Left: Jarrod Smitherman in his woodworking shop (contributed); right: Smitherman's turned wood artistry on razor and shaving brush (contributed)
In this creative weekly series, local author, artist and all-around entertaining and eccentric (not to mention classy!) Southern gentleman Ben Johnson South introduces Cullman Tribune readers to the creative thinkers and doers in the Cullman community.
“10 Things from a Tribune Tastemaker”
This week, meet Jarrod Smitherman, wood turning wizard
How much wood could a wood turning wizard turn if he turned wood with his furniture-making father, his cabinet-making grandfather and his great-grandfather, a carpenter? Jarrod Smitherman, a fourth-generation Alabama woodworker, was destined to become a skilled craftsman who can conjure magical, jaw-dropping beauty from homely, fallen, found wood. Each holiday season, Smitherman’s booth at the Vinemont Band Boosters’ Christmas Arts and Crafts Show (Friday, Nov. 16 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 17 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Cullman Civic Center) is the “go-to” destination for quality, handmade, affordable-yet-amazing, wood-turned treasures. By day, young Mr. Smitherman is a social studies teacher at J.B. Pennington High School in Blount County. His motto is taken from one of his American heroes, Henry Ford, “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.”
Here are 10 THINGS FROM THIS TRIBUNE TASTEMAKER:
- “BIG TREE” IN THE SIPSEY WILDERNESS—favorite, Alabama wood object spanning the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries
- CULLMAN ARTS AND CRAFTS BUNGALOWS—pre-prefab found in many older neighborhoods
- PINOCCHIO TRAIT—if Jarrod ever fibbed it would be “a little, white lie” to not hurt feelings
- TREEN—a weird word wood turners use for small, utilitarian, wood objects like much of Jarrod’s artisanal collectibles; useful and beautiful
- GUSTAV STICKLEY—favorite furniture designer, early-20th century mission-style
- PURE, UNSTAINED ALABAMA CHERRY—eschews wood stains and paint opting for clear, protective finish
- WOOD TURNED WRITING PENS—Holiday 2018 gift suggestion for men/women/children; kids and teens in our technologically driven culture are fascinated with hand-crafted items.
- WALNUT SIDE TABLE—a most-cherished possession created with his father/mentor
- ACOUSTIC GUITAR—becoming proficient in bending wood and inlay with aspirations to create one
- THE WOODWORKING STUDIO IN “THE NOTEBOOK”—a dream space with lots of hand tools and vintage power tools
TASTEMAKER Jarrod Smitherman can be contacted about custom wood turning projects at email@example.com.
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