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Spotlight on David Gonyon

By Elsie Lynn
The Essex Reporter

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David Gonyon stands with his grandson Azekyal Gonyon, 10, of Swanton, at the Colchester Farmers’ Market on July 9. | ELSIE LYNN

David Gonyon stands with his grandson Azekyal Gonyon, 10, of Swanton, at the Colchester Farmers’ Market on July 9. | ELSIE LYNN

“You’re only a real Vermonter after three generations,” said David Gonyon, a Winooski-born third-gen Vermonter who has recently retired to Swanton and taken up a new hobby — woodworking.

After 25 years of owning and running his own auto body shop in Burlington and Duxbury, Gonyon was ready for a change.

Gonyon grew up helping his father who was a carpenter, and has always known his way around wood construction. But it wasn’t until the past 10 years that his woodworking has become what he calls an “obsession”.

“What I love about it is that it is something totally different from what I did at the auto body shop… that’s the draw,” Gonyon explained as he set up his booth at the July 9 Colchester Farmers’ Market.

At the market, Gonyon sells handmade cutting boards made of wood, boxes that hold aluminum foil rolls and breadknives. Each piece uses several kinds of wood that are glued together in unique geometric patterns. The wood comes from several sources around the state, as well as from good friends in the business.  Gonyon typically uses cherry, walnut, butch, maple and tiger maple.

Box with foil WEB“I tell all my kids to work with your hands,” said Gonyon – a great-grandfather to three, grandfather to 13 and father to six. “So few people are working with their hands these days; there will be guaranteed work for folks who can make things.”

So far this year, Gonyon has made 50 cutting boards. “I try to keep it from becoming a job, but it’s real close and it bothers me,” he said. “My wife [Joyce] gives them away all the time.” Joyce is part of a club called Pay It Forward, Gonyon explained, where she does nice things — like give someone a cutting board — just because.

In addition to his woodworking, Gonyon works part-time restoring damaged clothing for Gadues Dry Cleaning. The Winooski High School graduate also builds furniture … Is there anything he can’t do?

By judging the grey in his long beard, the answer is no. Real Vermonters can do anything. cutting boards 5-WEB

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CIAO Vermont

The 9th Annual Art Show and Sale produced by the Champlain Islands Artists’ Organization (CIAO) showcases 50 artists from the Champlain Islands. This year the show takes place July 25 through July 27 at the North Hero Community Hall on Route 2 in North Hero. There will be many mediums represented including painting, photography, clay, glass, fiber, jewelry, mixed media and others.

Show hours: Friday, July 25 from 1-7 p.m., with a reception from 4-7 p.m.; Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Admission is free.

For more information call 343-7118 or visit www.ciaovt.org.