Richard Scarborough | Woodworking

Richard Scarborough wears many hats.  He is not only co-founder at Artisans on Main but is also an incredible wood sculptor, woodturner and furniture maker.  We are delighted to be showcasing his many works throughout the season and we invite you to come say hello!  We caught up with Richard to ask him some questions about his process, his work and what he loves best about living in WNC..


Your woodwork has many functional purposes, from decorative bowls and art pieces to large hangings, tables, lamps and chairs.  Can you briefly describe your process, where you find your inspiration and how you decide what to do next?

I lived in Southern CA for 30 years and collected  local woods which I milled and later brought to NC two years ago.  I also collected and sculpted many root balls as I loved the intricacy of their burls and figures. It is the figure in the wood that largely determines the final use and design.  The “gnarlier” the better. Straight grained wood is not my preference for projects.

Wood Art at Artisans on Main

As you “let the wood lead the design” what is the biggest challenge using root balls?  Also, what are root balls?

Some trees create large tap roots which go straight down into the earth. Others  create more of a round burl beneath the trunk which can be highly figured and of a very different character of what lies above.  For some trees is is a way of storing energy and a way for the tree to replicate itself when the tree above dies, or is destroyed by fire. Root balls will often have inclusions of soil, rock and other debris which makes it a challenge to clean up and work with without destroying your tools.

Wood Art at Artisans on Main

As a founding member of Artisans on Main, can you describe the current creative art scene in Weaverville, what art lovers can expect, and how it compares to other cities you’ve lived in or visited?

Weaverville is out of the main tourist flow of Asheville but still attracts an appreciative audience.  With so many galleries throughout the area Artisans On Main still receives so many “this is my favorite gallery” comments. It is unique for its warmth, friendliness, good smells and diversity.

Wood Furniture at Artisans on Main

What do you love the most about living and working in Weaverville and WNC?

I moved here two years ago from the LA area for retirement and ended up with two horse barns on the property. These have become my wood  and my welding/blacksmithing shops. We have the largest woodturning club here in the country and  a host of talented woodworkers in all areas. We also have a lot of wood.

Wall Art at Artisans on Main

What new projects or methods are you currently exploring?

Integrating wood, metal and lighting into my projects is the next big advance. Having worked with advanced composite in aviation, I will also be doing more “river tables” where the center of  a wood table will have a colored resin stream.

Wood Table at Artisans on Main