Chadds Ford Historical Society

Revisiting History

Chadds Ford Days Spotlight: WoodWhims

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This is our interview with Jack O’Brien.  He will be attending Chadds Ford Days this September 12th-13th and he will be bringing his craft, whimsical wooden folk art.  

Tell us a bit about yourself, where did you grow up, etc.?

I am from Baltimore originally, and I worked in Annapolis for a good number of years. I now live near Centerville, where we fixed up old farmhouse. The house was built around 1790-1820 and there were a lot of repairs to make, like a flooded basement. It is on 10 acres, with a nice pond, and it is currently surrounded by cornfields, which gives us a nice amount of privacy.

How did you end up in Chadds Ford Days, and how many years have you attended?

I’ve attended Chadds Ford Days for 18 years. It started back in the 80s and then I decided to take a break, which turned out to be for 10 years. But I have attended for the past 2 years and I’ll be there this fall. It really is a nice show, with a nice mood. It’s very pleasant.

What is your craft and how did you get started in it?

I make wooden folk art, which has been described as original and whimsical. They are all done by hand, so no two are alike. I do some similar styles but all are unique. My pieces can be identified at many museums and some are at the Chadds Ford Historical Society gift shop. My wooden folk art has also made it to 12 different countries and many states. I have a core of collectors, and do some commissioned pieces.

Do you use any local goods in your craft?

I use wood from both antique stores and from local wood.

What is it you want people to remember about your craft/how do you seek to inspire people?

I always like when my art makes people happy and when my customers smile at pieces. People say they can tell I have a good sense of humor from my pieces, and they tell me that my work has a lot of character. Very often I hear that I look like I enjoy what I do, and I do enjoy it greatly.

How do you seek to impact the community with your business?

The impact I feel I have on the community is to make people smile.

What in particular can we look forward to seeing at your booth this Chadds Ford Days?

I will have the usual selection, but there will be some variations there also. I am looking forward to being at Chadds Ford Days this fall.

Photo credit: Deny Howeth

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