Wellston Artist Carves Memories Into Ordinary Objects

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A drill, time and a pair of hands that care are all it takes to turn plain objects into detailed works of art. 

It's the act of engraving, and Chris Conley has given up everything to focus on his passion for it.

"Just the smell of the wood and the look of it. I'm big on fine craftsmanship. That's one thing that really attracts me," said Conley.

Ten years ago, Conley left his life as a marine and security officer to turn his love of carving into a career.

He's engraved everything from coffee mugs to antlers to bullets and eggshells. Recently, he's been working on a special project for a band called Rock Sugar.

"The drummer immediately contacted me and said, 'Do you think you can customize a drum for me?' I said, 'Sure. No problem.' He told me, 'I'm going to send you our logo. What else can you put on it? I said, 'How about a signature? I can do that,'" said Conley. 

The drum was previously owned by Buddy Rich, and every detail is personalized for the LA band's drummer.

Conley said that personalizing meaningful items like Rock Sugar’s drum and experiencing his clients’ emotional responses are what drives his passion for carving.

"It's not just art that I'm doing. I'm creating memories and setting them in something that will never go away," he said.

Conley said he plans to expand his business online to reach a larger audience, which means he will be leaving his mark on many more items and hearts for years to come.