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Art Talk

What Are You Working On Now?
Interviews With Local Artists

By Andi Bedsworth

In previous weeks, I have been privileged to speak with many talented artists in the area. This week I spoke with John Steele Davis to learn what he is working on now. He had a lot to say about his current projects.       
Davis was born in Calhoun County and spent most of his life between Bruce and Water Valley. He currently lives in the Valley and has been here since 2004. His most recent endeavor has been the remodeling of his house which he is hoping to open up as a gallery/studio showing his work and the art work of others.
He started the renovations in October and has been updating the front rooms which will serve as the public spaces of the house. His shop is in the basement of the house and is where he makes his finely crafted furniture for which he is known.  
Davis began making chairs in 1996 and even sold some of his first creations out of the back of his truck, like farmers sell their produce. Soon word got out, and now many people collect his unique furniture pieces. He always uses native woods that he gathers from Calhoun and Yalobusha counties.
He bends the wood with steam and shapes them into beautiful works of art that are also practical.  Davis is quick to state that his work “looks delicate, but it is made to sit in.” He loves the process as much as he enjoys showing off his furniture, and likes to deal with the public himself, which is one of the reasons he is working on getting his home studio ready for business.
He reports “people like to meet the artisans who make the handcrafted pieces they purchase.”
Davis is making furniture to display in his house and studio and loves working on new and interesting designs. A rocking chair made out of laminated sassafras is something he is concentrating on now and he says it will be “different than anything he has made before.”
As someone who admires his work and has for some time, I am looking forward to seeing this chair and for the opening of his studio, which he hopes will happen sometime this spring.

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