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Kirksville woodworker appreciates the natural edge
Stethoscope in hand, Kirksville cardiologist Charles Pritchard spends most days patching broken hearts, but when he has time to breathe, his hands set to turning a wood lathe.
“As a physician, you have some tough times dealing with patients,” Charles says. “It’s uplifting to be able to come home and create a thing of beauty. I’m a firm believer that hobbies like this prolong your life.”
Charles’s 20-year woodworking passion came from his dad, who worked with wood before he passed away. As a Best of Missouri Hands artisan, Charles continues his dad’s lifework and finds gratification in natural woods.
He appreciates the oddity in natural-edge pieces, which contain the bark and the outer portion of the tree and compose an unusual, interesting, and natural design. “Usually I buy that from out west—in Oregon and California—and the wood itself really possesses a top line of beauty,” Charles says. “So I take the kind of piece I have and try to match the artwork to bring out the beauty of the piece and to show off the wood as best I can. The wood itself kind of dictates what I’m going to do.”
Though inspired by the natural elements, Charles is also inspired by other artists. His favorite is the Australian wood-turner who trained him, Richard Raffan. “He’s inspired me to be a better woodturner and to make it not so much work,” Charles says. “The training that I got from Richard was always special to me.” Teaching him more than art, Richard passed on to Charles his respect and commitment to nature and renewable woods.
Some people dangerously over-cut areas of the world, Charles says, “so I try not to support those kinds of things.” We are over-cutting and burning the Amazon, Charles says passionately. “The more exotic the wood perhaps the more rare it is, but the more dangerous it is.”
Charles says that his pieces are pieces of nature that should be cherished. They are special because they are works of art before he touches them. He is in the business of displaying, preserving, and sharing nature’s beauty. “The piece has to fit into your life,” he says. His works are like puzzle pieces borrowed from nature and placed with the right person.
Call 660-665-1905 for more information.
By Lauren Foreman