Cutting through to your passion
Standing in his basement workshop, furniture maker Roy DuVerger looks around the cluttered, dusty space. It may look like chaos to some, but to him, it’s the sign of a busy man doing what he loves.
“If I need to blow off some stream, I just come down, and I’ll be making things for hours,” he smiled. “I work all the time.”
At his home in rural Haywood County, DuVerger has been handcrafting furniture since he was a teenager in Auburn, Mass. He took an interest in the craft during high school while helping his father build a home.
“I’ve always liked the idea of creating something — something different,” the 87-year-old said.
Relocating to Western North Carolina 21 years ago, DuVerger and his wife love living in the mountains of Southern Appalachia. It’s a landscape reminiscent of New England to them, one that stops the couple in their tracks daily.
“We came for the views, the mountains, rivers and beautiful nature,” Roy said. “You get so much inspiration from looking at the mountains. The two of us sit down and look out our back window at four ranges of mountains crisscrossing.”
That crisscrossing view fuels the intricate designs DuVerger pursues. He likes to create works of natural beauty, where the essence of the wood remains. To him, the imperfections, or knots in the wood, are what truly make a project unique.
“Trees have knots and limbs, so I go with nature,” he said. “If I get a 12-foot board and the ‘beauty’ of it ends at five feet, I’ll cut it at five feet.”
DuVerger attends arts and crafts show around the region, selling his work to curious and appreciative customers. He enjoys talking “shop” with anyone wanting to know more about wood and furniture making. For the last 18 years, he’s participated in the Church Street Art & Craft Show in downtown Waynesville, which takes place Oct. 12.
“I spend all my time at the shows talking to people,” he laughed. “I just love when people call me up wanting to know more about the piece they bought. It makes me feel good that they like my work.”
Although he’s approaching 90, DuVerger has no intention of slowing down. If anything, his passion for his work keeps him 87 years young, rather than old.
“I was a building contractor all of my working years. I’m supposedly retired, but it didn’t happen that way,” he said. “I’ll lay awake at night thinking about what I’m going to do with ‘that table’ tomorrow — I love what I do.”