Allen W. Davis

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My work is unique functional art today—becoming family heirlooms tomorrow. My “polychromatic segmented” pieces have become my signature. When I design a precision-cut pattern I like to incorporate as many wood species as possible to lend complexity with balance and symmetry. I find it very satisfying that 80% or more of my wood raw material is recycled from waste bins of other woodworkers.


Woodworker Davis spent his professional years as head of two Florida corporations. With leisure time to be filled in 1997, the retired executive revived his interest in woodcraft, long dormant since his teen years in high school Industrial Arts classes.

Largely self-taught, he works from his studio/shop in Waynesville, NC, surrounded by great stacks of logs, stumps, branches, roots, castoff cuts, rejected knotty burls, and other natural resources awaiting transformation. Bartered treasures from other craftsmen-pottery & glass-often add artistic function to his turned bowls and trays. Another interest-RV travel-presents opportunities to gather unusual additions to his raw materials: Florida beach driftwood, California redwood roots, Louisiana swamp cypress and pecan, Mississippi tupelo or black gum, North Carolina dogwood and apple, and weathered South Carolina barnwood.

Now known for his focus on “polychromatic segmented woodturning,” Davis’ latest series involves the use of native hardwoods, (cut from his own 10-acre NC hardwood rain forest) layered alternately with imported exotic hardwoods. He has harvested Black Walnut, Cherry, and Oak, from the woods lying along Winchester Creek. New raw materials come from a fellow woodworker, a countertop laminator, who often donates a mysterious collection of exotic wood dropcuts from his waste bin. These exotics often include Cocobolo, Brazilian Cherry, Zebrawood, Marblewood, Yellowheart, Purpleheart, Bloodwood, Ebony, Pink Ivory, or Snakewood. (His friend had always paid a waste management company to haul these away for burning!) Supporting conservation, the “leftovers” will become cutting boards, custom writing instruments and desk tools. Even the smallest cuts can be used creatively. Thus, GREENCRAFT products from Winchester Woodworks gain much more significance in this current era of eco-friendly practices. Each unique vessel pieced from precision-cut segments reflects his evolving style with new color, pattern, and textural variety.

Davis attended the University of Miami in Florida, has taken classes at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, and has studied privately with recognized wood turning specialists-Nick Cook, Don Russell and the late Willard Baxter. Promoting his craft whenever possible, he has done workshops for at-risk teens at Eckerd Youth Alternatives Camp in Hendersonville, NC, and for Big Brother/Big Sister of Haywood County. His donated work brings auction dollars to benefit the work of REACH (advocates for victims of Domestic Violence), Haywood County Arts Council, and Haywood Arts Regional Theatre (all in his home county of Haywood)—contributions to his favorite community causes. Each spring he shows his skill at “Quick Draw” where artists are given 60 minutes to produce a piece for auction that same evening, benefiting Art Education in Haywood County schools. His affiliations include the Southern Highland Craft Guild, American Association of Woodturners, Carolina Mountain Woodturners, American Craft Council, and the Carolina Designer Craftsmen’s Guild.

As a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, he demonstrates lathe-turning at their CraftFair of the Southern Highlands, Asheville, NC, one in July and another in October each year. The Paradise City Arts Festivals in Marlborough and Northampton, MA, have showcased his turnings since 2004. One of his bowls was featured in the book 500 Bowls published by Lark Books in 2004.

He demonstrates his craft at many venues every spring and fall, including the Haywood Open Studio Tour in downtown Waynesville, NC; the Folk Art Center in Asheville, NC; and the many shops of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.