PLACIDA — At first, Bill Hobson thought of his wood-burned furniture as a hobby — a release from the stress of his jobs as a building superintendent and carpenter in New York.
It wasn’t until his wife of more than 30 years, Stacy, convinced him to take his work public that he realized the potential of his creativity.
“I picked wood-burning because when it snows, you can do it indoors,” Hobson said. “Some of my co-workers started buying my work as gifts.”
The Hobsons moved to Englewood to be closer to Stacy’s mother. Hobson has been woodburning and building furniture for 25 years.
The Vietnam veteran creates tables and chairs using driftwood from the beach. It takes him a few weeks to finish a table and up to a month for a chair. He also creates an assortment of birdhouses in various shapes and designs using patterns burned into the wood.
“My tables and chairs are more like artwork, and it’s popular for modern homes,” he said. “Chairs tend to be more complex. It’s not your average chair. The furniture is very sturdy.”
There’s a story with each piece of furniture, “but it’s not something I would tell (customers),” he said. “They usually come up with one on their own, especially the kids.”
Hobson shows his work at the Placida Market because of the frequency — it’s a biweekly market — and he says it’s a good opportunity to network with the 125-plus other local artists who frequent the Saturday market.
He said he doesn’t consider himself a “high-end” artist — his chairs start at $300 and his birdhouses sell for $38-$60 — but the community thinks highly of his work, he says. He won an art contest on Dearborn Street in 2012.
“I like to talk to people at the Placida Market,” he said. “Nobody else here does what I do. I come to the market as an outlet for those who admire my work, even if they can’t afford to buy. I appreciate there are those who will come out to my shows and to the market just to talk to me.”
Hobson sells under the label “Out on a Limb Nature’s Furniture.” For more information, call him at 941-662-6692.
The Placida Saturday Arts and Crafts Market will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 9, and most every other Saturday through April, on the grounds of the Fishery Restaurant, 13000 Fishery Road, Placida. Parking and admission are free, and artists can display their work there free. For market information, call 941-697-2451.