Jon Welborn did not take a direct path to full-time wood artist. Before he did, the Texas native worked as a funeral director, math teacher, cabinet maker — and chicken farmer.
The artist: Welborn graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a forestry degree — a good fit, he thought, for someone who liked the outdoors and hunting.
Welborn started building cabinets and furniture part time out of college and continued to do so while holding other jobs before going full time in 2010.
Welborn, who lives and works in Pittsburg, Texas, started wood-turning in 2014.
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The goods & materials: Decorative, live-edge hollow forms and vessels ($200 to $3,000). Welborn uses local found wood, including hackberry, walnut, sassafras and sycamore, showcasing flaws that give each piece character. All work is sanded to an ultra-fine grit for a smooth surface and oiled.
Claim to fame: Best in Show winner in wood at the 2018 Beaux Arts festival in Miami and Best in Show at the 2016 Piedmont Park Art Festival.
NATURE IN METAL
A lifelong creator and crafter, Kim Thompson likes to keep her hands busy. She skillfully put them to work in traditional broom and basket making. Also sewing projects. But once Thompson discovered metalsmithing, she was all in.
The artist: Thompson earned a fine arts degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and worked for more than 25 years as an art director/graphic designer in retail advertising and corporate marketing.
She moved in 1993 to Western North Carolina, began taking jewelry classes in 1999, and ultimately made a career shift.
The company: Kim Thompson Stone & Sterlingwear started in 2007. Thompson, a full-time metalsmith, works out of her home studio in Waynesville.
The goods & materials: Contemporary-styled necklaces, earrings, cuffs and bracelets are made of sterling silver with a combination of finishes (oxidized, brushed and polished). Using real leaves, ferns and feathers, Thompson uses a roller mill to apply texture and pattern during fabrication. In other collections, she includes natural, unaltered, found stones.
What’s popular: The Meditations on a Leaf collection ($48 to $384). The softly pillowed and brushed pieces feature delicate patterns from leaves.
Other favorites: The Rainforest collection ($68 to $595), inspired by a camping trip to British Columbia and hiking in the ancient rain forests.
Big break: Becoming a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
Florida artist Lucrezia Bieler creates scherenschnitte, also known as paper cuttings or silhouettes. Her delicate yet detailed cuttings remind viewers of woodblock prints or etchings.
The artist: Bieler was born in Switzerland and studied art for six years at the Hochschule der Künste, Zurich, where she graduated with honors as a scientific illustrator. When she and her husband moved to Seattle in 1994, she started to pursue paper cutting professionally. The self-taught artist has lived in Tallahassee since 2003.
The materials: Small, surgical-like scissors and a single sheet of paper.
The process: Like woodcutting or sculpting, Bieler starts with a blank resource, such as a single sheet of paper, and creates the art by cutting parts of it away. She can make extremely intricate cuttings with lines no thicker than thread-width.
What’s popular: Nature-themed paper cuttings mostly in black and white ($25 to $15,000).
Claim to fame: Participating in the Smithsonian Craft Show for the 10th time. The show is April 25-29.
What’s new: A signature member of the prestigious Society of Animal Artists and of Artists for Conservation, an international group of nature and wildlife artists.
Where to buy:Bieler-beerli.com. In Georgia, at the annual Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival in Thomasville in Nov. 16-18.