Jay Stratton Wood

I have always had a love for nature and landforms which may have been what led me to major in sculpture and minor in geology in college! Living along the “Mighty Mississip” has influenced my life; growing up playing in one of her tributaries, bicycling along her shoreline, and exploring the deep ravines carved out of the land as the water made its way to the river.

It is always intriguing to let the natural wood form guide the outcome of the piece.


I love working with figured woods, wood slabs with a natural edge, and burls. Some wood will give me a direction to follow, other times I have an idea of what I want to create then find the wood that suits. The thickness of a line, the feel of the edge, the smoothness of a curve all need to come together to complete a piece. Wood has a natural beauty that I strive to bring out in my designs. Wood moves and that always has to be considered in making a piece, so I learned the “rules” of the wood so I could break them. I manipulate and push the material to fit a design or idea I want to achieve. I enjoy making wood look as if it is a ribbon flowing in the wind, or sanding a burl or other highly figured table top to such a high shine it has a mirror finish looking more like polished stone than wood. It’s rewarding to bring the magic of a beautiful piece of wood out of a rough slab or burl that begins with rough gouges from the saw mill to a mirror polished shine that bears no resemblance to its former self. I finish my pieces by sanding the wood to a fine finish, whether a mat finish or highly polished, then seal the natural wood with an oil urethane mixture that protects and preserves the wood and its natural color. 

I have been working with wood for over 30 years. I was raised in Davenport Iowa then went to Drake University and double majored in sculpture and jewelry, with a double minor in geology and geography. Land forms and the things of the natural world have always influenced my work!

I have done, and still do, anything someone needs. From very simple cabinets with laminate tops, to duplicating and creating pieces matching 100+ year- old carvings for churches. Whether I’m following an architect’s drawings, or creating my own designs, it has all contributed to advancing my skills and ideas evolving to where I am today, and where I will go in the future.