Works in wood furnish man with 2nd career

August 06, 1993|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,Contributing Writer

As a woodworking artist, Jay Hammond has built just about every type of furniture -- with one exception.

"I've never made a chair, actually," Mr. Hammond said.

The Carroll County Arts Council Gallery, 15 E. Main St. in Westminster, will have a reception for a showing of the furniture Mr. Hammond has made from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

"Out of the Woods," which will run through the end of August, showcases pieces he has been working on since winter. He has participated in a few craft shows in Ellicott City, but "Out of the Woods" is his first major showing.

What started as an interest in wood shop in junior high school has grown into a second career building commissioned pieces of furniture.

"I've been doing it [woodworking] for about 18 or 20 years," Mr. Hammond said. "I've been building furniture seriously for the past 10 years."

As an electrical contractor, he has to arrange the time he spends building furniture around his work schedule. That can be difficult, he said, since furniture building "has been pretty steady work since last year."

Mr. Hammond's creations can take a day to several weeks to build.

"The customer usually decides what they want, and I design a rough sketch," he said. "We then decide on what type of wood they want."

He finds working with wood "relaxing" and is a second-generation artisan. His father builds period furniture.

Mr. Hammond said he learns techniques and designs from reading, going to trade shows and watching the builders he sometimes works with when doing electrical jobs.

He works in several types of wood, but has stopped using exotic woods because of the expense and the destruction of tropical rain forests.

"I like all kinds of wood," he said. "Some are easier to work with than others."

He does his work in a barn on the property of his good friend and fellow artist, Tom Sterner.

"I asked him if I could rent his barn to do some work in, and he said no, but I could use his barn," said Mr. Hammond, smiling.

Mr. Sterner paints murals on the roof of the barn.

In the barn, Mr. Hammond has created pieces that have been a challenge, even though he's an experienced furniture-maker.

"The hardest thing I ever built was a 10-drawer chest that had 10 in-door drawers," he recalled. "It was 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, and from start to finish it took between two and three months to build."

He also has had a few disappointments.

"I did make a table once that I ruined," he said. "I had tried a new type of stain that I had never used before. "It didn't work."

Everything in the exhibit will be for sale. Visitors are encouraged to look and touch, with the exception of one of Mr. Hammond's unusual works, a Japanese Shoji screen.

"It has rice paper on it that is pretty fragile," he said. "I would hope that everyone would be careful with that."

"Out of the Woods" will be at the Carroll County Arts Counci Gallery, 15 E. Main St., Westminster. The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is free.

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