ST. GEORGE —As the door to the shop opens, you step inside. The smell of wood fills the air as the fireplace roars, creating a cozy escape from the winter cold. This is where the handcrafted magic is created.

Ianthus Barlow’s dog Scooby Doo watches as epoxy is poured over wood at their home woodshop in Colorado City, Arizona, Jan. 15, 2024 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

“I like to build what I think the piece of wood wants to be,” IB Woodworks owner Ianthus Barlow said, standing inside his backyard woodshop. “Every piece of lumber, every slab is different.”

Barlow is a woodworker who specializes in high-end, handcrafted furniture. From a 12-foot-long conference room table to a man-cave bar with liquor and gun storage, he’s creating it all. If you can dream it, he can create it.

Utilizing all parts of the wood he obtains, wood scraps are used to create cutting and charcuterie boards, coasters, beer openers and more. Some of his most unique items? Clocks, chess boards with wood and epoxy squares that include 3D printed chess pieces and wood and epoxy guitars with brass hardware.

He also uses stones from a local creek bed and includes them in river-like designs made with epoxy.

A custom chess set made by Ianthus Barlow features wood, epoxy and 3D printed chess pieces, Colorado City, Arizona, Jan. 15, 2024 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

“Everything I build is solid wood,” Barlow said, holding one of his white and black walnut chess boards. “Trying to bring back old-fashioned woodworking. It’s quite the process to make these, but they look amazing. Everybody loves these boards.”

As far as wood sourcing, Barlow said he has 15 different wood suppliers around the United States. While these suppliers are readily available, he prefers to sell his own wood, which he acquires locally when trees are cut down due to development. When local trees are trimmed, he collects the burrows and repurposes them into art.

How it all started

In the 10th grade, Barlow was a rebellious teenager who was often kicked out of school, which led to days working side-by-side at a cabinet shop with his dad. After hours, they built intricate wood designs such as full bedroom sets, and his dad taught him everything he knew.

From the age of 14 to 23, he worked in home construction which led to carpentry work. At 23, he started a remodeling business in Salt Lake, then moved to Park City to install windows. But he always continued his hobby of building furniture in his home garage.

A custom 12-foot conference table by Ianthus Barlow is made from a local tree that was cut down, Colorado City, Arizona, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Ianthus Barlow, St. George News

When the cold of Park City became too much, he moved back to Hildale and started IB Woodworks in 2017.

“I built it all from dreams,” he said about his business. “No financing or anything, I just started out with the basics and built it up.”

But that isn’t the only business he has. A year and a half ago, he and his girlfriend started a new shop to help other local artisans and makers. Uzona Souvenir & Gift is an artisan co-op — much like MoFACo before its closure — that features work from locals in the community.

The shop includes everything from homemade jam to landscape photography and handmade earrings. Currently, the store houses over 60 different vendors from Colorado City, Hildale, St. George, Kanab and Salt Lake.

As far as future goals, Barlow hopes to sync up with a furniture company that would allow him to offer wholesale prices. 

Shop IB Woodworks and Uzona Souvenir & Gift at 15 Central Street, Suite C1 in Colorado City or online here. For more information on IB Woodworks Furniture Design, visit their website. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube to stay up-to-date.

Photo Gallery

Custom cutting boards by IB woodworks are prepared for their food-grade finish, Colorado City, Arizona, Jan. 15, 2024 | Photo by Jessi Bang, St. George News

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