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Organized to further develop the warm fellowship, interests, and skills of woodcarvers and whittlers
When did you start carving and who or what inspired you?
I began carving around 1980, but began making things when I was a boy. I was inspired by my mother who was a long-time crafter. By the time I was 11, I had my own workshop and started making customized model cars. Eventually, I graduated to large wooden ships and some furniture. I am mostly self-taught wood carver and never attended a workshop until recently. Although I’ve carved everything from Santas to a six-foot totem pole, mostly I’ve done birds. I have always been fascinated by their beauty and early on began carving them in naturally finished hardwoods.
Can you share pictures of some of your carvings?
Have you had a mentor?
At the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition in 2014, I met interpretive carver Bill Casto, who invited me to a workshop entitled “Movement in Wood” by world champion carver J. Christopher White. Under the tutelage of Chris and Bill, my style has changed from carving birds sitting on a base to flowing, more abstract pieces. I try to merge my love of wood as a medium with my love of nature while, at the same time, instilling the illusion of motion.
Do you have a preferred technique?
Because of the hardwoods being used and the “flowing” nature of the carvings, I do mostly power carving. To emphasize the softness and warmth of the wood and the flow of the planes and gentle S-curved lines that I’ve carved, I rely on intensive hand rasping and sanding (up to 1500 grit) and polishing to a high gloss (up to five coats of Tung oil) to create an ultra-smooth, blemish-free finish.
What keeps you carving?
I’m hooked on the challenge of discovering the hidden beauty within a hunk of wood and of constantly improving my technique. Over the past few years, I’ve also enjoyed competing in two carving shows, the Delaware Valley Wood Carvers Artistry in Wood Show and the Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition. I’ve been gratified to win many awards in each, including the 2018 DVWC best of show for my Swift in West Texas Juniper shown below. Sharing my work with others is the ultimate reward for me.