CoMo Artist: Twinwood Carving

all photos courtesy of Joe Marshall

Joe Marshall is the craftsman behind Twinwood Carving, a fabulous shop full of gorgeous hand-carved wood bowls.

Joe was born and raised in Ireland. He came to Columbia 11 years ago after meeting his future-wife, a Columbia-native, while she was studying abroad. While in high school, Joe learned the craft of hand woodcarving – the teachers didn’t believe in teaching how to use power tools because they could be learned in an afternoon. Twinwood Carving was started shortly after his twin boys were born so Joe could be a stay-at-home dad while still earning some income.

He uses a single solid piece of wood that he buys locally to make each bowl by hand. Five different tools are used to create each one, including electric and hand tools but no jig or template. Each bowl is completely unique. He had to make his own vices because the hardware store didn’t have anything that would work how he needed.

Joe finishes each bowl with a natural tung oil, and they are completely food safe. This is not the same tung oil you buy at the hardware store. Joe used pure tung oil that was squeezed from the nut of the tung tree – a chinese tree. It takes 2 weeks to apply the finish. He puts on 6 coats with 24-36 hours to dry inbetween and then it takes two to three weeks for the bowl to fully cure – so each bowl takes five to six weeks to create. Joe says that most people use mineral oil, which is a chemically produced oil. He doesn’t use it because mineral oil evaporates after three to four months and you would have to re-apply the oil. Tung oil penetrates into the wood and creates a hard, permanent finish.

While speaking with Joe I could tell that besides his family, hand-carving was his passion. You have to care about something if it’s going to takes six weeks to create! He takes pride in his work and really enjoys seeing how people react to his work.

I stopped by Blue Stem Crafts {located at 13 S. Ninth St., near Sparky’s} to see some of Joe’s work in person, but I am most looking forward to seeing his booth at the Columbia Art League’s Art in the Park on June 4th & 5th at Stephen’s Lake Park. He has been working for months to prepare the items he’ll take with. If you visit Joe at Art in the Park, be sure to tell him the CoMo Collective sent you!

You can visit Twinwood Carving on etsy, Joe’s blog, facebook, or twitter.

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