Garden City man turns natural disaster into keepsakes

Turpin has been giving the branch pieces away for free.

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Western Kansas is still cleaning up tree branches after the snow storm late last month, but, one Garden City woodworker found a creative use for some of that wood.

Christopher Turpin teaches at Garden City Community College and has a wood lasering business on the side, mostly as a hobby.

Recently, he’s been working with branches that fell during the snow storm last month.

“It actually came straight from my father in law,” said Turpin about his inspiration. “All of the wood lying around, he said, you know, you really ought to do something with that. Slice it up and make something out of it.”

He took the remnants of a late April blizzard and made keepsakes.

On one side, the wood says it’s a relic from the snowstorm of April 30, 2017.

”On the back a little,” said Turpin, “just a very little bit of kind of what happened in the rain and the snow and the ice and the wind gusts and so forth.”

Even though he has an online shop for his creations, he’s been giving out these lasered branches for free.

“Friends, at work, I gave one to the staff down at Patrick Dugans, and then I ran out, so I’m in the process of making more right now.”

He thinks if nothing else, they’ll serve as a reminder of the oddly-timed blizzard.

“These will probably be around in 100 years,” he said. “Wood tends to last.”

Every piece is unique, depending on how the wood behaved.

“You can see there’s a little kind of divot there,” he said, pointing out an imperfection in the wood, “where the very core of that branch burned a little more than the rest. That’s just what you get.”

You can find more of his creations online at his Etsy store, Flint Hills Laser Studio.

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