Northland News

Sound of saws music to woodworker's ears

Between 'artist' and 'craftsman,' John Lloyd turns fallen trees into family keepsakes

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

If a tree falls in his neighborhood, John Lloyd hears about it.

The garage of Lloyd's Fairway Drive home in Clintonville is filled with sections of cherry, walnut, maple, sycamore, honey locust and other trees, but he's constantly on the lookout for more.

Friends from throughout the neighborhood know to call him if they're having a tree removed or they see someone else having major trimming done.

"Sometimes, I just hear chain saws and go running," Lloyd said.

Although he took wood shop while attending Northland High School, Lloyd said he began seriously turning out items crafted from wood on a lathe about 10 years ago. He joined the Clintonville Arts Guild eight years ago.

"It's a really different kind of woodworking, completely different from making tables and that kind of thing," he said of the items he crafts in his workshop.

Lloyd, who graduated from Northland High School in 1972 and has lived in Clintonville for the past 28 years, makes Christmas ornaments, wine-bottle stoppers, cutting boards and more from the wood he collects.

For a time, he was turning out magicians' wands.

"There used to be a demand when there was a certain series of books and movies that were popular, which shall remain nameless for fear of copyright laws," Lloyd said.

Along with pieces he thinks people might want to buy or which have some practical purpose, Lloyd said he also does custom work by commission.

For example, members of a family that has resided in Clintonville for more than a century, on one of the large farms that eventually gave way to housing, had Lloyd create bottle stoppers and bowls from what once were parts of trees on their ancestral property.

"They envision the great-grandfather at one point walking past these trees," Lloyd said.

So does he consider himself a craftsman who is an artist or an artist who is a craftsman?

"Kind of something in the middle," he said. "Mostly I would say a craftsman, but I am very concerned with form and the shape of things."

Lloyd used to sell his woodworking creations at the Clintonville Farmers Market before food supplanted crafts at all the vendor stalls, and it was back in those days that a member of the Clintonville Arts Guild suggested he might want to join.

The guild was founded in 1972 to promote the visual arts within the Clintonville community, according to its website. Its members work in clay, fiber, glass, watercolors, acrylics, oils, photography, ink, precious metals, gemstones, beads, gourds, wood and found materials.

The guild offers monthly programs, plans several member exhibitions each year in area galleries, and provides an annual scholarship for a local high school student who plans to major in art.

"A very supportive group," Lloyd said, "a very friendly group."

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