Saturday, May 12, 2012

Jan Dwyer Collectibles

 Jan Dwyer Collectibles

Handcrafted Exclusively in Catalpa Wood

This is my second post in a series featuring fellow artisans doing wonderful hand crafted designs.  Jan Dwyer of Jan Dwyer Collectibles, along with her husband Dean, design and carve the most fabulous decorative items from Catalpa wood.  Jan is a fellow artisan that I met a number of years ago at art and craft shows.  Jan and Dean both love designing and creating and it shows in every piece they create!  They have quite a variety of items from vases, animals, trees, lamps, Nativity sets, mirrors, flowers, leaves, and butterflies.  And they are adding new designs as we speak!

They start by actually cutting down Catalpa trees that need to be removed for various reasons.  After the wood dries they can start turning the catalpa wood into beautiful designs for home decor.  One of my favorite items are their vases.  I love the grain and bark on the vases. What beautiful examples of nature!  The vases are available in a lot of different sizes and shapes, so are perfect to use together in an arrangement.  In this closeup picture you can really see how the grain and bark are exposed and become the main feature of each vase. 
Closeup of Catalpa vases


Here is a great example of just one of their lamps.  All the lamps have some exposed grain along with intact bark on the column of the lamp.  The lamps also come in lots of different sizes.


 These two little creatures are just a couple examples of the many animals Jan and Dean carve out of Catalpa wood.  I think almost any animal you would want, they probably already have in their line of animals.  One of the most popular right now are their owl designs.  They even have several perched on actual tree branches.  So Cute!!

Their Story:
I have been in the crafting business for around 30 years!  I have done something creative my entire life!  My kindergarten teacher told my mother she thought I would be an artist!  Because of my husbands health issues he is not able to work long hours, but loves being in his wood shop, creating with  his hands.

We use only one type of tree, the catalpa.  Catalpa is a soft wood, therefore the bark shrinks with the wood when it dries and does not come off like most bark of other trees.  We use the bark side of the wood in most of our designs.  Catalpa has a beautiful grain and an interesting bark.  I draw most of the patterns and my husband, Dean, cuts them out on a band saw.  I then carve the pieces using a palm sander, spindle sander, and dremel tools.  Our finishing process includes some staining to bring out the grain, as well as 6 coats of finish which is brushed on over several days.  Dean makes all the lathe-turned pieces, such as lamps, vases, cone trees, etc.
 I am constantly thinking of new things to design, create and challenge us both!  I believe there isn't anything as satisfying as having someone admire and want to purchase something we have designed and created!  It is always fun to meet like-minded people at the art and craft shows as we travel around the country.

Fall Leaves

They also do very intricate work shown here in this plate of leaves made out of Catalpa.  What great fall decor just to have some scattered on a table. 

Cone Tree

The cone trees are turned on a lathe by Dean.  Jan then applies a stain to bring out the beauty of the grain which gives the tree its distinctive appearance.  No two are ever alike!  I love the moose too!  He looks pretty awesome! 

Had to include a picture of the owls!

If you want to get in touch with Jan Dwyer Collectibles their email address is: Or you can reach them by phone...641.369.2791.

Catalpa Tree





  1. I have quite a few pieces from Jan Dwyer Collectibles and am always amazed at the creativity shown when they come out with new pieces.


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