By Kathy L. Collins
Jim and Roxanne Tobaison of Brandon repurpose rare, exotic and beautiful woods into pieces of jewelry, buttons and home decor items. The couple, married for 40 years, compliment one another in this venture. Jim finds the wood and designs the pieces. Roxanne does the finishing and marketing. This is their first business venture together. Roxanne said, “This has been very rewarding for both of us to work together. We use each other’s talents to determine what looks best.”
Jim started collecting the woods several years ago. “From the very first woods obtained, he was captivated by the beauty of each piece. The uniqueness of each piece dictates the product that is made,” said Roxanne. The wood collected includes Curly KOA from Hawaii, Black and White Ebony from Southeast Asia, Afzelia Bull from Africa, Spalted Hackberry, Spalted Tamarind from Southeast Asia, Amboyna Burl and Kamphi Rosewood from the United States.
Roxanne said, “There seems to be a trend toward natural, repurposed and eco friendly products. We thought this would be a great time to make exotic wood jewelry and other items.”
“There is quite a process used in determining what different woods will do. We have studied how the different woods are finished. We want to be sure that the finished product is at its maximum beauty,” said Roxanne. “What works for one type of wood will not necessarily work for another. The woods have different hardness and textures which are unique. Jim studies each piece to find the best design.”
All of the woods have natural designs and colors. No dyes or colors are added. Roxanne said, “Recently after studying a Black and White Ebony, we found a wood grain that looked like a dancing lady. After cutting a slice, the design disappeared. This truly is a one-of-a-kind design created by God. This type of thing happens again and again.”
“In addition to the dancing lady, we have a Black and White Ebony orchid. Both were made into pendants,” said Roxanne. For more information, visit www.exoticwoodjewelryand.etsy.com.