By Frank Lewis
Is there anything that fits more within the realm of the Western scenario and hand-crafted wood art? Probably not. But if you thought woodcraft was a lost art, you really need look no further than right here in Scioto County.
Tom Hayslip from Rosemount is a woodcraft artist and while he creates a lot of different types of art, it only takes a short glance at his display table at the Roy Rogers Festival to see his specialty is Intarsia. The technique of intarsia inlays sections of wood, at times with contrasting ivory or bone, or mother-of-pearl. Each segment of the project is cut separately and placed together like a puzzle.
“Each piece I saw out,” Hayslip said. “The I fit them together. I’ll sand and make sure it will fit good – as good as I can get them. Then I glue them all together and then I put them on a board for support.”
Make no mistake about it – Hayslip is not getting rich.
“It’s just a hobby,” Hayslip said. “I just work from prints. I do make for family and all – I make something off the top of my head but that’s about all that I do. I’m trying to keep this as a hobby. If I start doing too much, then it’s going to start being a job and I’ve already had a job all my life.”
While he will most likely never make what his work is worth because he pours his heart and soul into it, his art is for sale.
“I sell it so I can buy more material,” Hayslip said. “When I first started the finish I used was $1.95 for a spray can. Now it’s up to almost $4 a can.” He said he goes to a couple of events each year including the Sorghum Festival and the Roy Rogers Festival and otherwise sells out of his house.
In addition to Intarsia which includes western themes such as horses and turkeys, as well as other collectible items like Jesus carrying his cross, Hayslip creates plaques with images and messages.
Hayslip began dabbling in woodcraft about 14 years ago.
“I just always liked to work in wood,” Hayslip said. “My father owned a timber business and I was always around wood. About two years before I retired from the railroad I decided I had to find something to do and I had this little saw, so I started messing with it and this is what came out of it.”
Hayslip said he does not mass produce anything. Each piece has its own individual design for a reason – “so I don’t get bored.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis
Tom Hayslip holds an example of his woodcraft Intarsia work. His art is on display this weekend at the Roy Rogers Festival in Portsmouth.