W O O D C A R V I N G
Inspiration comes from the beauty of form like the fingers of a soaring vulture, or the upright tail of a ruddy duck; something catches my eye and I want to capture it. The form is almost always far more important to me than detail. Besides which, I hate detail whether in work, general living or carving; I admire those who can do it and their results.
K I T M E T L E N
How I got started
I started carving with pocket knives when I found one in a camp ground near Early Winters in the summer of 1959. I carved a bird and other things to earn my Boy Scout Woodcarving Merit Badge a few years later. I continued to carve whenever I had a piece of wood and nothing else to do; while logging, while in college classes, doing forestry work or while being Scout Master…
Along the way, I discovered chisels and mallets and then found powered carving tools after 2007; these have enabled me to move beyond small figurines and chains to bigger sculptures such as some 5' masks.
I like the outdoors and moderate risk; I'm a a ski patrolman, starting on my 47th season this year and love the speed and risk of failure of skiing while being able to help people. I was the White Pass Ski Patrol Director between 2010-12. I canoe and kayak. I am close to my family; like gardening, reading. I believe in public and civic service and was a forester and administrator for the people of Washington by working for the Department of Natural Resources for over 33 years. I was an assistant Cub Master and Scout Master; the sons, Ryan and Joel, are Eagle Scouts. I love my wife, Meryl.
What keeps me interested
What keeps me coming back
1) The grain and character of the wood, including knots and the feel of the blades as they cut into the actual wood; every wood feels and looks different; I like the buttery feel of birch for example while liking the color of cherry, yellow cedar and western red cedar; I can seldom resist an offered piece of wood that is different or has unique character; that is why the shop is surrounded by burls and different types of woods;
2) Bringing the image out of the wood; I often start with a broad image in my mind and the wood and carving reveal the nuances and character of the piece; a slight cocking of the head, a posture of wing… ; and
3) Adding emphasis by paint or application of shell; these add contrast and emphasis to light, movement and character.