Walking into the former engine bays of the old Moneta Fire Station, you'll find them transformed into a woodworkers wonderland. Stacks of moulding, logs, blocks...carving implements by the boxful...and in the middle of it all, the workstation of artisan Jay Maxfield.
Having set up shop in his current location 11 years ago, Appalachian Images and Framing is his bread and butter. His foray into the world of framing began somewhat out of necessity. After a round of layoffs at RR Donnelly (his longtime employer) Jay found himself suddenly without a job. Being an avid outdoorsman and also enjoying the art of photography, he combined the two and started selling his beautiful images of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding area.
Not being able to find frames that exactly fit the look and feel he was going for to compliment his photos, he started playing around with making them himself, and a business was born! Adding the art of mat cutting to his skill-set, he was then able to offer customers a full service custom frame shop. He prides himself on both his craftsmanship and fair pricing. Since he has the eye of an artist, he can also offer suggestions for mat/frame combos that compliment their artwork if customers just aren't sure where to start. One unique genre he excels at is framing needlework - taking the extra time to stitch, not glue, the fabric to its backing.
Jay is also an accomplished self-taught woodcarver. He was bitten by the bug as a teen when a friend took him along to a trade show and he first took an interest in the hobby. He started whittling away whenever he had a spare moment and soon became proficient in all the different tricks and techniques of the trade. During a two year tour of duty in Germany with the Army Engineers he was inspired anew by the intricate carvings that were such a prominent part of the local culture and architecture.
He does stay quite busy with carving commissions - with everything from scores of the ubiquitous walking stick to a set of wooden teeth (which were meant as a joke) in his repertoire. Jay's masterpieces grace the homes of the rich and famous, but this humble artist enjoys each and every challenge he's presented with. A perpetual student, he's currently enjoying playing around with his latest addition: a new style of wood burning machine.
You could browse his creations for hours...old world Santas, smooth as silk kayaks, animal likenesses with amazing detail...each so unique.
To find out more about Appalachian Images and Framing as well as his carving commissions, feel free to contact Jay via Facebook.
This article originally appeared in The Current - a weekly local e-journal for the Smith Mountain Lake area.