Material-Centric {WoodWork at 17th}

As Austin Evers walks into Hops and Grain, you at once know that he is the man who crafted the sleek table tops and the well-used bar that fill the taproom—the resemblance between Evers and his furniture is unmistakable. Both are hewn with strong lines, but their large presences are softened by the manicured edges of a smooth, well-polished nature. In fact, it would not be remiss to say that they have both been crafted at the crossroads of elegance and functionality.

Words by Jessi Devenyns  Photos by Eric Morales

Listening to Evers speak, one would imagine that he has been a master woodworker for years. However, he is unexpectedly new to the business. “We’ve lived here for six years now,” he admits as he relates how he began working with wood at WoodWork at 17th when he moved to Austin. “We feel newish to Austin sometimes.”

New or not, Evers is a natural artist whose craftsmanship brings the understated symmetry out of untouched wood to create the focal point of any room.

Although he may not have the years of experience under his belt, he more than makes up for it with his unique approach. Instead of relying on seniority to recommend him, he says, “I know that what can set me apart though is really quality material that I don’t mind doing tons of homework on to pick an extremely beautiful piece.”

For him, the quality of the wood that he selects is the defining element of his projects. “I may have to be on a waiting list for it, I may have to talk to a lumber broker for it, but I can get, hopefully, a piece of walnut that is going to detract from any flaw I have as a woodworker,” he states humbly with a grin.

And the material does indeed speak for itself. As he sits down, he spreads his strong hands on top of one of his tables, subconsciously feeling the grooves and knots of the glossy wood. Even off duty, his hands speak of a man dedicated to his craft. Although impeccably clean, you can see the wood shavings dusting the underside of his fingernails, and there is a deep earthen scent about him that reminds you how deeply rooted in his work he is.

Unsurprisingly, his material-centric approach seems to be doing the trick. The life that Evers coaxes out of what most of us would label wood is unexpected. With simple hand tools and an eye for the beauty in the every day, Evers is steadily growing a following for his minimalistic designs.

“I’m attracted to straight lines, simple design, I let the material speak for itself,” he offers. When you see his work, this claim is clear to see. However, though his work speaks of simplicity, to Evers, furniture is more than working with beautiful slabs of wood. It is about creating art.

From the way he deftly answers questions about form and technique to the manner in which he assesses the feel of the wood beneath his hands, at WoodWork at 17th, furniture is more than just function. It is everyday art that should be enjoyed. So like Evers says, when it comes to furnishing your house, don’t just select pieces to hold your weight, instead, “Let’s make it matter.”


Native Knowledge: When he’s not pouring his heart and soul into his woodworking, you’ll find Evers pouring both into his community and neighbors. Austin is the teaching Pastor at an east Austin church plant that believes in local outreach, restoration, and relationships called The Church At East.

An open invitation is extended to visit his church and learn more about their involvement in the east side community. Sunday Services are held the first 3 Sundays of each month at: Imagine Art, 2830 Real St.,
Austin, TX. 78722. Learn more at churchateast.com


Contact:
woodwork17.com
woodworkat17th@gmail.com
woodworkat17th

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