Walt's Look Around: Bob Catlett - Wood artist - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Bob Catlett - Wood artist

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CLINTON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Bob Catlett gets to spend about as much or as little time as he wants to out in his wood working shop, creating anything from small, hand-held sculptures to large wall hangings.

"(I make) A little bit of everything," said Catlett. "I make dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbird arrangements, cattail arrangements, flower arrangements."   

But he started off making walking sticks. And making them more for protection than for art. He got his "bite" to become a wood artist in a very literal way.  

"My brother and I were wandering, walking down the street getting our exercise and out of the blue a small dog bit me," explained Catlett. "And that really upset me. And when I went back to work the next day, I went out in the woods to hunt up me a tree to cut some walking sticks out of. And I made some walking sticks and it happened to be a bodock (horse apple) tree. And the wood was drop-dead beautiful. And I fell in love with it and I started making walking sticks. And people called and were asking about walking sticks. And then I started doing the artwork and that's how it started."  

Bob seems pretty comfortable trying to make most anything. He has an eye for seeing what's in the wood already and carving it out. The wood suggests what is hidden inside the first time Bob looks at it.  

"Yes, I call it treasure hunting," said Catlett. "And if you look around at some pieces I picked up, people will look at the piece when I bring it to my house and ask, ‘What's that piece of junk?' And I say, ‘You don't see what I see. That's a beautiful piece of wood and I see some things in that that I can make some really pretty things from.' "  

Bob Catlett has been invited to church groups to demonstrate his woodworking and show his pieces. And I'm sure that a popular part of his address is how oftentimes there is a beautiful piece of work hiding in a rough piece of wood. We all need to hear that.  

That, and the way he got started doing what has become his life's avocation.

"I really believe the Lord sent that small dog to bite me to push that button," said Catlett.  

In other words, next time you get bit, quit hollering ‘ow' long enough to try to discover if the pain is leading somewhere. Could be!

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