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Meet Handcrafted America’s Artisan Allen Cady, Singing Tree

Allen Cady, Singing Tree

Allen Cady started working with wood when he was a teenager. In the 1970s, he applied his knowledge to restoring antique and classic watercraft where he learned about the characteristics of wood and the subtleties of its form and function.

After decades of boatbuilding, Allen decided to change course. Today, he applies his experience and expertise to creating original antique reproductions—from bread and cheese boards to walking sticks to furniture, and the stunning luminaria featured on Handcrafted America. Mostly, He uses reclaimed, lumber from trees that have been around for centuries.

When creating a new piece, Allen takes his inspiration from nature and allows the wood to inform what object it will become.

Meet Allen…

What drew you to your chosen craft?

I am a boatbuilder by trade and always was intrigued by the intimate relationship between form and function in well designed and built watercraft. This appreciation of these elements carried over into the making of other unique yet practical wooden creations that I make. The blending of these elements in just the right proportions can evoke a feeling in the user of these items that machine made manufactured goods cannot approach. It is this quality which makes the artisan of his craft of value to society in a world of ever increasing insensitivity to the sublime.

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

I most enjoy the sense of magic which can appear in the creative process. It is a delightful sense of not quite knowing what will come next as unknown qualities of feeling in both the creator and that which is being created somehow appear. It is an invitation to be here and now, in the present moment, and to become immersed in a process of discovery.

Why is it important for people to make things with their own hands?

One need not look very far to see how we as individuals and as a society are becoming more like the machines that have come to dominate our lives. Sadly, it seems we have forgotten very essential elements of our essential nature. When one makes something with one’s hands it involves an intelligence of the body that we seldom remember exists and we largely take for granted. It engages more of the whole of oneself in that one’s mind and heart can be engaged in a process in sympathy with each other. One can come away from engaging in such a process with an inner sense of harmony that is rewarding in many ways.


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