an extra day off for Memorial Day and armed with some quality hardware, I deconstructed the earrings and got back to the original wooden focal pieces. I've now remade three of the four pair into earrings into updated, more quality renderings that I can't wait to wear!

The wooden beads in this pair are some of my favorites, because they show off one of Grandpa's strengths: he can seamlessly -- and artfully -- join three different kinds and colors of wood into one larger element. He's especially well known in the family for using this technique to create amazing bowls.

The colored beads that I used in this pair are leftovers from another project from years and years ago: a beaded watch.

These feature the same grain of wood as you saw in the first photo above. It's gorgeous all by itself.
I can't wait to wear these this week and have yet another great reminder of Grandpa nearby!


  1. Beautiful! We are very spoiled with what Grandpa has made for us :)

  2. You've got that right! I love having his stuff around. But I don't have to tell you that. ;)