Butch Corrington turns lowly mesquite into fine furniture
It's time for a new guest artist of the month at the Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery as the exhibition featuring Ananda Martine DiBenedetto's reflections on dreams and visions ended Wednesday, Aug. 26. Starting Friday, Aug. 28, September's Guest Artist of the Month is Butch Corrington, who will show off his custom handcrafted mesquite furniture.
In an email from Prescott Valley, artist Marjorie Claus, who is sponsoring Corrington, wrote the handcrafted mesquite furniture reflects Corrington's love and appreciation for the woods he came to know while a manager of Texas and California lumber yards.
"As the manager of lumber yards for 30 years, Corrington was exposed to all kinds of woods, and began creating, on the side, handcrafted furniture," Claus wrote. "In those days, Corrington worked mainly with pine, oak and poplar. He used mortise and tenon joinery for the framework of his furniture and dovetail joinery for the drawers."
Corrington retired from the lumber business and moved to Williams five years ago, where he was introduced to a cowboy/preacher who cut and milled mesquite wood into slabs of rough lumber, Claus said. Corrington had read about a blanket chest project using mesquite and wanted to make one himself. And so he drove to Wickenburg for it, Claus wrote.
Corrington began to be discouraged when seeing all the knots, splits and blemishes in the wood, but since he didn't want to leave empty-handed, he decided to give it a try, the email said. What he found was that those imperfections made pieces of custom mesquite furniture unique.
Corrington favors an oil-based clear rub as a finishing oil, Claus said.
"It looks like a warm honey contrasting nicely with the red color of the wood as it darkens with age," she wrote. "Mesquite is now Corrington's wood of choice and he has been working with it almost exclusively for the past five years."
Three common mesquite trees native to Arizona are the honey mesquite, the screwbean mesquite and the velvet mesquite, Claus said.
The velvet mesquite tree is the largest of the mesquite species and can be found in desert elevations below 4,000 to 5,000 feet, Claus noted. She called it a very hard wood and an exotic choice for unique custom furniture.
In the email, Corrington wrote of his love for the wood.
"Even though the wood requires a lot of work to stabilize so one can take advantage of the unique features and characteristics of the wood, the finished piece is so amazing that it is well worth all the effort involved," he said.
Corrington's custom mesquite furniture will be on display at the Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery, 134 S. Montezuma St., until Wednesday, Sept. 23.
An artist reception, which will include refreshments and music by Kiva Rain and a small ensemble of Generations Band, will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, during the Fourth Friday Art Walk.
- by Jason Wheeler. Follow him on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.