At the end of Sept/beginning of Oct 2013 I will be teaching a one-week class at the John C. Campbell Folk School on the subject of Hewing and carving bowls and spoons! If you haven’t yet heard of the Folk School, it is the oldest school of ...
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56 posts in 1116 days
Location: Currently - Bakersville, NC
Old farmers never gossip.
...So, when I was a young boy, my Grandfather's friends would stop by regularly to instead spread local news of the day. When they did so, they would each assume positions on stumps and the flat-bed, home-made tractor, take out pocket knives and go to whittling and spreading the news, with commentary. As a young boy, of course, I was fascinated by such news, information and whittling. At around the age of six or seven, my grandfather gave me my first knife, showed me a bit about how to use it, and told me to holler for Granny if I cut myself.
Thirty-odd years later I have still not carved all I want to. I reckon now it is either a true calling or an obsession!
In my work I mostly try to convey the beauty of the pieces of wood I use, much of which I sustainably harvest myself or collect as scrap. Specific sculptural pieces, though, are also intended to convey more.
I have always been fascinated by the work of self-taught woodcarvers, and have learned from and been inspired by countless "Old Timers", (a club that I reckon I'll soon owe dues to!) Among these folks are Hope Brown, Wade Martin, Helen Gibson, John Hillier, Jim McGie, Billy Henry, Lyle Wheeler, George SerVance Jr., Will Hines and sons, Rick Allison and many others, whose names regrettably slip my mind at this time, just as inspiring. Many of these folks are NOT "Old Timers" based on age, but experience and wisdom. (Whew, pulled myself out of the fire there!)
As I have never found the same piece of wood more than once, almost all of my work is one of a kind and inspired by the uniqueness of the wood I find.
In recent years I have been using a chainsaw for more than just bucking and limbing logs, and have been applying chainsaws in roughing out larger pieces (to limit wear and tear on a back, neck and shoulder that have been abused by years of improper posture and use of my upper-body when carving) and have recently been really enjoying making furniture and sculpture using just a chainsaw. I like using a tool generally associated with destruction to create what are hopefully beautiful and/or functional pieces.
I am a member of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, and have demonstrated for them, for the Toe River Arts Council (in rural public elementary and secondary schools), for Mayland Community College in NC, The North Carolina Museum of History, and for a few classes at the Penland School of Craft. I teach carving at the John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, the oldest craft school in the country, which has always had woodcarving as a central focus. (Check out the Brasstown Carvers if you can!) I have taught all ages, from elementary school students, to adult classes and teacher workshops.
I have never made my work as my full-time occupation, and have thus been more free than if i had to make simply what I thought would sell rather than what I am moved to make, though I gladly take on commissions, too.
I look to find ways in which traditional crafts have been and can be used in the teaching of curricular primary and secondary school subjects. Soon I hope to be sending out a survey to craftspeople to find out what Math and Science lessons they have encountered in their work. My goal in this is to find ways of not only teaching these subjects through craft, but to also facilitate the learning of citizenship, acceptance of differences, communications, ingenuity and problem solving, and other vital skills.
(My icon photo is Oscar, my boss and live-in critic. He has destroyed many pieces of mine, and many items I'd traded for or purchased from other craftspeople. The dog has never even chewed on a stick that I thought I might carve!)
-- You say Luddite like it's a bad thing ...
Latest Activity | view all »
|replied on||Holidays||347 days ago|
|commented on||DIY Woodsculpting show...looking for info||347 days ago|
|added blog entry||Hewing and carving bowls and spoons class!||381 days ago|
|commented on||My small, tight and messy shop in Az, and some of the tools i use||753 days ago|
|commented on||Backpacker's Banjo (or Panjo)||757 days ago|
|added project||Backpacker's Banjo (or Panjo)||758 days ago|
|added project||Three vases, Two thrones, and a hooded table top||760 days ago|
|commented on||Jesus Christ||770 days ago|
|replied on||Manufacturers struggle to preserve 'shop math' skills||805 days ago|
|commented on||Jesus Christ||806 days ago|
|commented on||Third poject - Carving tools box||806 days ago|
|commented on||Not quite spoons||809 days ago|
|added project||Assorted bowls and a platter||809 days ago|
|added project||Not quite spoons||809 days ago|
|added project||More older spoons||809 days ago|
Latest Projects | view all 17 »
Latest Blog Entries | view all 6 »
If anyone tried to take the survey that I posted the link for the yesterday, my appologies. I wasn’t aware of a problem with the link. It has now been fixed and should work for you now. I am very much looking forward to your responses. t...
Craftspeople, Artists, Artisans! Are you concerned about the state of arts education in our schools? Does your craft have an application to primary or secondary schools subjects? My name is Rodney Hopkins; currently I am working towar...
I discovered Land Ark a few years back and have used their finishes almost exclusively ever since. They make a growing variety of products, from end sealant, to indoor and outdoor finishes, to food safe finish, in paste and liquid forms. They ar...
the best thing I have found for storing small knives, gouges and chisels in is synthetic wine corks. They do not wear out nearly as fast as regular corks, are non-corosive and not very absorbent, and hold tightly any tool stabbed into them, prote...