Wayne Baise, who currently lives in the Jamestown area, has been working with wood nearly his entire life. That work has included a stint as a wood shop instructor at the OS&SO Home in Xenia plus many years as a local contractor. He credits his interests to church activities and family influence.
Baise explained, “I got my start in woodworking at vacation bible school with popsicle sticks. It intrigued me putting the pieces together. My Dad was a pretty crafty fellow. I learned an awful lot from him. My older brothers were good at the work they did so I also learned from them. I worked at NCR for a period and left there in 1969. I was in the remodeling and construction business since that time. Now my work is mostly tinkering in the shop.”
What he refers to as tinkering is a labor of love taking a picture or photograph and creating a work of art through wood. The pictures are often very intricate detail work. He is basically making and assembling his version of a jigsaw puzzle. They are truly a mosaic of colors through wood to bring a picture to life. He gets ideas and inspiration from what many might consider everyday photos and pictures.
Baise adds, “I can get inspiration from almost any picture. I like about anything that will catch my eye. I really enjoy the biblical and patriotic scenes. Recently I’ve gotten into the Saturday Evening Post covers. I am going to the Rockwell Museum to look around. I will take one of the pictures to show them.” Hopefully they will appreciate his efforts. He has previously met the owner of the Saturday Evening Post.
Sometimes he works from plans noting, “Some of the plans I have give suggestions on what wood to use. I don’t always have that wood available so I have to substitute and improvise.”
What he calls improvising is based on years of working knowledge selecting the wood with the proper hues to bring out the colors and shading of the work. In addition to the artistry required to layout the picture, he must have an understanding of all the woods available to naturally get the proper colors to both blend the shadows and bring out the main colors. One picture will require many different kinds of woods. That requires an extensive knowledge of wood plus the eye of the artist. Also, if there is lettering or special emblems required for the piece, such as with the Saturday Evening Post covers, he must also cut them. Of course his shop includes a variety of tools with which to perform the required scroll and detail work.
Baise said, “Matching the woods for the color and shading is sometimes a challenge. The main robe on the Jesus Knocking on the Door picture is blood wood. The hair is Winge wood which is from West Africa. I use the natural wood color to get the desired results and not a stain. The red on the socks in the Saturday Evening Post picture is also a natural color. Sometimes the background is colored on some pictures. I used 17 different woods in a picture of the Last Supper. I normally use a lacquer or polyurethane sealer.”
When I asked where he gets all his wood, Baise’s sense of humor showed as he answered, “Out of trees.” He continued, “When I have to find a special wood I often go to Keim Lumber Company in Holmes County. I also have a lot of local contacts. There are a lot of sources available.”
Baise, who is very humble about any special recognition, recently received awards for his work at the Dayton Carvers Guild 35th Annual Artistry in Wood Show. He took home the First Place Wood Working and Best in Category for his rendition of a Saturday Evening Post cover. He also received Second Place for another Saturday Evening Post cover. Additionally there was an Honorable Mention for the Jesus Knocking on the Door work.
The Dayton Carvers Guild describes the show as a celebration of wood carving and woodworking art. It’s believed to be the largest show of its kind in the U.S. For the last several years attendance has broken 5,000 with over 225 exhibitors and vendors. The various carvers, woodworkers and artists show their work and compete for the awards. Many also have their works for sale.
All this intricate work requires detail and a commitment of time.
He added, ” I don’t track my time because this is for my personal satisfaction and to keep me busy. I normally stay focused on the picture I’m working with until it is done. I enjoy what I’m doing a awful lot.” Baise and his art work can be seen around the Greene County area including upcoming Greene Memorial Hospital and Wicklines Florist Christmas Open House events.
Larry S. Moore is a local resident and long-time outdoor columnist.