The Kayaking Commissioner

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Project by Eric M. Saperstein posted 08-16-2009 08:44 AM 1571 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an extract article from our next newsletter – watch my blog entry for updates for when our 3rd Qtr 2009 Artisans Quarterly Review is released. Until then – here’s a preview below.

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Featured Carving by Master Craftsman Stanley D. Saperstein

The characters involved in the events of life each play a roll professionally, personally, and individually. Finding the right gift to invoke praise and pride in the achievements of someone in your life is often daunting; this doesn’t have to be the case. When you engage an artist to create a personalized piece for an individual, an act that often takes place as a clandestine operation to avoid spoiling the surprise, the artist has to gather details, facts, figures, and notations that allow him to generate an image of the person in his mind.

Artisans was recently commissioned to create a commemoration gift for Chris Clark, recently appointed Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), a man who is obviously an outdoorsman at heart, and an avid kayaker. The commission was to reflect his love for the outdoors, and portray a character obsessive about his devotion to our natural resources. The basswood & poplar hand carving, another custom Stanley original, features Commissioner Clark positioned securely in his yellow sea faring kayak; glancing down at the shark fin and gator eyes protruding from the water. We were informed this trio has had a few encounters … and that Commissioner Clark survived the day to tell the tales!

“Chris has demonstrated his talent and commitment to Georgia’s citizens during his tenure as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and as Executive Director of GEFA,” said Governor Perdue. “I appreciate Commissioner Holcomb’s long service to this state, and I am confident Chris will continue the Department’s legacy of being a champion of preserving our most precious resources.” – Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue

Eric & Teri have both enjoyed Georgia’s plentiful natural resources; you may remember their stop in Millwood for a boar and turkey hunt at The Gopher Plantation in April of 2008. No date has been set yet, but they plan to return for another crack at the turkeys, to take home another boar or two, and to partake of some home cooking brought to the table with southern hospitality.

The travels of Eric and Teri also brought them through Georgia Wine Country; concentrated in northern Georgia. They sampled a variety of wines, and brought home more cases than they should probably admit to consuming. Bounties also include an array of peach preserves, some cider, and a variety of fresh nuts. We should also note that Vidalia onions grow only in Vidalia County Georgia, chefs everywhere (including Eric) rely heavily on this specific Georgia natural resource.

What makes a simple kayak so important? Preservation of our natural resources, wildlife, plants, habitat, aquatic environments, minerals, air… Really everything that makes our planet hospitable to life is OUR responsibility. Yes, he is qualified, he has the education, clearly the experience, and the support of Governor Purdue. The thing is, we (hunters, fisherman, boaters, campers, everyone who’s lifestyle, even their living, don’t really base our confidence on a resume. We take our breath of assurance from the fact that the new Georgia DNR Commissioner has a passion for outdoor sports. The fact is nobody masters kayaking unless they are obsessive about an outdoor lifestyle; so from this we derive that we have an ally at the reins.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

6 comments so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3674 days

#1 posted 08-16-2009 10:08 AM

Great!! I like the shark fin the best ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Innovator's profile


3584 posts in 3412 days

#2 posted 08-16-2009 02:56 PM

Beautiful looking piece, and I agree with TopamaxSurvivor the shark fin is a great accent to the carving.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4245 days

#3 posted 08-16-2009 04:19 PM

Very funny indeed.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#4 posted 08-16-2009 04:47 PM


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3283 days

#5 posted 08-17-2009 02:05 AM

Great carving. Was it done from one piece of wood? I figure the paddle would be a separate piece, but was the rest carved from one piece?

-- John @

View Eric M. Saperstein's profile

Eric M. Saperstein

766 posts in 3246 days

#6 posted 08-17-2009 04:24 AM

These are generally done in several pieces then glued together. Head, body, arms, the paddle ends, paddle pole I guess not sure what those are called. The boat is a separate piece, as is the base and the shark fin and gator.

Generally we decide carvings and sculptures in a manner that makes creating them as quick as possible – given the fact most of these are commissions we have to move quick to make them viable. My father is retired, he just periodically does something like this to keep him busy so the time involved often takes far more than the return they can generate – but it keeps him creative and entertained.

-- Eric M. Saperstein, Master Craftsman

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