There’s something infinitely fascinating about using a handful of tools to transform a few sticks into something beautiful that no one’s ever seen before. And when people react emotionally to what you’ve created, it’s as thrilling and gratifying as making a thousand people laugh–which, as it turns out, I know something about as well. As a professional comedian and speaker for many years, I’ve appeared in quite a few well- known American TV shows,* and (when not quarantined in lockdown) I fly all over the country performing. But as soon as I get home from the airport and reconnect with my dear, supportive wife Teri,** I head to the shop to “make sawdust.”
Near our home in Louisville, KY, I discovered a place on the Ohio River that changed my life. The driftwood that washes ashore there by the ton provides more material and inspiration than I could transform into art in ten lifetimes. Some people like to turn driftwood into recognizable effigies–cars, people, animals. But the river sculpts and burnishes wood more beautifully than any craftsman ever could. My passion is giving that wood voice. Mostly, it says, “Look how exquisite I already am.”
Recently, an 1840’s barn at a friend’s country retreat an hour south of Louisville collapsed in a thunderstorm. Knowing of my fascination with old wood, she invited me to salvage whatever I wanted. The first time I sawed into a super gnarly, age-ravaged beam to reveal beautiful, dark, buttery walnut, I was hooked and have been working with it ever since. See some examples on the Rustic Furnishings page.
* Visit www.mackdryden.com for that story
**Teri is a very accomplished artist whose work hangs in many impressive places: www.teridryden.com