Meet Handcrafted America’s Artisan Denny Carson, Bitterroot Nets

Denny Carson, Bitterroot Nets

In 2003, Denny’s dad had an idea. He wanted to open a franchise business in Spokane, but not your typical fast food restaurant, cleaning service or fitness center. He was thinking wood. Intrigued, Denny joined his enterprise as the storefront manager of a Woodcraft franchise, and also taught and studied woodworking in the store’s classroom.

When David Marks, host of the show WoodWorks came to teach a class in Bent Lamination, Denny got the inspiration to create landing nets. In that moment, Denny discovered he could combine his love of woodworking and his passion for the great outdoors, in particular, fly fishing.

Meet Denny…

What drew you to your chosen craft?

What drew me to my chosen craft was/is my love for figured and burled wood. I am constantly astounded by the beauty of the wood. Opening up an unassuming piece of burl and not knowing what beautiful colors and patterns are locked inside. When I process wood, I am the first person who gets to see the gift inside. That inspires me to find a way to showcase this insane beauty and present it to the rest of the world. Each piece of burl is so different that I’m not sure what I’ll be making until I see what is inside. This is a large part of why I love what I do. Some people nerd out over electronics, cars, etc. I nerd out over burled wood. Whenever I get a new shipment in, it’s like Christmas.   

What do you enjoy most about your craft?

There is an intrinsic need for me to create things. I believe that we all have something within us that we need to do. I need to create with wood. Like artists need paint, brushes, a canvas, I need a piece of burl, a few tools, and my hands. I find that when people can make things with their hands, they have the ability to find their truth. That which grounds us all to that what created us to begin with.  

In what ways are handmade goods better than those that are mass produced?

I think if you were to ask anyone who makes things with their hands, they would say that hands down, handmade goods are better than those that are massed produced. Why are handcrafted goods better than mass-produced is a far more complex question. When I am making my nets, boxes, a desk for my kids, a dresser for my wife, I leave part of myself behind in each one. There is an emotional connection I make with each piece of wood or burl I work with. There is life breathed into each handmade item made from artists across continents. That connects us to the earth, to each other. Mass-produced items have no soul. No connection to humanity. Years from now when I’m not making nets anymore. My nets will continue to speak my truth.  

What does the future hold for your type of work?

Handcrafted goods will always have a place in my heart and in my life.  As long as people like me seek their truth and connect with nature’s bounty, my type of work will always have a place. Now, more than ever.  My family and I are ever mindful that directions can change, but for now all signs are showing us we are going where we were directed to go.  


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