John Weston the Legend: a Story of Woodworking Expertise (And So Much More)


John Weston:The Person

He is a teacher, a water polo player, UCSB and Humboldt graduate, a cook, an expert wood worker, and an Ashland High School legend. He is a man of many talents and many experiences with one overarching theme through it all: he is a ubiquitously personable man.

Initially after high school, he set off to go to school at the University of California: Santa Barbara. Here he earned his degrees in both teaching and social sciences.

Now, he was ready to become the eccentric social studies teacher that he is today, right? Wrong. After UCSB he was asked by friends to go help build a house in Australia, a fun trip that anyone would want to be a part of. Here he discovered a new passion, one which trumped his original aspirations with the social sciences. He knew, then, on his return from Australia, that wood working, a job with his hands, was the career he wanted to pursue; however, he was still sure he wanted to teach, and so he began his journey searching for a college to give him the wood working degree he was looking for. His journey arrived him at his next stop, one of the only universities that offered a degree in wood working in the Northwest: Humboldt University.

After Humboldt, he was ready to move forward, past training, and into application. His first semi-permanent teaching job was at Eagle Point Middle School. He taught the cooking and wood working classes for the eighth grade. Fortunately, he was able to iron out and perfect his teaching technique for the near-decade he worked there, so that when he joined us here at Ashland High School, he was adept in his occupation and produced some of the best wood workers in the state.

John Weston: The Artist

Recently, Weston has been working on nightlights for Christmas presents. He has been getting into stained glass quite extensively. He doesn’t consider himself an artist necessarily, yet he puts artistic significance into his work. Functional equipment with an artistic edge is his cup of tea. He wants there to be significance both in the wood he uses and buys and the history behind his creations.  He prefers imperfect wood: flaws give him a sort of anchor from which he can build his creations from.

Along with creating functional and beautiful pieces, it is important to note that his wood comes either from local sources or from selective cutting of exotic trees as to lower environmental impact.

Some of his favorite things to work on include turning wood bowls, benches, stools, and whatever anyone needs at the time. One of the things he loves about his craft is how he can contribute to other people and let them take something from the nature or Oregon home with them.

If one were to ask him what he sees when he looks at a chunk of wood, he would not say how he can already imagine the perfect cuts that turn it into art, but Weston said he “sees how it can be cut into planks.” Do not get the wrong idea though, once he has his hands on the planks, his craft has no boundaries.