For centuries craftsmen have sawed and filed wood to various desired shapes. But for Tom Gauntt, wood’s natural formation helps to elevate his one of-a-kind pieces. A lifelong woodworker, Tom’s passion stems from crafting in the shop alongside his grandfather, mimicking his masterful techniques. As he grew older, he took on bigger projects, from rebuilding sailboats to crafting custom cabinets. But when he developed a sudden rare illness, Tom was forced to sideline his larger projects. With no less passion or skill, he started creating unique wooden pens made from branches from nearby Chesapeake Bay. The pieces received much praise and he's been making them ever since. He lives and works on Kent Island in Maryland.
Several years ago, a rare illness sidelined his typically bigger projects of rebuilding sailboats and custom built-in cabinets. Looking for a creative outlet within the limits set by the illness, Tom, with the inspiration of his artist daughter, began turning wooden pens. His years of woodworking experience coupled with an artist’s eye (he’s an accomplished watercolor painter) and his love of the water led him to experimenting with turning locally gathered Chesapeake Bay driftwood. The results have been equally unique and beautiful.
When asked about his inspiration for his work, Tom is philosophical. He says, “Inspiration comes to us from various places throughout our lives. Had I not gotten sick, I doubt I would ever have started turning. It’s interesting what obstacles life throws at us – and how inspired we are to meet those challenges.”
It takes between six and eight months for a piece of found driftwood to become a finished pen. Learn more about Tom Gauntt's in-depth process on the blog.