U.S. Navy veteran showcases his lifelong woodworking talents

Clare Bates (Performer) – Battle Creek, Mich.

Michigan native and U.S. Navy veteran Clare Bates has exhibited creativity for most of his life.

“I think everybody has a beginning,” Bates said. “When I was very young, I was actually a model builder.”

Bates carried on that passion for working with his hands throughout high school; that’s when he was introduced to equipment that helped him take up a hobby of woodworking.

“It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you can start with something and end with some type of object that you’ve created,” Bates said.

During his time in the Navy, there was an auto shop, wood shop, and a ceramic shop on the base where Bates was able to hone his skills.

“I took advantage of the wood shop, and that’s really where I gained my skills in using power equipment and making furniture,” he said.

Clare Bates - Edited Photo

Bates was introduced to the Veterans Creative Arts Festival through his daughter, an employee at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center. After landing a first-place spot on the local level, Bates competed in his first National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Kalamazoo, Mich., last fall. His entry into the visual arts competition was a jewelry box he crafted.

“I think any time you receive recognition is gratifying,” he said.

Bates said he would be more than happy to participate in the national Festival again if he were invited back.

“Everyone has a lot to offer — whether it’s a woodworker, a painter, or whatever it is,” he said. “I think speaking with other people who have the same thoughts is very rewarding, and I enjoy that very much.”

You can help make a positive impact on the lives of veterans like Clare Bates by donating to the National/Local Veterans Creative Arts Festival(s).

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