Chamber News & Views: Wayne Allen uses local wood to create art
From his first class in woodshop in junior high school, Wayne Allen knew he loved the touch and feel of wood and began creating one-of-a-kind art for family and friends.
As he grew older and began his career as a United Airlines pilot, Allen didn’t have the time to enjoy woodworking full time until he retired after 37 years, moved to Carson City with his wife Sally, and set up shop in what was once a three-car garage.
He states, “I flew Boeing 747’s all over the world and retired on December 31, 2000. I could have lived anywhere, but chose Carson City because my children live in the region and we adopted my now 15-year old son, Wayne Thomas, who was born the day I retired.”
After looking around, like so many who choose to retire in Carson City, Allen found “Reno a bit too large, Carson Valley too far from the airport and a bit too rural, and Carson City was just right.” The couple found property in Timberline and built a home on the side of the mountain showcasing some of the best views of all of Carson City.
After completion of his home in 2002, he now had time to rekindle his passion for working with wood and purchased his first lathe, creating a woodshop now filled with all sorts of equipment and tools of the trade. He joined the Carson Valley Woodturners and continues to actively learn how to perfect his craft.
Calling himself an amateur, Allen does not sell his art, preferring to donate pieces to the Carson Valley Woodturners who then sell his and other woodturners wares at craft shows and within the Chamber’s Artisan gift store. The monies then go to the high schools to further the teaching of woodworking allowing for the purchase of equipment or to pay for materials and instructors.
When asked where he was able to find the variety of wood used in his art, Allen replied, “Most of the wood I use is local.” Woodturners club members will pick up – and occasionally chop down – trees in the area and store the wood on the land of Carson Valley Woodturners president Dave Mills allowing artists to give new life to local trees.
When asked how he gets the inspiration for his creative designs, Allen answered, “I check out the internet sites and wood products in stores, but mostly, I allow the wood to dictate the end result.”
Creating a wooden bowl can take years, depending on the amount of water in various woods.
The wood must be completely devoid of water before being put on a lathe to turn.
How it is that one can purchase wooden bowls and other wood items in stores for less than half the price of hand-crafted art? “The production line wood from China is of lesser quality and not hand-crafted and if you turn over the bowl, you’ll not see the finished footed bottoms,” declares Allen who signs his beautiful work on the bottom of each piece noting the date of completion.
Allen’s work is available for purchase at the Chamber Artisan Shop, 1900 S. Carson St., near the NV State Railroad Museum, is open Monday-Friday between 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Christmas is just around the corner!