The Maker: Laurens Cotten
Solid. Laurens Cotten’s work stands the test of time and when you look around his home, his creativity abounds. Wild at Heart Wood clearly has its origins here.
Tables, chairs, shelves, boxes and other household items Cotten fashioned from wood are easily spotted in the great room. It brings an eclectic, open and airy feel to his awe-inspiring Bluff Park home, which he shares with his wife, dog and three cats.
Their living space and his adjoining wood-working garage sits on a ridge overlooking the city of Homewood and, as you can imagine, great views are provided thanks to large ceiling-to-floor windows.
Being the Maker that he is, Cotten spent considerable time adding personal touches to his property. He applies that same creativity and thoroughness to the unique wood pieces he creates for his customers — items as large as chests and end tables and as small as wooden storage boxes.
He’s ready to meet demand and has created pieces for customers all over the world. His work space, humorously known as “the doghouse,” is filled to capacity with wood that he’s collected over several years. He’s purchased pieces in varieties such as walnut, cherry, pecan and maple. The wood is from trees which have either been blown over in storms or lost through natural attrition and can’t be purchased at a lumber yard.
He stacks and spaces the wood in an orderly fashion, which allows it to dry. The general rule is that it takes one year per inch of wood to dry outside before it can be used so, as you might imagine, it takes several years for most of the wood to dry. But once dried, he can begin to create works of art.
Cotten is a retired educator, putting to work the same skills that he taught students for years. And thanks to his wife’s marketing skills, he has shops set up online. Wild at Heart Wood features an Etsy shop and is available for purchase from Amazon online.
In addition, he does several markets and art shows each year. One in particular that he’s excited about is the Bluff Park Art Show, which he attended as a young boy and he will now participate in as a vendor. Talk about life coming around full circle.
“Each piece of wood is unique and has its own story to tell,” said Cotten. “My instructions were to use up every piece of wood in my shop before I die, and I’m working on that.”
Wild at Heart Wood
The product: Tables, boxes, urns and other wood items for your household.
Take home: Small, hand-crafted wooden table box ($175)