Craftsman turns wood to wonders

Posted: Updated:

SHELBYVILLE - Jeremy Williams discovered his life’s passion on a day home sick.

“I was on the couch, ill, and I was at home watching PBS,” Williams remembered. “Someone was turning a bowl on a lathe, made it look fun and easy, and I thought ‘If I’m every going to do anything with (this), I might as well do it now.”

Williams’ father had done some carpentry, so Williams began experimenting with woodworking in his workshop.

“I invaded dad’s shop and basically took it over,” Williams said.

In the years since, Williams has pursued wood-turning, a type of woodworking that involves spinning a piece of wood on a machine called a lathe, then using chisels or other tools to gradually carve the wood into a shape.

"The different kind of pieces I was making increased in number,” Williams said. “A lot of different kinds of things. I still do that. The learning curve will always be there. There are so many different things to do in turning.”

Now, Williams travels from his family farm near Shelbyville to art shows and festivals around the Midwest, selling bowls, vases, pepper mills, and other works of art. As finely-crafted as his pieces are, the wood he uses is often wood others have thrown away.

“Basically, I look for a sawmill’s scraps,” Williams said. “Trees do crazy things with themselves. They grow knots on the side of a tree called ‘burls.’ Most of the time, those get tossed into the firewood pile. But when you can bring that grain out, it’s very beautiful.”

 Williams’ work is on display at Flourishes Gallery in Shelbyville through March. You can learn more about Williams and see more samples of his work here.

Current Conditions