Man handcrafting furniture out of Wimberley Cypress trees for flood victims

In Seguin there lives an artist with tough hands, a big heart and a love for all things wood.

"The wood and I get along just fine," said John Hollaway who has always loved working with tools.

John's sister and many of his friends had homes in Wimberley during the Memorial Day weekend flood.

"It was about two weeks after the flood that I actually went to Wimberley. And when I got to the Ranch Road 12 bridge going into Wimberley, that's when it hit me," said Hollaway.

"It's so unfortunate and it breaks my heart  to see these big beautiful trees, some of them hundreds of years old, some of them as old as like 500 years old that were sprouting up when Christopher Columbus discovered the New World, they're up by the roots. They're dead," Hollaway added. 

 
Then, he had an idea. 
 
"Something beautiful can come out of something that was so ugly," he said. 
 
He took an uprooted Cypress tree and created a mantelpiece and a table for his sister. 
 
"I'm giving this old tree life after death," John said. 
 
John's sister kept the mantelpiece, but posted the table for sale on Facebook. In just minutes there was a list of people who wanted furniture created out of the trees broken in the flood. 
 
John, a former oil and gas Landman had recently lost his job.
 
"Just hang in there until God decided what he wanted to do with me- well, he decided," said Hollaway. 
 
It didn't take long for him to make a smooth transition into full-time woodwork. 
 
"I got wood in my blood," said John. 
 
Hollaway is currently only making treasures for the people who lived in Wimberley. 
 
"Trying to make the best thing out of a bad situation," he said. 
 
He turns every little piece of Cypress into something memorable. 
 
 "I just don't want to see any of it go to waste," said John. 
 
Then he hand delivers each piece. 
 
"I like to see the expressions on people's faces.  I mean that's worth a lot," said Hollaway. 
 
For John the moment one of his customers sees their new furniture pays for every splinter. 
 
Janis Payne lived in Wimberley for more than 20 years. That's why she couldn't resist buying one of John's handcrafted coffee tables. 
 
"I wanted a piece of Wimberley back and so that's when I had to have a table. So that I could have a piece of one of the trees that I grew up swimming under," said Payne.
 
Now, every morning Janis can look at a piece of her past and remember how a handyman from Seguin brought her a one-of-a-kind present. 
 
To learn more about John's story or creations visit Fig Tree Cottage Creations
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