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Born and raised in the south, Shawn Weathers grew up with an acute appreciation of nature. He was drawn to gardening and wildlife, especially birds. As a songbird admirer, he faced a dilemma. How could he display exotic birds throughout his garden in a unique, elegant and distinguishing way? A former furniture designer, now making a living as a landscape designer, he drew on all his artistic and craftsmen skills to design and build custom aviaries. And a new business was born!
Have you always worked with your hands?
Yes, I have since the early age of 10 or 11, my father was a carpenter. I spent many summers working for him and learning different skills in woodworking.
What drew you to your craft?
My love for birds from a very early age. I was fascinated by flight and the beautiful colors in their plumage, and the beautiful songs they sing.
What do you enjoy most about your craft?
What I enjoy most is seeing the reaction that my customer gets each and every day from the joy of having this beautiful Aviary filled with beautiful birds in their home or garden. Something very unique just for them.
Do you feel like you’re still learning?
Absolutely, I feel like I’m learning each and every day and I’m excited to learn more and more always. I want to better myself and my craft to get better ending results each time. To push the boundaries and limits, create something more spectacular each time.
How many hours do you spend making each item?
Most of my Aviaries take about a week to create and that is 8 hour days for 5 to 7 days. Larger aviaries take two and a half weeks.
What does the future hold for your type of work? Are you training young people in your craft?
I’m hoping that the future holds for my craft is to design Aviary on a larger scale for private collectors such as Hugh Hefner and zoos across the world. And, unfortunately, I have not run into another person who is interested in learning this craft. Many people appreciate it, and love it, but I have not found someone to teach and carry it forward. I’m hopeful that someday soon I will run into someone that shares the same passion for it as I do.
In what ways are handmade goods better than those mass produced?
Handmade goods will always be better than mass produced goods for many reasons. First of all, heart and soul go into handmade goods. Everything I create is a small piece of me and my talent vision. Details in my work are the most important of all. I think detail makes or breaks the entire outcome of the creation. When something is not correct, I do it again until it is perfect. Second of all, handmade goods will always outlast anything mass produced. The quality of work can never be duplicated by a machine, and third, handmade goods are a part of our history. American made products, especially; it’s where I came from, my roots, the pieces of my heritage, and my father’s legacy carrying on to my generation, and hopefully the next.