Piano soundboards become kitchen utensils as Winston-Salem woman blends her 2 passions

Roy's Folks

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Sheila Hunter says music is in her genes. 

“I was probably doing music before I was born,” Hunter said, laughing. “My whole family on both sides is very musical.”

For most of her life, she’s made a living with music, teaching lessons but mainly as a piano technician. It wasn’t until she had back surgery that she discovered something else she enjoyed. 

“I needed something to do, I like to be busy and someone gave me a whittling knife and I started whittling,” she said. 

She started making what she calls chip bag clips out of sticks found in her yard. Her carvings accentuated things she saw naturally in the wood.

“I was looking at [a stick] and I’d say that looks like a dog,” she said. “Some people, faces and birds.”

One day she thought of another source of wood to apply her creative talents. 

“I don’t know if this came to me in a dream or what, but I thought I’m going to make some tools,” she said. 

Specifically kitchen utensils — commonly known as spurtles — made from piano sound boards. 

Woodworking and music: for Hunter, they are both in-tune with who she is. 

Visit Sheila Hunter at HunterPiano.com

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