A Dying Art

In the past several years, my life has become a complication of computers, design, children, food shopping, meal preparation, attending college, and just life in general.

I love my boys more than life itself, and part of me wishes I could keep them small forever…

But, at the same time, I look forward to a time when I don’t need to worry about them around sharp objects. I am, by trade and by nature, a woodcarver.

I miss the smell of freshly cut wood and sawdust…the feel of a blade smoothly shaping wood into the image I see in my head.

There are few things on this earth that can make me feel as grounded as creating something from a chunk of wood. It brings to mind days of old…when life was simpler and we were more at peace with nature. It gives a sense of power – taking something as steadfast and strong as a tree and creating something completely different from it. Yet, it humbles me as well, knowing what a gift this ability is. A common misconception is that Jesus was merely a carpenter…He was, in fact, also a woodcarver.

I began woodcarving at the tender age of 13 (I will be 40 in the spring) in a class my mother had enrolled me in. I was nervous – these tools are as sharp as razor blades – but I was also fascinated. After a few weeks of classes, I was offered a job…and I’ve been hooked ever since.

I’ve created countless hand-carved signs, sculptures, gifts, and tools – yes, I even learned how to forge my own tools from the steel of old butter knives, screwdrivers, and drill bits. Do I have any pictures? Some…the projects came and went so quickly sometimes that often a camera was the last thing on my mind. However, here are a few shots of some of my favorite projects.

This was the top of a standing sign for a jewelry store – it’s 3-dimensional, and made of 2 pieces of wood.

This was a plaque the Massachusetts State Police had us make in memorial of a Trooper who died while on duty. (I know the picture is horrible – the sign was in a crate, and the Trooper who commissioned us was in a hurry to get the K-9 dog home.)

This is a detail shot of a tavern sign with a relief carving in the center.

This eagle is 6 feet long, hanging on a garage. The wood it was carved from was nearly 6 inches thick.

This sign is my pride and joy. It’s 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide, and was carved out of 6 inch thick wood. This was the first project I ever used an airbrush to paint.

There isn’t much to this carved license plate holder, but it really was for Reba McEntire.

A woodcarver can create virtually anything you can imagine. I’ve had the honor of working on an 8 foot tall, free-standing eagle with a 12 foot wide wingspan, Christmas gifts that were purchased by Rosemary Clooney and Stephen Tyler, and countless other projects.

If you’d like to see more of this dying art – including some pieces that are in progress, head on over to Lyn’s Loft – my mother is still actively carving, and I am insanely jealous. 😉

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