The precise touch of an artist

Bill Althaus
The Examiner USA TODAY NETWORK

Jordan English has never touched a mallet, carving knife or palm-handled sweep gouge, but that hasn't kept the longtime Grain Valley resident from creating a world of intricate wood photos, albums, earrings and games through the magic of his computer. 

Grain Valley resident Jordan English can create a world of intricate wood treasures through his computer.

Don't be fooled. It takes time, practice, dedication and a touch of artistry to create items as varying as a 12" x 22" inch 3-D carving of the Lord's Supper – which takes 2 hours and 45 minutes from start to finish – to the hand-written recipe that was your grandmother's favorite, recreated on a cutting board. 

Then there are the games, the notebooks and one of the most popular items –- vinyl Kansas City Chiefs earrings cut with such precision the sun actually signs through the piece of jewelry showing the Chiefs KC logo. 

Willow Place, Custom Crafts and Woodwork (willowplacedesign@gmail.com) is a relatively new company that has taken over English’s basement. 

But his wife, Amy, doesn't mind, because she adopted the business from her sister, who happened to live on a street named Williow Place. 

"It seemed like the perfect name, and we're excited about the business," Amy said. "My sister was moving and was looking for someone to take over the business, so we looked it into it and liked what we saw." 

Now, one corner of the basement features a laptop, a large computer screen and an intricate 3D Glowforge laser printer. 

"I like to come up with some of the designs, but Jordan is the creative force behind all this, and I'm really proud of him," Amy said. "He's done a great job, and people are really starting to find out about our website." 

English is also a regular at the Blue Springs Farmer's Market, where he is able to show off his work, explain the process and take suggestions from future customers. 

Some of Jordan English's work has a touch of whimsy.

"On Mother's Day, a sister passed away, and Jordan was able to recreate her hand-written note to her family on a cutting board," Amy said, and her husband nodded in agreement. 

"She loved the idea of creating a family heirloom," English said, "and I was so honored and proud to be able to help her make that Mother's Day special. I only wish I could have been there where she received it. They thanked me and told me it was very special for everyone." 

When asked if he receives the same questions each Saturday morning at the market, he grins and says, "Yes – 'how did you make this?' And I love talking about the process and showing them all the different things I can create. It's really been great going to the market and meeting so many people." 

He and Amy will soon be traveling to fairs and community events. 

"We're going to as many as we can," he said. "It's really exciting to think about. I love this work, I love talking to people, and I hope it really takes off. So far, it's been great."