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HomeNewsArchivesCrafted Wood on Display and For Sale Draws Crowd to UVI

Crafted Wood on Display and For Sale Draws Crowd to UVI

Dec. 7, 2007 — The Woodworkers Expo that began Friday at UVI covers a broad spectrum, from Carol Spanner, who has been crafting wood for 40 years, to ninth grader Maritza Rodriguez, who has been working with wood for nine months.
UVI'S Great Hall had a good amount of people checking out the displays and demonstrations already early Friday afternoon, just after the expo opened.
"I'm really impressed and pleased with the start of the show," said Bernard Jones, president of the St. Croix Society of Woodworkers.
Some of the finest woodworkers from the territory were displaying their art and doing demonstrations on carving and turning wood. There were clocks, carved day beds, pens, carved sculptures, jewelry, side tables, pens, vases and more displayed by 16 artists from St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.
Spanner, who is self-taught, said he started out with small pieces. He now does custom-designed fine furniture such as four-poster mahogany beds. Spanner had a delicately carved, dark mahogany daybed with gold-leaf details on display. Jones and Spanner do a team teaching approach of woodworking at St. Croix schools. Jones had creative designs in all shades of varnished mahogany plaques inscribed with verse on display.
"My working with wood was like a genealogical experience," Afreekan Southwell said. "I saw someone else do it and I went home and tried it."
He was 10 at the time. Southwell learned more in an industrial-arts class on his native Antigua. He now makes his home on St. Thomas. He was showing finely carved statues of people and animals using rust-colored mahogany.
The petroglyphs on St. John are the inspiration for jewelry carved from coconut that Alton Evans designs. His creations are made from local seeds, shells and wood. His designs speak and touch on a spiritual level with Virgin Islands ancestral symbols.
Avelino Samuel has created spiral-turned vessels with wood such as white prickle, a light tan with a curved grain. His pieces are finely sanded and polished with a luster that brings out the grain in each piece. Some of the vases have lids with delicate spires on them.
Samuel was born and raised in Coral Bay on St. John. In that lush tropical setting, he became acquainted with native trees and learned to appreciate their beauty. Samuel's job as an industrial-arts teacher has allowed him to continue his wood-turning training, attending symposiums and teaching others the art.
"Woodworking is my bread, butter and cheese," said Crucian Bien Brignoni, a woodworker for the past 26 years. Brignoni said he does it all: sculpture, furniture, turning, bowels, vases and restoration. He has a shop in Sion Farm where he caters to locals and tourists. A self- taught artist himself, Brignoni has taken on Rodriguez as a student.
"She is very talented and will go far if she stays with woodworking," Brignoni said.
Woodworker Gregory Johnson gave a demonstration at John H. Woodson Jr. High last year, Rodriguez said. After watching him turn the legs of a table it made her think, "I can do that." Rodriguez has turned bowls and vases. Early in the show she had already sold a framed mirror.
"I plan on making a career of woodworking," Rodriguez said.
Al Smith, a postal worker, picked up woodworking eight years ago as a hobby. His creations are all done from wood, but with painting and detail they look like the real thing — such as a Coke bottle. He has made flashlights, pencils, nail-polish bottles and a guitar.
A demonstration was done on spiral carving by Roger Nickel of St. Croix. Other demonstrations, such as wood turning and bowl carving, were also done, and will be repeated on Saturday.
The Cooperative Extension Service at UVI is putting on the expo. It continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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Dec. 7, 2007 -- The Woodworkers Expo that began Friday at UVI covers a broad spectrum, from Carol Spanner, who has been crafting wood for 40 years, to ninth grader Maritza Rodriguez, who has been working with wood for nine months.
UVI'S Great Hall had a good amount of people checking out the displays and demonstrations already early Friday afternoon, just after the expo opened.
"I'm really impressed and pleased with the start of the show," said Bernard Jones, president of the St. Croix Society of Woodworkers.
Some of the finest woodworkers from the territory were displaying their art and doing demonstrations on carving and turning wood. There were clocks, carved day beds, pens, carved sculptures, jewelry, side tables, pens, vases and more displayed by 16 artists from St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.
Spanner, who is self-taught, said he started out with small pieces. He now does custom-designed fine furniture such as four-poster mahogany beds. Spanner had a delicately carved, dark mahogany daybed with gold-leaf details on display. Jones and Spanner do a team teaching approach of woodworking at St. Croix schools. Jones had creative designs in all shades of varnished mahogany plaques inscribed with verse on display.
"My working with wood was like a genealogical experience," Afreekan Southwell said. "I saw someone else do it and I went home and tried it."
He was 10 at the time. Southwell learned more in an industrial-arts class on his native Antigua. He now makes his home on St. Thomas. He was showing finely carved statues of people and animals using rust-colored mahogany.
The petroglyphs on St. John are the inspiration for jewelry carved from coconut that Alton Evans designs. His creations are made from local seeds, shells and wood. His designs speak and touch on a spiritual level with Virgin Islands ancestral symbols.
Avelino Samuel has created spiral-turned vessels with wood such as white prickle, a light tan with a curved grain. His pieces are finely sanded and polished with a luster that brings out the grain in each piece. Some of the vases have lids with delicate spires on them.
Samuel was born and raised in Coral Bay on St. John. In that lush tropical setting, he became acquainted with native trees and learned to appreciate their beauty. Samuel's job as an industrial-arts teacher has allowed him to continue his wood-turning training, attending symposiums and teaching others the art.
"Woodworking is my bread, butter and cheese," said Crucian Bien Brignoni, a woodworker for the past 26 years. Brignoni said he does it all: sculpture, furniture, turning, bowels, vases and restoration. He has a shop in Sion Farm where he caters to locals and tourists. A self- taught artist himself, Brignoni has taken on Rodriguez as a student.
"She is very talented and will go far if she stays with woodworking," Brignoni said.
Woodworker Gregory Johnson gave a demonstration at John H. Woodson Jr. High last year, Rodriguez said. After watching him turn the legs of a table it made her think, "I can do that." Rodriguez has turned bowls and vases. Early in the show she had already sold a framed mirror.
"I plan on making a career of woodworking," Rodriguez said.
Al Smith, a postal worker, picked up woodworking eight years ago as a hobby. His creations are all done from wood, but with painting and detail they look like the real thing -- such as a Coke bottle. He has made flashlights, pencils, nail-polish bottles and a guitar.
A demonstration was done on spiral carving by Roger Nickel of St. Croix. Other demonstrations, such as wood turning and bowl carving, were also done, and will be repeated on Saturday.
The Cooperative Extension Service at UVI is putting on the expo. It continues Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.