Charlie Shrum was born in Miami, Florida in 1947 and upon graduation from high school he enrolled in college and received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Memphis in 1971. He started teaching after graduation and he taught social studies for his first 9 years; in his 10th year he got a chance to teach a woodworking program. He realized this was a subject that he had a passion for and that the students looked forward to coming to class as well. He continued to teach woodworking for the next 26 years. Amongst all the other tools in the shop class were 8 wood lathes; he as well as many hundreds of students developed a great love for turning over the years.
Charlie’s dad had a woodworking shop in the back yard where Charlie grew up; his dad built all the fishing boats that they fished in and skied behind as the family grew up. Charlie use to do little things to help his dad and his father would also permit Charlie to use the scroll saw and other tools that he felt comfortable with him using. Charlie met his wife of 42 years now right out of college and they married in 1972. She could see his interest in woodworking and she encouraged him to buy some woodworking tools and one of the tools was a wood lathe. Charlie’s mother bought him a set of carving chisels one year for Christmas and his love for turning and carving were set in motion. Charlie challenged his students to do some real fine woodworking and carving during his 26 year period of woodworking classes and it helped him to stay motivated to increase his skills as time went by. Upon retirement from teaching, he became motivated to continue turning and once he felt his vessel forms and skills on the lathe were sufficient, he felt driven to embellish what he had turned. You can see Charlie Shrum’s art work at charlieshrum.com and it is a style of woodturning and then carving the vases.
Robert Hughes was able to secure a great amount of the Senator tree which was sadly destroyed after 3500 years. Robert was referred by someone he knows to contact Charlie because of Charlie’s woodworking skills. Robert asked Charlie if he would be interested in carving a piece of the tree to be donated back to Seminole County and Charlie was elated. He was given a beautiful section of the tree to do what his imagination led him to see; he honestly wanted to do a heron which is one of his favorites but could only see a bald eagle no matter how hard he looked. He spent much of his time on the head for detail and did a simple wing to preserve the true beauty of the grain in the wood. To his surprise the tail of the eagle was already shaped for him and he added a few simple feathers to finish off the shape.
Charlie sincerely appreciates Robert for all that he has done to preserve one of Florida’ s most treasured pieces of nature and for entrusting him with a large section of the tree to leave his artistic mark to the state of Florida. Barring another disaster, Charlie hopes his effort on the eagle and the simple beauty of the once magnificent and treasured tree will provide the visitors of his work with an appreciation for what he and many other artist as well as Robert did to preserve the remains of the once magnificent tree. Long live the Senator Tree through art.