107 West Church Street Jasper, Arkansas 870-446-5477
Jeff Weeden has been a Newton County resident over 40 years and a lathe worker all his life. He specializes in large bowls turned from native hardwoods like walnut, cherry, white oak, locust, and spalted light colored wood such as beech and maple. He has 5 lathes in his Smith Mountain shop, 3 of which are homemade, capable of handling pieces weighing hundreds of pounds. After pre-turning and seasoning a bowl for years, he mounts it back on the lathe to finish, if the moisture content is low enough, and there aren't too many defects. The wood tells him what it wants to be, with many of the shapes inspired by Southwest Indian Pueblo pottery. Jeff also carves figures like fish, snakes, and dinosaurs onto the sides of his bowls. He has carved several odd shaped burl bowls and oblong bread dough vessels. He also has experimented with green turning, letting the wet thing walled bowls warp naturally overnight, hopefully avoiding any cracking. Smaller utilitarian items include treenware, kitchen utensils, cutting boards, lamps, bud vases, trays, etc.
Mr. Weedens' work has been featured at the Arkansas Art Center for many years, and he was one of 50 Arkansas artists invited to the Presidential Pavilion at the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library.
Jeff Weeden started the Arkansas Blues Connection in 1983, which became the first chapter of the National Blues Foundation. The ABC won the W.C. Handy Award in 1987 for Blues Society of the Year. Jeff was the emcee of the weekly blues jam and most of the largest blues festivals every held in Little Rock. He wrote dozens of articles for Nightflying Entertainment Guide, and was a KABF jazz and blues DJ for 15 years. He's been inducted into the Arkansas Blues Hall of Fame, and still maintains a blues band with 3 albums to their credit, on the Pool Room Music label.
Physical problems and a tornado have shrunk the garden, but he was the largest seller of produce as the Jasper Farmer's Market for years and a dependable plumber/handyman in Newton County. He donated his services to the Headwater and Western Grove schools, where a huge Sassafras Ola in on display.
Jeff's woodwork can now be seen exclusively at the Nelms Gallery, 107 W. Church Street in Jasper, AR. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> or make an appointment to see the lathe shop on Smith Mountain by calling 870-428-5537.