Kurt Huntley received his first woodburning kit from his grandmother for his 8th Christmas, but the story didn’t have a happy ending. When Kurt burned his twin’s ear with the woodburner, his kit was confiscated by the grownups.
Over a decade later, a trip to Gatlinburg renewed Kurt’s interest in woodburning, thanks to an artist he met there who mentored him for several years. And looking at Mr. Woodburner’s incredible art is enough to make us want a mentor from Gatlinburg ourselves.
Mr. Woodburner is a family affair. Kurt and his wife, Robin, do the work–making and selling and traveling to shows–but their youngest son is where they go for inspiration. “He’s a nerd’s nerd,” Robin tells us, “and has some great ideas that often become the subjects of our next pieces.”
The Huntley’s also get ideas from clients, such as photographs, or from something they see in nature or on TV. They pencil the image onto a blank piece of wood and then burn it. Sounds easy until you look at the prodigious skill involved.
For the Huntley’s, the best thing about this business is that Robin gets to work from home. The worst?
They haven’t discovered one yet. Yeah, small business rocks.
Robin says, “When the tent is up and the set up work is done, hanging out with the family during a show has drawn us closer together. There’s something about being inside the tent that causes cell phones to be looked at less often and our focus to be on each other.”
The number one reason for family business, friends.
The Huntleys have found that their hymn signs tend to be customer favorites. “We think it evokes good memories from years ago and simpler times.” However, the Huntleys themselves best enjoy the signs that make people pause, laugh, and share with someone else.
We have been guilty of that in their booth, for sure.
Not only are all the items in their booth for sale, but Mr. Woodburner also does custom work. If you share a photo with them, they can usually turn it into art.
You can follow Mr. Woodburner on Facebook, but make sure you come out the Lock & Dam Historical Park on October 6 and support them at the Market.
See you there!