During quarantine, Severna Park High School rising senior Sydney Mudd put her unique woodworking skills to use while honoring the Severn River, the waterway that has been home to her family for years.
Mudd started woodworking two years ago when her father taught her how to use the family’s household power tools. Her first project was an outline of Lake George in New York state, where her family spends their summers. After giving one piece as a gift, Mudd was encouraged by friends and family to sell the projects, and they sold out in one day.
This summer, Mudd was not able to take her projects to Lake George, so she switched her focus to the Severn River.
“I think it's really pretty the way the designs work out,” said Mudd. “Lakes and rivers always have their unique shapes. The Severn River just fits perfectly on the piece of wood and I can map out all of the pathways.”
Mudd started with a large map of the Chesapeake Bay and a cutout of the Severn River. She then traced the outline of the river on a 24-by-20-inch piece of wood and used a router to cut out the river. She used a low-grain palm sander to sand the wood and a coarse piece of sandpaper to tidy up the smaller details from the cut.
“I do it step by step,” explained Mudd. “So, I’ll trace all eight, route all eight, and then I'll sand and paint all eight. It's kind of hard to tell how long it takes to make them over time. If I were to estimate, I would probably say about eight hours.”
Mudd said that a lot of detail work goes into the art and she even provides each buyer with command strips and bumpers to keep the art parallel to the wall after mounting.
“I know that buying something from a 17-year-old is a little risky and I’ve only been doing this for three years, but I try to make it look professional,” said Mudd.
Mudd began to sell her projects on Facebook in July and sold six out of eight in the first week. She will continue to sell her projects this year to save money for college.
“I don't know if I’ll make a career out of this professionally, but I’d like to continue doing it to make money for college,” said Mudd. “It's also difficult to find jobs this summer because of the coronavirus, so this is just a way for me to have my own small business.”
Mudd said her father is excited to see her using the skills that he taught her.
“He's really proud,” said Mudd. “I think it's really great for him to see his art skills passed on to me so that I can honor Lake George, that means so much to us, and the Severn River, which is important to our family and the community.”
Though she has no definitive plans, Mudd would eventually like to start making custom designs and customs stains. She is also hoping to create Magothy River projects.