Local Wood Artist Takes a Turn at Apopka Art and Foliage Festival

Jeffrey Matter can turn many ideas into beautiful wood artwork.

The Orlando artist strives for more than traditional wood-turned creations likes bowls and vases. He wants a challenge – something to test his skill and stretch the imagination.

“I definitely like to think outside the bowl,” Matter said.

His complex wood turnings earned him spots in some of Central Florida’s biggest art festivals including Winter Park, Deland, Maitland and Disney. This weekend he will make his first visit to the Apopka Art and Foliage Festival April 25-26 at Kit Land Nelson Park.

Some of Matter’s newest creations are clocks with working gears. He also is exploring different types of jewelry.

Matter first jumped into wood turning as a hobby about nine years ago. He started presenting his work at art shows six years ago, and he became a full-time artist two years ago.

Matter is one of three local artists who are creating artwork from the charred remains of The Senator – a famed, 3,500-year-old baldcypress tree in Seminole County that caught fire and toppled in 2012. Matter’s items highlight textures of the cypress wood with the blackened areas where the tree burned.

A collection of the artists’ works from The Senator will be displayed in a special exhibit beginning June 5 at the Museum of Seminole County History in Sanford.

Until then, catch Matter and his artwork including some Senator pieces at the Apopka Art and Foliage Festival. The 54th annual event will feature more than a hundred booths of arts and crafts including paintings, pottery, jewelry and sculpture. Foliage from 22 local nurseries will be on display and sale.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 26. Admission is free but there is a $5 parking fee that goes to the local Boy Scouts.
Enjoy food from dozens of local vendors and music from local groups. Children’s activities include a butterfly netted tent, bird house crafts, face painting and sand art. Bus tours will visit several Apopka foliage nurseries. For more information, visit www.apopkaartandfoliagefestival.org.

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