TELLICO PLAINS (WATE) - It's woodworking like many have never seen before.
At Tellico Turnings in Monroe County, one local wood-turning artist is turning out some incredible and functional pieces for your home, all made out of local wood.
Tucked away in a small, makeshift studio in Tellico Plains, Chuck Ellis is spending his retirement years doing something that he loves - turning chunks of raw wood into art through a process called wood turning.
Ellis uses several different tools to help him carve out the center and shape the exterior of the bowl.
He uses a lathe to turn the wood as he crafts a shape, much like a potter does with clay.
Another advantage of woodturning? It's not about measurements like traditional carpentry. You might says it's a bit more forgiving and helps spur on his creativity.
Nowadays, Ellis is making wine stoppers, bowls, lanterns, wine glasses, pepper mills and much more, all of it finished with several coats of polyurethane, making each piece quite durable.
"They are food safe you can use them as a food bowl," he said. "I don't recommend it as a hot food bowl. Use them as salad bowl, peanuts and popcorn, things like that."
As for the wood for his projects, like one eye-catching spalted hackberry, Ellis says it's really not hard to come by. In fact, he says friends and neighbors are more than happy to help out.
"They will call me up and they will say, 'I have a tree down. You want it?' I say it translates to, 'Come clean up my yard,' but I do!"
You can find his work online at the Tellico Turnings Etsy site and at the farmer's market.