three art vessels by Joel Hunnicutt
art vessels by Joel Hunnicutt

Arida Arts Symposium


Arida Arts Symposium 2019

Friday, October 4, 2019

featuring Joel Hunnicutt, unique vessel wood turner


The Artist

Approximately twenty years ago Joel Hunnicutt signed up for a furniture making class at a community college. The idea was to learn how to make furniture for his home. As soon as he turned the pedestal for the table he was creating, he was hooked; not on furniture making, but on using the lathe. He instinctively knew what to do. It felt right. He realized he’d found something he could do, not as a job but as a creative outlet after work.

Hunnicutt did not have a background in working with wood or the tools used for woodturning. He was a business major in college. He worked in retail as a men’s wear buyer and then as a store manager. Wanting to spend more time at home with his family, he transitioned into working in the insurance business.  

“I had other hobbies that kept me busy, but then woodturning turned into the consuming hobby that I enjoyed more than anything else. Other hobbies fell by the wayside,” he said.

It wasn’t long before he realized that he was more interested in woodturning than selling insurance. He was spending as many hours in his studio as he was working his day job. He found himself selling his creations to interested buyers. He knew it was time to transition to working with wood full-time and leave the corporate world behind.

Hunnicutt spent the first few years experimenting with woodturning, creating the same things many others create – bowls, pens, candle holders, etc. – and soon found himself wanting to explore other avenues.

“I realized that I wanted to take my love of wood, give it the luminosity of glass while using the forms of ancient pottery. This led me to segmented wood turning. I cut many small segments of wood, assemble the pieces into a rough form and then turn it to the final shape. Through an additive process, I reinterpret the ancient and classical forms and couple these forms with 21st century surface treatments. These forms are made new again with vibrant colors not normally associated with wood. I love the solitude of my work; it is what often feeds my creativity,” he explained.

Hunnicutt is now a member and co-owner of Ariel Contemporary Craft Gallery in Asheville. His work is also shown in other galleries and is displayed in public and private collections throughout the United States, China, New Zealand, the Caribbean, Syria, Canada, Switzerland, Turkey and the Maldives.

Joel Hunnicutt portrait, working on wood vessel

Schedule of Events - Friday, October 4, 2019


Morning Workshop
10 to 11:30 a.m.
Joel Hunnicutt's Design Studio & Wood Shop
In the Thomas Auditorium Gallery at Blue Ridge Community College


Reception (an opportunity to meet Joel)
5:30 to 6:45 p.m.
Several of Joel's masterpieces will be on display.
Thomas Auditorium Gallery at Blue Ridge Community College


Evening Presentation
Color + Form: A Crafts Person's Perspective
7 to 8 p.m.
Thomas Auditorium at Blue Ridge Community College


For more information please call (828) 694-1779.


Reservations are encouraged online or by calling (828) 694-1779.

Arida Arts Symposium Event Registration


Free Admission
All events are funded by the Gamil T. Arida Endowment Fund through Blue Ridge Community College Educational Foundation and are free to the public.


About the Arida Arts Symposium

The Arida Arts Symposium was established in 1993 to honor North Carolina artists and their contributions to the arts. This annual event is funded by the Gamil T. Arida Endowment Fund in the BRCC Educational Foundation.


Arida Arts Symposium Featured Artists 

1993 Robert Morgan, writer
1994 Michael Sherrill, clay artist
1995 Sarah Johnson, violinist
1996 Jeremiah Miller, painter
1997 Georgia Bonesteel, quilter
1998 Stoney Lamar, wood turner
1999 Donald Davis, storyteller
2000 Scott Treadway, actor
2001 Daniel Miller, metalsmith
2002 Celebrating Ten Years
2003 Louise Bailey, local historian and writer
2004 Ann Dunn, choreographer and poet
2005 The Voorhees Family
2006 Paul Bonesteel, filmmaker
2007 Daniel Millspaugh, metal sculptor
2008 Steven Walter, guitar builder and performer
2009 Chaffe McIlhenny and Bonnie Hamilton, glass artists
2010 Glenis Redmond, performance poet
2011 Richard Bernabe, photographer
2012 Kevin Ayesh, pianist
2013 Marilyn Bailey, jewelry maker
2014 Bernie Rowell, fiber artist
2015 Lisa Bryant, actress and producer
2016 Pat Shepherd, dancer, choreographer, and teacher

Free Planet Radio, world music band

2018 Ann Vasilik, watercolor painter
2019 Joel Hunnicutt, unique vessel wood turner


Contact Us 

M.C. Gaylord
(828) 694-1779