Chirp. Chirp. These sounds came from the east end of my backyard in Kingston. My Dad asked his youngster what bird it was. I tentatively said: “A robin…?” “Yes!” he exclaimed. From then on, on day hikes and fishing trips, I learned to recognize field birds, shore birds, and water birds. I found an enjoyment and love that has stayed with me.
During the same period, I learned the joy of shaping and finishing wood to create household items and furniture.
In 2000, these came together when I participated in a carving course with Bob Lavender. The bird we carved and painted was a Barn Swallow. A surprise to me, my Barn Swallow actually looked like a Barn Swallow. I was hooked.
Bob Lavender and Wayne Simkin, both world class carvers, have provided me with a lot of mentorship, sharing their skills with generosity. They push me to improve, something that I truly appreciate.
Entering competitions is very satisfying, as I receive feedback and suggestions from both judges and competitors. In 2007, I had the best Intermediate level carving (a Northern Cardinal) at the Canadian National Wildfowl Carving Championship in Kitchener, ON and in 2009 the best Open level miniature carving (an in-flight Turkey Vulture) at the Canadian Woodcarving Championship in Hamilton, ON.
Today, I look back and thank my folks for giving me the great base on which to build my bird carving. Now, it’s exciting to try to capture the essence of each bird I carve.I hope you can share in my pleasure and enjoyment.