In a garage in Medical Lake, machinery and tools have taken over. There is a planer – a woodworking machine for making boards of equal thickness – table and miter saws, a router table, a dust collector, various hand tools, and many types of wood.
This is where woodworker Jim Everman satisfies his need to make things. A fan of the Arts and Crafts movement, Everman builds clocks, furniture, mantles, and cigar box guitars.
It began when Everman was in the Air Force, stationed in South Dakota in 1972. His wife, Bev, wanted to frame some pictures so he made frames. “After that, I just started making things that we needed and wanted,” he said.
Walking around his home, he points to things he made – a grandfather-type clock that doubles as a display shelf, a room divider and a rack holding quilts made by Bev’s mother and grandmothers. His works are heirloom pieces, meant to be handed down the generations and, unlike factory-made items, they contain a piece of the heart of the artist himself. “What I really like is when I know that a piece I have made is appreciated and used in someone else’s house,” he said, “It makes me feel good to know that.”
What Everman does is simply make stuff. “I’ve made soap and candles. I’ve tanned hides,” he said. “I made a lamp out of an old teapot I found in the Black Hills and stretched a hide over a punch bowl to make a drum. Really, I just do stuff and make things.”
Recently, he found an old tin film container at an antique store that he will make into either a banjo or a dulcimer guitar. Though he doesn’t play any kind of stringed instrument, he enjoys listening to Piedmont and Delta blues. “I may take a guitar class in the near future,” he said.
While researching instruments online a couple of years ago, he found Cigar Box Nation and made his first cigar box guitar. Always, he is searching for that next project.
“I do keep an eye out for interesting wood,” Everman said, “I’ve got some curly birch and some mahogany-looking wood just waiting to be made into something.”
Though Everman, 64, has sold his work and participated in a few exhibitions, his motivation is not money but the simple joy of making beautiful and useful things with his hands. On Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Everman will be joining 19 other creative individuals during the Slightly West of Spokane Artists’ Studio Tour.
The self-guided tour includes 8 studios in the Cheney/Medical Lake area and will feature an array of media – pottery, jewelry and sculptural pieces along with light snacks, and, most likely, the sound of music from a cigar box guitar.