Woodworker Davis spent his professional years as head of two Florida corporations. With leisure time to be filled in 1997, the retired executive revived his interest in woodcraft, long dormant since his teen years in high school Industrial Arts classes.
Largely self-taught, he works from his studio/shop in Waynesville, NC, surrounded by great stacks of logs, stumps, branches, roots, castoff cuts, rejected knotty burls, and other natural resources awaiting transformation. Bartered treasures from other craftsmen-pottery & glass-often add artistic function to his turned bowls and trays. Another interest-RV travel-presents opportunities to gather unusual additions to his raw materials: Florida beach driftwood, California redwood roots, Louisiana swamp cypress and pecan, Mississippi tupelo or black gum, North Carolina dogwood and apple, and weathered South Carolina barnwood.
Now known for his focus on “polychromatic segmented woodturning,” Davis’ latest series involves the use of native hardwoods, (cut from his own 10-acre NC hardwood rain forest) layered alternately with imported exotic hardwoods. He has harvested Black Walnut, Cherry, and Oak, from the woods lying along Winchester Creek. New raw materials come from a fellow woodworker, a countertop laminator, who often donates a mysterious collection of exotic wood dropcuts from his waste bin. These exotics often include Cocobolo, Brazilian Cherry, Zebrawood, Marblewood, Yellowheart, Purpleheart, Bloodwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, or Snakewood. (His friend had always paid a waste management company to haul these away for burning!) Supporting conservation, the “leftovers” will become cutting boards, custom writing instruments and desk tools. Even the smallest cuts can be used creatively. Thus, GREENCRAFT products from Winchester Woodworks gain much more significance in this current era of eco-friendly practices. Each unique vessel pieced from precision-cut segments reflects his evolving style with new color, pattern, and textural variety.
Davis attended the University of Miami in Florida, has taken classes at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, and has studied privately with recognized wood turning specialists-Nick Cook, Don Russell and the late Willard Baxter. Promoting his craft whenever possible, he has done workshops for at-risk teens at Eckerd Youth Alternatives Camp in Hendersonville, NC, and for Big Brother/Big Sister of Haywood County. His donated work brings auction dollars to benefit the work of REACH (advocates for victims of Domestic Violence), Haywood County Arts Council, and Haywood Arts Regional Theatre (all in his home county of Haywood)—contributions to his favorite community causes. Each spring he shows his skill at “Quick Draw” where artists are given 60 minutes to produce a piece for auction that same evening, benefiting Art Education in Haywood County schools. His affiliations include the Southern Highland Craft Guild, American Association of Woodturners, Carolina Mountain Woodturners, American Craft Council, and the Carolina Designer Craftsmen’s Guild.
As a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, he demonstrates lathe-turning at their CraftFair of the Southern Highlands, Asheville, NC, one in July and another in October each year. The Paradise City Arts Festivals in Marlborough and Northampton, MA, have showcased his turnings since 2004. One of his bowls was featured in the book 500 Bowls published by Lark Books in 2004.
He demonstrates his craft at many venues every spring and fall, including the Haywood Open Studio Tour in downtown Waynesville, NC; the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC; and the many shops of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. See www.southernhighlandguild.org for more information.
Mike Juett is originally from the Georgetown, Kentucky area. He moved to Orlando, Florida where he has been a successful business owner for over forty years. A little over two years ago, he and his wife realized their dream of buying a cabin in the mountains of Waynesville, North Carolina and Mike found his new passion.
With the purchase of the cabin, a state- of- the art woodturning shop was included in the property. Along with this came a new friendship with the previous owner, Allen Davis. Davis is an extremely accomplished woodturner and has been practicing for over twenty-five years. His only request in selling the shop was that he be able to use the facility and the materials to continue the craft. Juett agreed to this and began spending time at the shop and expressed an interest in learning to turn. Davis began to teach him, and Juett, an eager apprentice, quickly became hooked.
Under the watchful eye of the very skilled Davis, Juett quickly picked up the art of piecing together the intricate designs that are a trademark of the Winchester Woodworks products. He has produced many beautiful bowls, pens and wine stoppers using his own creative thinking. He has done demonstrations on the art of woodturning and loves working with the children who express an interest in the craft.
Mike has always been a man fully committed to whatever endeavor he takes on. Besides running his business, he has been a very active member of the Shriners of North America, helping support Shriners Hospitals for Children, and recently retired from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office after devoting twelve years as a Reserve Deputy. There he had the privilege of serving his community in many ways, from street patrol, to being a very active part of the Mounted Unit (horses) and also the Motor Unit (traffic motorcycles).
Not a man to sit still, he knew he would need to seek something to fill his retirement days and woodturning was a natural fit. His father had been an excellent carpenter and Mike has inherited the same natural ability to see the beauty in wood and the creative thinking needed to turn it into a truly beautiful piece of functional art.
He has become adept at identifying the many species of wood used in the products produced, such as Brazilian Cherry, Zebrawood, Yellowheart, Black Walnut, Ebony, Bloodwood and many other exotic woods. He loves the idea of taking what some might consider a leftover and turning it into an item that is not only useful, but shows the beauty of the wood.
Mike is only getting started in this new passion, but loves the creative side of designing the intricate pieces used in their bowls and urns, such as a star block made from extremely small cuts, tediously put together to become part of a beautiful, but functional piece of art that anyone would be proud to have in their home. The fact that all of the work produced by Winchester Woodworks is totally unique and no two pieces are exactly alike, adds to the sentimental value of each piece. Many of our pieces have been handed down through the families as heirlooms or featured in craft collections.
This artist is just getting started in this extremely satisfying art and is constantly working on new designs and ideas for products that can incorporate the beautiful types of wood into something anyone would be proud to own or give as a gift. He is a quick learner and very passionate about this craft. Look for some exciting designs to develop from his creative thinking and love for the process.