South Florida

Artist Turns Hurricane Irma Debris Into Art

It’s been a couple of months, but it’s still fresh in the minds of many: Hurricane Irma and the devastation it left behind.

There were down trees lining the streets all across South Florida for weeks.

One woman has taken that trash and turned it into a treasure.

“On a Saturday, we went out to the local properties here and we picked up big chunks of wood and bought a man so everybody’s been using that,” said Laura Baker, a woodturner.

Laura Baker is a woodturner. It’s a hobby she picked up at Gold Coast Woodturners in Southwest Ranches.

“It’s definitely therapeutic,” said Baker. “I think people come out here and work and look at it as a way to kind of get away from everyday life. For me, it’s the creativity. I just love to come in with something that’s so raw, and come out with something that’s really amazing.”

After learning in just a short amount of time, she’s able to turn tree trunks into vases, bowls and other pieces of art. But the process is very extensive.

Once you cut the wood, and work with it, you have to turn it and hollow it out. Once that’s done, it has to be sanded.

“It’s not hard. It’s like everything else in life. It’s hard until you learn how to do it,” said Ron Purnell of Gold Coast Woodturners.

For Baker, turning a piece of wood that was once considered part of a natural disaster into something beautiful and artistic means a lot.

“The fact that we can take some of the ones that came down and make something out of them is pretty incredible,” said Baker.

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