Helping communities across the state connect their heritage arts and traditions to local development, education, and active citizenship
Littleton, Warren County, NC
Although he grew up in Northern Virginia, Wayne Hermann has a lifelong connection to Warren County. Throughout his childhood and adult life, he and his family returned again and again to Lake Gaston for vacations, and in time he made it his permanent home.
Hermann’s family also has a long tradition of woodworking. His father was a skilled woodworker, and his grandfather was a master barn-builder in Maryland and is remembered as a great craftsman. Hermann still uses some of his grandfather’s tools. The family garage was given over to this pursuit; Wayne remembers that, “Hen never parked any cars in the garage, he just made it a woodworking workshop.”
It was in his father’s workshop as a small boy that Hermann developed his own fascination with woodworking. “I can still recall the smell of the sawdust,” he says, “and how that was always kind of exciting to me.” His father introduced him to wood by giving him small boards and a handful of nails with which to hammer them together. When Wayne inevitably bent the nails, his father straightened them out in a vise so that he could try again. Though Hermann didn’t receive formal instruction in woodworking, he learned by asking his father questions and observing him work. Craftsmanship in wood became a lifelong passion.
Years later, while living in Virginia, a friend who knew of Hermann’s craft brought him a handmade spoon that she had purchased. He was fascinated, and that day set out to learn how to make them himself. As he found out, “There’s not a lot of research you can do on carving spoons, because there’s not a lot of people out there that do it.”
During his many years of carving spoons, Hermann has mastered the techniques that make his work so distinctive. From his father he learned about the importance of how wood is finished, and his spoons are sanded to a silky smoothness. He also employs a laminating technique to make individual spoons from different kinds of wood, pegging them together sometimes with yet another variety. This allows for beautiful color combinations and striking individuality of pieces.
Wayne Hermann’s work is sold at the River Mill in Weldon, at arts festivals, and other area venues.