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I started carving as a teenager in Toronto using a 1954 book by John L. Lacey. It provided all the basics a young carver could want, including a wide range of templates of mammals, birds, fish and more. Many of these I carved with an X-acto knife and a variety of blades using chunks of pine from a local lumber yard bought for 25 cents. My father encouraged my hobby and kindly painted the carvings for me. After a career in Ottawa as a research botanist specializing in native Canadian plants at the Canadian Museum of Nature, I returned to my boyhood hobby as a new member of the OWC in October 2017. How rewarding this turned out to be. The old timers were very generous in providing hints on carving techniques, sharpening, sources of materials and tools. I was pleased to have developed enough skills after carving at the OWC club to win a few ribbons in 2019 in several categories as a novice carver.
As in my younger days, I’m interested in carving a variety of subjects to develop my skills and to maintain interest. I began initially with hiking staffs with various headers, including serpents and a mermaid. My interest expanded to in-the- round carvings of bears, gnomes, birds, and mythical beings. I have also completed relief carvings of botanical subjects, caricature carvings and made Christmas ornaments for family members. Larger sculptures were made using a chainsaw and refined with carving tools. Several bears in white pine grace my front porch and one sits on top of a hollow stump covering an exposed well pipe in Richmond, Ontario. My favorite larger sculpture is of my 110 cm (3.5 ft) Austrian hiking boy, in basswood, that now welcomes visitors inside my front door. His attire, however, still needs some finishing touches using pyrography (wood burning) techniques.