Wilson will showcase woodworking talent at festival Oct. 14-15

Published 1:00 pm Monday, October 9, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Andalusia native Mike Wilson has been working with wood for most of his life.

Right out of high school, he trained as a carpenter under his grandfather and uncle for several years before venturing down other paths. Mike has worked in farming, he spent 17 years working offshore for a drilling company, and he has built houses.

He even spent time as a carny, hawking games on the carnival midway, which is where he met his wife, Zelda. But woodworking is in his blood. And once he retired, he developed a love of woodturning.

“I’d always wanted a lathe but never would spend the money to get it,” he says. “About 10 years ago, my wife got tired of hearing me talk about it and bought me a little one to play with.”

Mike enjoyed his first lathe enough that he got a little bigger one. And he found that he was pretty good at creating functional art. While he may have something in mind when he begins a project, ultimately, he lets the wood become what the wood wants to be.

“I’ll put something on the lathe and start turning it. It might start out as a bowl and turn into a vase. It depends on what the wood will let me do.”

Mike started out working with oak and then ventured into magnolia, pecan, and black walnut. “Whatever tree I found, I would cut it open and see if I could make something out of it.”

Mike has been known to take on a construction job here or there, but when he isn’t helping a friend or playing with his grandkids, you can find him out back in his metal shed, turning wood into something beautiful.

Mike’s work will be featured at the 52nd Kentuck Festival of the Arts Oct. 14-15 in Northport, Alabama.

About the Kentuck Festival of the Arts
Kentuck has a rich 52-year history as a nationally known crossroads of creativity and community. The two-day festival has its roots in folk art and features more than 270 artists, live music, spoken word, activities for children, folk and contemporary craft demonstrations, food trucks, and local craft brews.

Featured in numerous publications, Kentuck Festival of the Arts was most recently recognized by Alabama Department of Tourism as one of the top-ten events to attend in Alabama in 2018 and by Alabama Magazine as one of the “Best of Bama 2022.”

Kentuck has also been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, Southern Living, American Style Magazine, and National Geographic Traveler. In 2018, the Festival was named fifth in the nation (based on artists’ self-reported sales) in the category of Classic and Contemporary Craft Shows by Sunshine Artists Magazine.