Artesania Worldwide partners with A.J. West Wood Art

In August 2016, Artesania Worldwide partnered with A.J. West, one of our family of artists specializing in wood art in Homestead, Florida.  A professional educator by trade, A.J. has a lifelong appreciation of the natural beauty of wood, and has taken to wood turning upon completion of a highly successful career as an educator.  At first, he was so fascinated with the grain and colors that it didn’t matter to him what he turned.  He just enjoyed the moment.

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As explained by A.J., “After six years I strive to do justice to the art of turning.  Each piece is a challenge and a personal expression of what I see in the wood.”  Southern Florida is an excellent place for exploring wood and wood turning.  A large community of wood turners and a large supply of native and exotic hardwoods give ample opportunity for artistic expression, including incorporating sustainable materials and practices.


Rather than running wood through a chipper or sending it to the landfill, an informal network of tree trimmers, homeowners and other interested parties regularly set aside valuable pieces of wood for wood turners and other artisans.  This wood includes species like Cuban mahogany (Swietenia mahogani), native to South Florida and widely planted as a landscape tree, wild-tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum), also native to South Florida, and many others.  Cuban mahogany, also known as West Indian mahogany in South Florida, is very rare in the wild being listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and protected by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Flora and Fauna).  Other woods used for wood turning in South Florida include exotic landscape trees and even invasive species that are being cut down as part of ecological restoration projects.


This rescuing, salvaging, repurposing and sharing of exotic and native woods, is a fundamental part of the culture of wood turning in South Florida, and an important component of sustainability that can be mainstreamed in a positive and artistic way.

We hope you enjoy some of A.J.’s work, some of which we are fortunate enough to offer at our e-commerce store.

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Above – bowl made from native wild-tamarind (Lysiloma latisiliquum), common in the Homestead, Florida area.

Below – vase made from the exotic landscape shrub weeping bottlebrush (Melaleuca viminalis), endemic to Australia but now grown in tropical and subtropical areas around the world.

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