Spoons, by Paul Byron.
Spoons, by Paul Byron.

FARMINGTON — The Artifacts Gallery is displaying a wide variety of wooden art, from carefully carved crosses to a bookshelf and a table.

On Friday, the gallery will host an opening reception for its new themed show, the woodworkers show. The show features work from about a dozen woodworkers and paintings by Artifacts Gallery artists, all of which are wood related.

Bev Taylor, one of the gallery's owners, said the show features everything from "laser cut wood to walking canes."

Michael Billie provided two encaustic wood pieces, as well as a series of scarves with eucalyptus leaf print that were admitted to the show because they looked like wood. Sandy Nelson and George Murphy each submitted paintings of beavers, which they explained as fitting the theme because beavers are woodworkers. Paul Byron provided whimsical wooden characters and carved spoons with flowers on the handles. Brian Dennis brought in various laser-cut crosses and pictures.

"Mountain Man" by Paul Byron.
"Mountain Man" by Paul Byron.

Dwight Lawing, one of the studio artists at Artifacts Gallery, provided paintings to hang on the wall alongside the woodwork.

"I like wood," he said. "It tells a story."

Taylor and her husband are also woodworkers and have displayed their art in a woodworking show previously hosted by San Juan College.

For this show, Taylor finished a project she started years ago. During another woodworkers show, she led a demonstration, using a plain piece of pine and carving stars and the word "believe" onto the wood during the demo.

The wood sat around half finished for years, but Taylor said she always planned on making it into a box. She finished it for the show.

Taylor said the show came together when Cindy McNealy, who runs the Henderson Gallery at the college, and a couple of local woodworkers came to her about hosting the woodworkers show, which in the past was hosted by the college every other year.

"It's a great fit for the building," Taylor said.

Ramon Valdez was one of the woodworkers who approached Taylor about hosting the show.

Levels made by Roy Van Sickle.
Levels made by Roy Van Sickle.

Valdez said he remembers sanding wood for no reason as a child. Ironically, now that Valdez is a woodworker, he says sanding is his least favorite part of the process. Valdez works part-time for Ultra Form, a custom cabinet maker based in Farmington. While in the past he has shown and sold his woodwork around the country, he now only sells it in Santa Fe.

Valdez said woodworking has been his passion for a long time.

"It's always resonated with me," he said.

Recently he made a desk using wood from a tree his grandfather planted in the 1940s.

While Valdez has been making furniture for years, he won't have any furniture in the Artifacts Gallery show due to time constraints. He is currently remodeling his house, which is taking up the majority of his time.

Segmented wood pot by Glen Crandall is pictured on Friday at the Artifacts Gallery in Farmington.
Segmented wood pot by Glen Crandall is pictured on Friday at the Artifacts Gallery in Farmington. (Photos by Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

Instead, Valdez made a series of boxes for the show because they were quicker to make. While making the boxes, he documented the entire process to submit to a woodworking magazine.

He said he is looking forward to the show.

"I hope people enjoy the art as much as I like making it," he said. "That's truly my ultimate goal."

While Valdez was unable to submit any furniture, Kevin Kelly submitted half a dozen pieces of furniture for the show.

Kelly started woodworking in high school in Reno, Nev., and later worked as a trim carpenter.

After graduating from College of the Redwoods in California, Kelly returned to Durango, Colo., where he had family ties.

Three years ago, he moved to Farmington and became a full-time woodworker. He said he likes woodworking because of how it interacts with all the senses. When the tools touch the wood, they make a certain sound.

"You can tell if the tool is sharp," he said.

As he carves the wood, it releases an aroma.

But he also enjoys the process of creating as well.

"The creative process of building furniture, for me, is very inspiring," he said.

Nothing Kelly makes is identical to something he has made in the past. For instance, he has two benches in the show, but, while they have similarities, each bench is unique in shape and design.

He creates his furniture using traditional hand tools, which he has also made. For instance, he made his hand planes using wood and iron.

A detail of a coffee table made by Kevin Kelly.
A detail of a coffee table made by Kevin Kelly.

He said part of what he likes about woodworking is making something using tools he made himself.

Kelly has participated in other shows in the past and he said he likes to watch the reaction of people who walk in to see the shows.

"There's something about wood that draws you in," he said. "You want to touch it."


What: Woodworkers show reception

When: 5 to 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Artifacts Gallery, 302 E Main St., Farmington

More info: 505-327-2907

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover on Twitter.