The Point of Their Compass | Odyssey and Wesley Wofford
For Odyssey and Wesley Wofford, the gentle spirit of the land infuses every moment of their lives.
There were plenty of places on the planet Wesley and Odyssey Wofford could have called home, but their compass always pointed to Cashiers.
Wesley, Emmy- and Academy Award-winning sculptor and technical trend-setter, believes mountains and sculpture are ancient kindred.
Landmasses are just sculptures on a larger scale. It’s the height, that glorious elevated third dimension that is compelling, so much so that numerous historical and contemporary sculptors chose to build their studios on or near a peak. Perhaps subconsciously they feel at home when there are bumps on their horizons.
Shift the focus from horizon to Wesley’s studio where there are currently eight sculpture-bumps in various stages of completion, all of them female and five of them of color. Three are monuments. The first is Harriet Tubman, The Beacon of Hope (Wesley has another Tubman piece currently touring the country, look for it next month in Sylva) for Dorchester County, Maryland, where Tubman was born and enslaved.
The second, Sowing Seeds of the Future, is a metaphor for women’s historical contributions. It was inspired by three regional women: a Cherokee, a slave, and a pioneer, their lives dramatically intertwined. It will be installed next year in Franklin near Nikwasi, the site of a Cherokee town founded in the 1500s, now part of Macon County.
The third is the nation’s first sculpture of a female astronaut, Christina Koch, entitled Design Your Future, created for the North Carolina School of Science and Math.
Wesley’s studio resembles a barn. He had it built at various heights, the tallest, 24 feet, to house huge armatures, scaffolding, and large creations as well as small. High doors facilitate tricky exits.
The spaces and room shapes (emphasis on height and light) accommodate a library, a clean room with a mini gallery, a mold shop, a design room, and a sculpture room. Most cabinets and tools are on wheels, so the studio is in a constant state of flux due to weather conditions, need, accessibility, etc.
Wesley points out the water feature and says, “Odyssey and I channeled the water to complement the cut of the land and layout of the house entrance. The tranquility of trickling water is part of a special sound that is essential to our lifestyle. Our garden
Inside the Wofford home, step into a delightful open space, wood floors pieced together with wide and narrow, long and short, appealingly random boards, anchored by screws, flashing a mechanical contrast to the organic wood.
The linear planks pull you straight back to a windowed back wall with a breath-taking view of Terrapin Mountain. A double deck drops off quickly with a southern view. On first glance it’s the home’s pièce de résistance, and then we begin to take notice of all the other inviting spaces.
The Wofford home and studio serve Wesley’s art well. While the studio is the creative/production area, the home is the place to unwind after the day’s work, enjoy a meal together, review day’s events, then rest, and rewind for the following day. The warmth and comfort of their home sustains this process. Much of it is owed to the view, the comfortable reading nooks, artistic niches, and an outdoor kitchen.
Throughout the house and studio, wood stoves/fireplaces burn fragrant logs to warm toes. The smell itself is a primal calling. An ordinary furnace grate can’t even come close.
As the sun lowers, and that ethereal light radiates from without and within, Wesley and Odyssey offer thanks to the spirit of the land for the sacred spaces throughout their house, studio, gardens, and mountainside.
“Harmony is the key,” says Wesley. “Life is Art, and we reflect that in our living, our work, and our play spaces.”