They say every cloud has a silver lining. In this case, even the darkest of billows have one.
No one embodies this philosophy more than Laura Baker, who has used the devastation of Hurricane Irma as inspiration for her art. Baker, who is a woodturner, crafts vases, bowls, and other decorative pieces out of the debris left behind by the category 5 storm.
“It’s definitely therapeutic,” Baker told NBC Miami. “I think people come out here and work and look at it as a way to kind of get away from everyday life. For me, it’s the creativity. I just love to come in with something that’s so raw, and come out with something that’s really amazing.”
Baker considers woodturning a hobby. She developed the skill through her involvement with Gold Coast Woodturners. On an average day, she and her colleagues will sift through dozens of fallen trees, salvaging what they can and turning it into art.
“On a Saturday, we went out to some of the local properties here and we picked up big chunks of wood and brought them in. So everybody’s been using that,” said Baker.
As for local community members, they couldn’t be happier. Fallen trees are often seen as a nuisance, so to have someone offer to take it off their property for free is a huge boon.
Better yet, Baker and her fellow woodturners will sometimes give the finished pieces to the property owner as a special gift. It’s a metaphor to look for the beauty in every situation.
And although it takes quite a bit of time to create a finished piece, Baker and her friends say it’s worth it in the end.
“It’s not hard,” said Ron Purnell, a teacher at Gold Coast Woodturners. “It’s like everything else in life; it’s hard until you learn how to do it.”