By Kathy Collins

Charlie Hufstetler of Lithia creates beautiful and stunning works of art from wood. Hufstetler’s craft is known as “intarsia,” a woodworking technique that uses various sizes, shapes and kinds of wood that are fitted together to create a mosaic-like picture. Each piece of wood is carefully chosen and shaped and then fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle. The technique gives an illusion of depth in each piece.

Hufstetler uses no paint or stain. All of the color variations in his pieces are created by the different kinds of wood, both common and exotic, that are used. Hufstetler uses woods found all over the world including Zebra Wood, an African hardwood; Purple Heart, a wood from Central and South America; and Wenge, a wood from West Africa.

Hufstetler will have his second solo exhibition at Center Place during the month of August. Hufstetler will show approximately 40 pieces, all of which will be available for purchase. Each piece will contain information telling the viewer the name of the piece, the type of wood used, the number of pieces of wood and the country of origin of the wood. Hufstetler is also available to do commission work.

“I enjoy doing this. It keeps me busy,” said Hufstetler, who is self-taught.

Last year he took his first class in Tennessee. He attended a three day class where he made a piece called “sleeping cat.”

“I want people to know that you don’t have to be a formally trained artist to enjoy a hobby and become an artist,” added Hufstetler.

Hufstetler’s pieces are beautiful and interesting. Certain pieces look like they have texture and depth, and some look like they are made from materials other than wood. However, upon closer inspection, you can clearly see that it is in fact made from 100 percent wood. Each piece is lovingly shaped and fitted together. Hufstetler’s pieces can take any where from 10 hours to 100 hours to complete.

While the Center Place exhibition is his second solo show, Hufstetler has shown pieces at the Florida State Fair where he won two ribbons and at the Annual Winthrop Festival of the Arts in Riverview.

An Artist’s Reception is set for Thursday, August 13 from 5:30-7 p.m. at Center Place located at 619 Vonderburg Dr. in Brandon.

For more information on Hufstetler’s artwork, contact him at 598-4662 or 653-2403.

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