By VICKI BROWN
Bart Conner of the locally-owned business, “Logs to Treasures,” says he was fortunate to be naturally talented with his hands. He creates masterpieces in wood and is becoming known around the Lowcountry for his craft.
Conner has lived in South Carolina his entire adult life. Originally from Rock Hill, he is a graduate of the USC Business School. He went on to work in the pulp and paper industry for 25 years. But Conner said he wasn’t satisfied, and he wanted to exercise his talent in woodworking.
His specialty is crafted bowls.
“I’ve made cabinets, built ins, beds, tables, laid hardwood flooring, ceramic tile and installed trim carpentry. I developed an interest in wood turning from watching YouTube videos one day,” said Conner. “This past January marked three years since I bought my first lathe, a machine with different cutting tools that rotates and turns wood for shaping,” he said.
“Wood working for me is “downtime” and almost therapeutic,” Conner said. “The complete concentration required to insert sharp metal tool into a piece of wood spinning 1000rpms silences every other thought in my head. It lets me escape from work problems and life problems. Wood turning is also so rewarding for me. Knowing I can take a chunk of wood destined for either rotor a fireplace and transition it into a usable piece of art, is elating. It is such a powerful feeling giving new life into dead or dying objects,” he added.
Conner recalls coming across a maple log on Facebook that was listed as firewood. The tree had fallen in a summer thunderstorm, and the homeowner just wanted it gone. “The tree had amazing figure and grain patterns to it. I was able to create some of the most incredible bowls,” he said. Conner has since turned hundreds of bowls and hollow pieces since he began crafting. Depending on its size, a bowl can take anywhere from one hour to six hours of actual “tool time” to complete, he said.
According to Conner, he mainly crafts twice-turned bowls, a method of turning freshly cut or fallen trees while they are wet. According to Conner, these bowls are rough shaped to remove material so they dry faster. Once dried, they are turned again to remove warpage, then sanded and finished. He is also currently coring bowls so that he can make multiple bowls from the same plank of wood. The bowls will be able to nest inside each other and will all have matching grain patterns.
“Ideally, I like to keep 50-100 bowls either finished or dry and awaiting final turning,” he said. The artist mainly works with walnut, maple and cherry, as those three woods are his favorite woods and are also the most desired woods. “I try to keep a good selection of all woods on hand; however, this past Christmas was really good to me. I completely sold every bowl I had in inventory, aside from the bowls I had in retail stores,” Conner said. “My favorite pieces are a few vases with turquoise stone inlay and epoxy resin inlay.”
Other than selling at the AHAB (Artists’ Hub of the Ace Basin) on Washington Street, he uses social media sites as a sales platform. All of Conner’s accounts are listed as ‘Logs to Treasures’ and can be found on Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok. His future plans are to make tutorial/instructional videos to help anyone learning to turn wood.