Walt Cottingham / Hawk Ridge FarmI have lived in the Southern Appalachians for most of my life, and have been creating craft pieces since childhood....
Hawk Ridge Farm
Media: WoodI have lived in the Southern Appalachians for most of my life, and have been creating craft pieces since childhood. I use natural materials, such as mountain laurel, hollow logs, and slabs, as well as recycled material from old buildings and sawmills, to create interesting pieces of rustic beauty and functionality. My primary work today is in building birdhouses, ornaments, and tables.
I build birdhouses of varying shapes and sizes, most of which are functional, some of which have stands that are created for their sculptural qualities. The stands are made from twisted natural pieces of wood, which are basically woven together and fastened with pegs to create flowing vertical forms to support the birdhouses. Each one is uniquely coordinated for the piece it supports. Though birdhouses are generally not considered art as much as craft, these pieces serve as wooden sculptures that will actually function as designed for specific birds. In addition to functional birdhouses, I make ornamental birdhouses on stands for interior display. The principles of construction are the same as the functional houses, yet on a smaller scale. I also make birdhouse Christmas ornaments from several types of wood with split shingle roofs and a variety of ornamentation, including birds, bells, and lights. Beyond birdhouses, I have recently focused on making tables with hardwood slabs and laurel legs. Again, the wood I find provides the basis for what I believe to be interesting and functional pieces of art. In my work I use standard woodworking techniques utilizing both hand and power tools. I work with drawknives, axes, froes, and wedges as well as more conventional hand and power tools. I try to find different uses for old and unusual materials, giving them new life in unique and functional forms.