At the time it seemed a bit of lunacy to go from a long career in education and mental health to full time woodworking school at 52. “Bisect this pencil line with the band saw.” “Measure this board to 1/32 of an inch.” With very little background in the use of tools or machines, and surrounded by nineteen year old young men with experience in both, it was a challenge indeed. Parallel lines and tiny measurements were not my strength. But soon I discovered the joy in creating five foot tall asparagus spears to be joined together into a coat rack and in designing a chair in the image of a Luna Moth (the Lunaseat).
My first studio, in the chicken coop of an old barn, infected me with essence of chicken. I carved large portraits of exotic chickens and fashioned Chickendale Furniture from saplings, boards and chicken carvings. A firm and feathery bunch of fennel at the local produce market inspired the next phase of carved portraits. I’d roam the vegetable aisles looking for brilliant colors and unusual shapes. At my work bench I’d cut leeks or artichokes in half and gasp at the electric yellow or Concord grape purple inside. “Does anyone else know about this?” I’d wonder out loud to myself. I discovered I could carve likenesses of dogs and even people from a flat piece of wood.
Since moving to a coastal community my interests have grown to include swan families, seaside buildings and migrating fish. Carving tools, giant slabs of wood, brushes and paint…the ideal ingredients for this artist’s life.