Hampton artisan showcases woodwork, carvings

Exhibit on display at Hampton Train Depot

Tom Quick, of Hampton, showcases these wood cubes imbedded with small magnets, which demonstrate the science of magnetic force fields in this hand-carved wooden apparatus.

Tom Quick, of Hampton, showcases these wood cubes imbedded with small magnets, which demonstrate the science of magnetic force fields in this hand-carved wooden apparatus.

Hampton resident, Tom Quick, said he still uses an old-fashioned hand plane, to shave down the blocks of exotic wood he eventually shapes into functional pieces of art.

Some of those pieces, about three dozen of them, are on display at the Historic Hampton Museum, inside the Hampton Train Depot.

Quick, 67, has many hand-crafted pieces in his workshop at home — most created out of various types of wood, and some created from deer antlers.

His creations come in several different types of woods, including cedar, cherry, maple, and brown ebony. He uses a wood lathe to carve out symmetrical pieces like bowls and saucers. He said he tilts the lathe at an angle to create more intricate details.

“Woodworking is like any other craft,” said Quick. “It can be expensive. Wood is very expensive.”

Quick creates wooden toy boxes for friends during the holiday season, and has offered his talents, to some, in building cabinets, book shelves, and other pieces of furniture. He said he also makes whistles, lidded boxes, thimbles, and ink pens, from the varieties of exotic woods he collects.

He dreams up the artifacts and fabricates them in a small garage set up in his backyard. He said he collects the wood-shaving byproducts of his work, grinds the colorful assortment of kindling into sawdust to display in jars.

Quick said he has been involved in the art form for more than 30 years. However, he began to focus purely on woodworking after his 2002 retirement from the JCPenney Catalog Distribution center, in Forest Park. He worked primarily in carpentry in the facility’s maintenance department.

Even in his retirement, he continues to rise early. He said he awakens, with his wife of 12 years, Geneva. As she prepares for work, he heads out to his garage to begin half-a-day of crafts work.

“She encourages me,” he said. “A lot of the things I make, she wants to keep for herself.”

Quick said he continues the woodworking hobby to stay active, and productive, in retirement. The perk, he said, is that his hobby happens to be a lifelong passion.

“I’m the type of person that can’t just sit still,” he said. “I have to do something.”

While he cannot recall is first wood creation, he remembers using tools as a 12-year-old boy, to do carpentry work in the ways his grandfather taught him.

“We’d do good with a hammer and a hand saw, and a block, or something like that,” said Quick, who grew up in Griffin.

He said he was introduced to the broader application of woodworking in junior high school, in Griffin, taking “industrial arts” courses up to senior high school.

“It turned out to be a lifelong passion,” he said. “And it made me a real good living.”

Quick described his evolution as a woodworker, noting his acceptance of flaws while aiming toward perfection.

“A piece of wood is not necessarily going to cooperate with you, but a lot of times, you correct it, and fix it,” he explained. “I do strive for perfection. You hear a lot of people say, ‘well, that’s good enough.’ Good enough is substandard. And, I don’t do substandard work.”

Quick said there is room in woodworking for novice carvers, regardless of their skill and talent levels. “Kids have these modern-day electronic toys, and things like this don’t interest them,” said Quick, noting the absence of young faces at woodworking shows.

“[Whatever your skill level,] you can invest your time and money into it, and get satisfaction out of it,” he said. “You learn from your mistakes. The more you do, the better you get.”

His pieces range from half-inch-tall miniature vases he gives to friends, to the 7-foot-tall entertainment center cabinet he has in his home.

Quick plans to become a vendor, selling his wares at the upcoming Yellow Pollen Street Festival, in Hampton. He has been there the past three years.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I like to talk to people. I’ll sell a few items along the way.”

The festival is Saturday, March 17, from 10 a.m., until 5 p.m., according to Candy Franklin, Hampton’s Main Street Director.

Franklin said Quick’s interpretations of the age-old art of woodworking serve as an example of the lesser-known local talents in Hampton. “It’s awesome,” Franklin said. “Hopefully, it will bring people here. Eventually, I would like to showcase all of the artists here.”

Franklin said the artisan’s works likely will be on display at the Historic Hampton Museum through mid-March. The museum is located inside the Hampton Train Depot, at 17 E. Main St., in historic downtown Hampton.

The public can view Quick’s pieces on Thursdays, from 1 p.m., until 4:30 p.m., or by appointment. Call (770) 946-4306, to visit the museum.