Wayne Estes was born in Winchester, KY and his family for many generations hails from Eastern Kentucky. As an avid outdoorsman, Wayne has always enjoyed hunting, fishing and working with his hands. Most recently he has begun creating bent willow furniture.
As an arborist with Kentucky Utilities, Wayne has become familiar with all types of trees. He works with local Black Willow and Sandbar Willow which he finds along streams, ponds, and right-of-ways. Wayne harvests most of the wood that he uses from sucker growth caused by mowing along highway right-of-ways. When he harvests Willow, he cuts it ‘green.’ This means that his finished furniture needs to season and dry thoroughly for about 6 to 8 weeks. When kept out of the elements, indoors or under the cover of a porch, willow furniture lasts.
Wayne looks at historical willow furniture and the work of other contemporary craftsmen to come up with a personal style that retains a traditional look. He often harvests the raw material with a particular piece in mind, creating chairs, tables, and two-seater sofas from bent willow. The main structure of his willow furniture is cut to length and secured with nails. He then weaves the branches in and out of the underlying structural pieces to give an ornate but organic look to his furniture.
Wayne’ work can be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.