Knock on wood

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Rickey Elliott has had a long career working with wood products at a paper mill for over 47 years. Now that he has retired, he continues using his hands to create items from fallen trees.

When did you start creating decorative pieces out of wood? 

“It really started early in my life when Hurricane Ivan blew down so many trees. I saw people making things out of damaged trees and thought about what I could make. I decided to start making bowls and household items from wood that was being thrown away or burned. The primitive look is appealing to me because the flaws give the creations character.”

Where do you find your materials?

“I own some acres of land and walk it searching for fallen trees. An examination and knock on the wood let me know what I will be working with and create.”

Where did you get your training for working with wood?

“YouTube videos became my new obsession and taught me what tools to use and how to use them. I look at a block of wood and vision what it could become.”

How do you come up with the ideas for your creations?

“YouTube is a good source for ideas, and sometimes I start cutting a block of wood and things develop. I often am amazed at how the ending product turns out.”

What is the most challenging thing you have made and what is your favorite?

“Anything that involves specific precision, like a wooden wagon. My favorite thing to make is bowls in a variety of shapes and sizes.”

Are you currently working on anything new?

“I am in the process of building a 26' x 8' hothouse, so my wife and I can have veggies throughout the year. I have a system to capture the rainwater for the plants. A wood burning heater will be the source for temperature control.”

Rickey Elliott’s wood art may be purchased at Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center or ordered at

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