I picked up my first chisel and mallet in 2001 and carved a Polynesian Tiki statue from a discarded pine tree log. I was instantly hooked. Over the years, I have developed a passion for carving realistic flora and fauna from North American Basswood, and in 2018, I entered my first fine art fair.
I draw inspiration from the discovery of wildlife, flowers and landscapes found in our country’s state and national parks. My wife and I are avid park enthusiasts and have hiked over 50 parks from Volcano’s National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii to Baxter State Park in northern Maine and many in-between. I am also in the midst of hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in 100 mile increments, and have completed all of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and part of Virginia to date. During these travels, we have collected naturally sculpted driftwood from the coast of Washington, manzanita branches from the California Sierras, and cedar roots from the lakes of upper New York. All of these pieces will be re-purposed as natural bases for my wood carvings. This process of collection, exploration, and discovery is the inspiration for my art, and one of the major joys of my life.
All items seen in my booth are original pieces hand carved from North American Basswood, better known as the Linden tree (a sacred tree that symbolizes love, friendship and peace). My process relies on patience, technique, and an understanding of my tools. Each piece on display has dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of individually carved components. Many of the flower petals, stems, leaves and flower stamen are separately shaped with hand tools and then detailed with high speed rotary burs (similar to what a dentist uses on teeth). I then custom-make petite wooden pins and glue/pin all parts together. One of the most challenging and enjoyable aspects of my process is the fact that I am not always in control of the overall direction. Often times, the natural driftwood or burl slab will dictate how a floral arrangement or fauna scene is formed and carved.